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DIY Map Art With Repurposed Road Maps

I created this fun DIY map art as I have a bit of a map habit. In that, I can’t resist picking up a free map whenever I visit somewhere new.

My collection of the old road and tourist city maps has grown. Even though many of the maps are out of date and not of actual practical use, I keep them as crafting and upcycling resources.

Old maps are cheap, affordable and exciting craft paper. I use them for decoupage, from large items such as map chairs to smaller things such as Mason jars, cookie tins and shells.

I’ve repurposed road maps into paper rosettes, luminary bags, roses and even plant pot covers. I also use them as an environmentally friendly gift wrap.

DIY Map Art Ideas

Many old maps can make excellent wall art without having to do anything to them. But I love to create more exciting DIY map art. In the past, I’ve made a pet portrait, map angel wings and even map paper moths.

This time I wanted to create a piece of art that was a personalized homage to some of my favourite places in the world. I used the road and tourist city maps I had picked up over the years to create this personal piece of map art for my wall.

It is easy and affordable and would make a lovely personalized keepsake gift for someone special.

I do love a framed vintage map of one of my favourite cities. But if I framed a map of all the places special to me, I wouldn’t have any space on the walls for anything. With this DIY map art, I show a little bit of each city in just one frame.

Assorted old road maps

How To Find Old Maps For Arts and Crafts

I used old road maps, tourist city maps and an old atlas to make this wall art. As I mentioned in the beginning, I collect maps, so I have an excellent supply to choose from.

If you don’t have such a ready supply, then there are several ways to find the ones you need. Friends and relatives are a good start. I often find they are more than happy to offload out-of-date maps and atlases.

Charity shops and thrift stores often have a pile of old maps and atlases. Your local library and tourist information centre will have local maps. Remember you can always use photocopies of the maps if you don’t want to cut up the originals.

Failing that, there are many sources online where you can find maps of particular places. Either use Google Maps or Google Earth. Or, for vintage maps, try Pictureboxblue.com.

What You Need

  • Maps of your favourite places (see above)
  • Large shadow box frame – I used a 40cm-40cm frame bought in a sale at my local craft store.
  • Plain white backing paper to fit the frame
  • Fiskars Squeeze Punch-XL (cuts 5cm paper circles). A cheaper alternative is to use a compass paper cutter. The advantage of the compass paper cutter is that you can cut paper circles of different sizes, but the Fiskar punch is easier to use.
  • 3d double-sided sticky foam pads
  • Pencil and a ruler
Fiskers circle hole punch

How To Make The Map Circle Art

Step 1: Sort out the maps that you want to use. Then place the circle punch over the particular part of the map you want and squeeze the handles to cut out a perfect 5 cm circle.

I used 25 cut-out map circles from various road maps and atlases for this project. You could use the same road map for the whole piece, picking out your favourite local villages or towns.

Remember, if you don’t want to cut up a particular map but want to include it in this project, you can always use a photocopy.

Cutting map circles

Step 2: Next, this was a slightly tricky bit. With a ruler and a pencil, I marked the location of each map circle on the backing paper. I ensured each circle was placed in a perfect grid of 5 by 5 (25 map circles total).

Marking the layout for the circles

Step 3: Next, I played around with the layout of circles in the grid. Once I was happy with the order of the maps, I stuck them one by one onto the paper using a foam pad. I used the foam pad as I wanted the map circles to be raised off the paper.

Putting sticky pad on the back.
Making map circle art

Step 4: Finally, when all the map circles have been stuck down, place them into the shadow box frame. My frame was made of unfinished wood, so I painted it with black chalk paint to fit my decor.

DIY map art
Personalized map art
DIY map art

This map art now hangs in my lounge. It has sparked a bit of debate and conversation with my family about the places I’ve chosen to feature. Everyone has their own opinion of where should have been included and what they would have on their piece.

I’ve told them they could borrow my circle punch whenever they want to make their piece😂. My son, who’s about to go off on a big travelling adventure, has said he will make sure he collects many maps on the way as he wants to create his DIY map art as a memento of his trip.

DIY Map art

I have used the same circle punch to make repurposed map Christmas decorations. Don’t forget to check out these other map decor ideas.

DIY personalized Map art

If you have a lot of maps left over, you can also use them to make stylish magazine holders.

Nandini Charles

Saturday 21st of May 2022

So clever. I’m thinking you could also cut out different shapes and make a collage and if you can remember add the date when you were at that place.

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 22nd of May 2022

Thank you, that sounds like a lovely idea too.

Donna via Funky Junk

Saturday 26th of March 2022

Smitten with this idea and look! I'd like to do this to a few of my own fav destinations!

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 26th of March 2022

Thank you, Donna. It is a talking point.

Home Matters Linky Party #372 - Modern on Monticello

Friday 25th of March 2022

[…] DIY Map Art by Claire @ Pillar Box Blue […]

Pam

Thursday 24th of March 2022

This is just the best idea ever! I really love this. I'll be featuring it later today at the TFT party. Congrats!

Donna @ Modern on Monticello

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

I really like this idea mostly because it is so different than just having a full map display with pins to where you have traveled. I might have to make one of these. Thanks for sharing the idea and it will be one of the features this week. #HomeMattersParty

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Thank you for the feature. The maps have certainly become a talking point among the family, arguing over where should be included. I think I'm going to have to make another one to keep everyone happy.