How to Make Map Art

So yesterday I mentioned the map paper I bought at Bebe Gallini’s.  I wrapped some old canvases that I had laying around with the paper for instant art.  Some of you wanted a little more information and if you aren’t yet sick of people talking about map art, I’ll be glad to ramble on about it.

Really, all you need for map art is some maps and something to put them on or in.  Amazon has some neat options of map wrapping paper~I like that because normally, specialty wrapping paper like that is thicker than just a paper map and created more for aesthetics than finding a road so you can get around.  But, you can also use real maps from a map store, books, your attic, whatever.  Here are some map posters from Amazon as well.

My friend Angela, has a pretty map framed on her mantel.

So lets make this little fella shall we?

You only need three simple ingredients:

  1. A Map {or lets face it, you could wrap it in anything, a page from Jane Austen, sheet music, a Star Wars poster…
  2. Adhesive of some sort {I really like photo mount spray but rubber cement or hot glue would probably work great
  3. Something to wrap it on {a block of wood, canvas, cereal box}


Here’s a close up of the glue I use.  I LOVE it.  I originally bought it when I accidentally ordered our huge family photo without the thick cardboard backing.  It’s nice because you spray it on and then stick what you want and if it’s crooked, you have a little time to peel it off and restick before it dries.

So all you do is wrap the canvas spraying a little glue on each side as you go. The crisper/tighter/more folded you make your corners the better it looks.

Next let’s use this Wide World Atlas that I found for $1 at a thrift store and this old box.

See cute as a button.  Just be sure to use a really sturdy box.

Once again, here are pages from that old vibrant world atlas framed, wrapped on a tiny box, and wrapped on a wood canvas thing.

I had to piece together two pages to make a big map but, you can’t tell unless you look close.

I even took the liberty to create some new islands on a place where I cut the paper too short.  You have to look really close and change the settings on the photo to even see it this clearly.

More map fun:

NY Times via Emeraldesign

Beautiful Inspirations


Make sure you visit Kimba’s Map party for lots more mappy inspiration.

And don’t forget Etsy…



  1. I’ve always loved maps -I used to want to be a map maker when I grew up :)

  2. LOVE it! Just did a map footlocker:-) and map coasters and the whole world painted on my wall…..kinda addicted to maps

  3. Not crazy about the boxes but I like the canvas wrapped. I think vintage maps would be great or a map of a place that had meaning to you – a favorite vacation spot, honeymoon spot, something. I don’t get into just generic maps, iykwim.

    I love the idea of sheet music. I have some vintage Christmas sheet music I bought last year – let’s hope I remember this idea come Christmas time!


    • Only one is a box, and I think it’s just becasue you know it’s a box that makes you not like it. What if you thought it was a block of wood?

      • I don’t care for the box one either- It’s too thick. Looks like a present to me. I think half that thickness and a smaller scale print for the map would look better, Or not wrapping the sides in map too ( complementary print paper? maybe a different color scheme map?) would cut down on the gift wrapped look.

  4. I think they’re fab-u-lous. And, the boxes make it extra thrifty which is a plus in this household. :)


  5. Loving your map art! I keep thinking I’m kinda maxed out on map art here, but I don’t think I can resist some of that map wrapping paper! Maybe for the basement…

    Thanks for the mention. I’m re-opening the link-up in case anyone else has a project.

  6. I have a bunch of maps from places we have visited framed and decoupaged onto canvases in my bathroom. I like to give guests something to look at when they’re in there :)
    I actually really how dimensional that box makes the map. Love that! Now I’ll have to add one of those to the bathroom! Or maybe cover a tissue box? I could get outta hand with this.

  7. Swooning!! I might just have to do some MORE map art!! :) You can’t have enough right??

  8. oh wow! wonder if they’re running any specials to those new islands? i could possibily do a review on them! ha!

    love the maps on a canvas. it looks awesome.

    um, i think you & i are {kinda} on the same wave link…which is awesome, btw.

    i put “buck” in a new spring outfit…it’s an outfit that may just go global. ;)

    have a super day!

  9. What a wonderful idea! This would be a beautiful way to display our ancestry too. My husband and I are both 2nd generation Dutch and I’d really like to bring that into the decor of house in some way — without going nuts with windmills and blue and white plates! I might have to try this out and see how it looks.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. I LOVE map art! We travel so much we like to have maps of the places we’ve been hanging around. Indy has an explorer/adventure themed room and has maps galore from many of the places we’ve traveled on his walls (free city maps are perfect for this). I was going through some travel stuff left over from our cruise and found a map of Pompeii (we actually grabbed about 4 from the visitor center) that he said HAD to go in his room. I might have to wrap something with it though. What a great idea!

  11. I’m so glad you expounded on this! I drove cross country 3 times in 2 years (long story!) and have a map of the US that has the routes highlighted. It’s really sentimental to me, but it’s currently folded and not doing anything. I think I will make a map canvas out of it though, and hang it in our office! What a great way to decorate with “art” with something that’s important to me!

