The Art Of The Map

America the Beautiful.

Map and Sign on Wall Signed

Sorry that I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with maps recently, but I am sharing my latest DIY project with you anyway because I especially LOVE IT.

Map Tacked Corners

I recently spotted a gorgeous, artistically designed wooden US map in a shop window and was hoping to purchase it for the final piece of our bathroom remodel. Alas, with a price tag of $650 (which was more than we spent for the new slate tile floor!) that just wasn’t happening. Then I remembered a framed, wooden something-or-other Coach had stored in the barn awhile back.

Map Old FrameNot sure what it used to be, but there seemed to be some torn felt and patches of black backing still affixed to it. But I loved the colors and the shape was perfect for the bathroom wall. So here is the How-I-Made-An-Artistic-Map:
1. Find a map outline online. Save it to your computer. Go to and download the pic.

Map Blockposters ScreenNow create the proper size pattern for your project. Blockposters automatically cuts the pieces up in proper proportion to fit! Print it out, then tape back together to create the pattern.

Blockposter Enlargement

2. I outlined the edge of the pattern with a black marker to create a smooth line (do you know how many little inlets the great lakes have?!) and to mark the reverse side.

Map Tracing Outline with Sharpie3. Back from when scrapbooking was a hobby obsession, I have a trunk filled with decorative papers to choose from, so I went with ones that had some sort of meaning, like baseball in Boston and redwoods in California, friendship and love and in the heartlands and football in Texas.  But you can use anything you want, even an old map!

Map Craft Paper PileI cut all the papers into 1″ strips lengthwise.

Map One Inch StripsThen I taped them onto the map pattern, making sure they were tight to one another.

Map Taping Pattern4. Glued the strips to the map pattern on the front side, one strip at a time, smoothing out wrinkles and creases as I went. Don’t worry about following the shape of the pattern, you will be cutting all the excess away once everything is glued into place.

Map Glueing Strips to Backing5. Once dried, I flipped the map over to the reverse side, and cut around the marker outline I had created earlier. I cut through all of the glued on paper strips as well.

Map ReverseHere is the finished map cutout. Cute!

Map Cutout6. The patchwork map is quite colorful, but was a little lost in the rough background of the frame. So I decided to mount it onto a piece of black foam core board.  Elmers Craft Bond works great for that!

Map Mounting with Elmers Craft Bond7. Since there won’t be any glass on this picture, it needed a smooth finish for protection, so I painted it with Martha Stewart Decoupage Matte.

Map MS Matte DecoupageI really like this stuff. It is very smooth and leaves a nice finish on any piece. Initially when you paint it on, the paper sometimes bubbles up, but once it dries, it is perfect.

Map MS Matte Finish8. Mounted the map to the black background, and allowed it to dry. Now it really pops off the page!

Map Mounted on Black Board

While that was happening, I cleaned the frame and added a little picture hanging thingy on the back. It is very light, so didn’t require any special screws.

Map Hanging9. I used small old-fashioned black iron tacks for the corners just to dress it up a bit and give it an aged appearance.

Map Tacked Corners10. Done! Hung in the remodeled bathroom, with the antique National Cash register sign we purchased at the Elephant’s Trunk Flea this past summer.

Map and Sign on WallTotal cost of the project: zippo-I saved $650, using the Three “R”s-recycle, refurbish, relove. Everything I needed for this project I already had on hand, so Coach, you owe me one… Have a crafty Tuesday everyone! Susan


  1. Margaret A-T says:

    Amazing!! I love that one & still beautiful designer!


  2. shannoncolleary says:

    Very cool!


  3. This is such a cool idea! and so much simpler than i would have expected! xoxo thanks so much for linking up!


  4. Love it!


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