  12. Very cool. I plan on making some ginormous map art for my new house. Can’t wait. Oh ya, and I also plan on putting that Tassle E book to good use in my new craft room. The girls at work asked me what I plan to do in said craft room (they are apparently not crafty, as what would you NOT use a craft room for??!!) and I told them tassling for one. They looked at me a little funny, but when I create a little tassle of joy for them and send it to them (we’re moving quite a distance away), they too, shall covet my craft room and my new tassling skills. Thanks, Nester!

  13. Love your “creative geography” with the new island. ;) I used to love to look at maps and think about all the places I’d like to travel. These days, I travel to Target and back…but it’s still fun to dream, right? :)

  14. Beautiful! I may surprise my sweetie by doing something like this to a map of the city where we used to live…you’ve got my wheels turning!

  15. Thanks for this! Now I wish I’d bought those canvases at Goodwill this morning!

  16. I love maps! I also love this trend and am hoping it replaces that disturbing “blackboard paint” business .

  17. I have been addicted to maps for so long.

    I recently blogged about a map I purchased here:

    It’s a huge map of SoCal and it was not cheap framing it but I love how it looks!

    Thanks for the inspiring ideas. :)

  18. I think I have a map from our honeymoon – that would be fun to add to the decor in our bedroom. :)

  19. I LOVE it! Now to find a map to tear out of one of the kids Bibles… just kidding, what kind of mother would that make me. Shhh they will never know :)

  20. I can’t get enough maps! Love them. Thanks for the ideas. I just made a diy map of the world painting, check it out!

  21. LOVE IT! i am into maps right now also…and a few weeks ago..i found the SAME book at our thrift store…to make a cheap piece of art for my foyer..of course..i found the map of the south/southeast and used that in my frame! the empty box idea is AWESOME! great idea for our playroom! :)
    have a great day! :)

  22. when you place the paper on the canvas are you spraying the whole thing- paper first then on canvas- or just a bit at a time?

  23. or you can do what I do and frame the 70’s era authentic submarine maps from your husband’s submarine when he was in the Navy … the same maps I wanted to pitch for years and years.

  24. I love the idea of map art. I’ve always liked maps. I think you could also use sattelite photos/maps to make a great effect. I’ve seen a sattelite image of someone’s house on display and think that it is a lovely idea. I think they were given it as a birthday present.

  25. I’m so inspired!! I can’t wait to try this!

  26. I love map art. I have a HUGE world map from National Geographic that covers the wall in my office.

  27. Fabulous repurposing-love it!!! and love your blog!

  28. I love maps! I’ve kept every one of my maps from National Geographic for 2 years, and made a lovely piece of art for my daughter’s room with one of China. I glued it to a canvas and white-washed on top just enough to allow the map texture to show through but enough to muddle most of the writing and the fact that it’s China…then cut the silhouette of a bird on a leafy branch out of patterned scrapbook paper and glued that on top. easy, cheap, unique.

  29. I just found your blog & I’m so glad that I did! Wow I just love your style! Nice to “meet” you!!! I’m your newest follower :-)

  30. LOVE this post! I love maps, and display them around my home, so this is great inspiration!

  31. I saw sheets of map paper today at Dick Blick. They were really pretty!

  32. Why do we all love maps so much? I think it’s because the color combinations are so classic, and also because they have the power to transport you to other places. I find that they are ideal in a staged home because they can educate buyers, establish a mood, and convey some of the local color at the same time. And they’re cheap, as you’ve shown. Win/win/win.

  33. You’ve got me inspired! I especially love everything about the last room from sunset. The globes! Just so comfy and gorgeous.

  34. I like them! I am such a map freak – this would so fun. Thanks for the wrapping paper tip & at Amazon- yippee!

  35. As a homeschool mom, I want to put things up that are educational but have them serve a duel purpose of giving my home a decorating element. I was just asking another mom how I could put a map of the world up without it looking so textbook-like. Thanks for the idea. Never cease to inspire us, Nester, thanks again.

  36. Love, love, love using maps as art! I linked to your post here:

  37. OH MY GOSH! I not only love this Idea, but I have a giant atlas and canvasses laying around!! Wooo Hooo!!! Thank you for not only being so creative but for taking the time to share!!! YAY!

  38. I loved your idea and made my own! I linked to your post:

  39. What a great project! :) I’ve featured this post on Craft Gossip here:

    If you would like a “featured by” button, you can grab one here:

  40. Any advice for making the map look aged? I was thinking about rubbing some brewed coffee on it or using some light wood stain.

  41. I love this! I have a map from our vacation to the San Diego Zoo that I have been wanting to put up in my boys’ room but didn’t want to frame. Thanks!!!

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  43. amy keifer says

    wow… I was surprised to see that vintage footlocker with my name (spelled differently). did you find that somewhere?

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  48. Teresa M. says

    I love globes and maps! I am a retired Teacher and decorated a Christmas Around the World with a globe snowman. Largest globe on bottom, medium globe in the middle, and small globe on top! I used a metal rod to connect them. I put a black hat and scarf on the snowman. He welcomed visitors to our hallway! He got the most raves!

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