How To Make Personalized Placemats With City Maps

Simple Upcycled City Map Placemats

A cool and easy way to make personalized placemats is to decoupage them with maps of your favourite cities.

Whenever I go on a city break I always come home with a handbag full of free maps. I can’t resist them. Even on a day trip to Brighton, which I know really well I still put one of the free maps at the station in my handbag.

I don’t even need the maps to find my way around a city as there’s an app on my phone for that. But I love the paper maps, I love looking at them working out wherever thing is in relation to each other. Maps are my favourite free souvenir.

The maps I’ve collected over the years tend to just sit around in a drawer, well I actually keep them in the Map Suitcase I made last year. I have used some of them in crafts before like with my map chairs. This time I decided that I would use them to upcycle some rather grubby old table mats.

I picked city maps from some of my favourite European cities to upcycle and personalize my table mats with. The results were a fantastic improvement on the old placemats and made for a great discussion point at the table. As not only do these map personalized placemats look great they spark conversation as we reminisce about our favourite city trips.

(The gorgeous plates by the way are from Anthropologie Nature table range)

Personalized placemats with city maps
Personalized placemats

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What you need to make personalized placemats

  • Old cork table Mats/Placemats – you may have some already that need revamping, or you could pick some up really cheap from a thrift store. You could even make your own from cork tiles.
  • Maps – If you don’t have a map habit like mine, no fear there are lots of other ways you can get maps of your favourite cities. You can download royalty free maps from sites like Pictureboxblue, or buy map wrapping paper online. I have a colllection of wonderful free vintage maps on Pillarboxblue you can use too!
  • Decoupage glue such as Mod Podge
  • Heat resistant and waterproof lacquer or varnish.
  • Rotary cutter, cutting mat or scissors, rolling pin or wall paper roller, & ruler.
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Map table mats tutorial  -

How to Make decoupaged Personalized placemats

  1. Clean your table mats/placemats and prime them by coating them in a diluted 50/50 glue to water mixture. This will help the maps adhere better.
  2. While waiting for the priming mixture to dry, cut out your maps to size. I did this by simply placing my table mat on top of the map and cutting round with a rotary cutter.
Map table mats - Pillarboxblue tutorial

3. Next, when the primer coat is dry apply a coat of glue to the table mat. And another one to the wrong side of the map. Carefully place your map on top of the mat. To eliminate air bubbles, roll over the top of the map whilst sticking it down with a rolling pin or wallpaper roller. You could also use a ruler to squeeze out any air bubbles.

4. Whilst I’m waiting for the maps to adhere to the table mats I usually place them under a weighted object such as a heavy book.

5. Finally, when fully adhered all you need to do is to varnish your placemats. I applied 3 coats of varnish, letting each one dry thoroughly in between.

Personalized placemat with city maps

That’s it, I told you it was really easy!

The City Maps I used for my Personalized placemats

The maps I used were from some of my favourite European cities, but I have loads more favourites I just need more maps.

  • LONDON: I used to live and work in London and still visit regularly there is so much to see and do in the city I never tire of it.
  • PARIS: Is beautiful, I first visited relatives there as a child and more recently went with friends.
  • STOCKHOLM: It’s a fabulous city surrounded by water and has a lovely chilled out Scandi vibe.
  • BARCELONA: A city and beach all in one with great tapas and all that inspiring Gaudi architecture!
  • BUDAPEST: I visited for the first time last year, and not only was it a beautiful city full of history but it also had a unique party atmosphere and is very cheap.
City Map table mats -
Easy Map table mats - full tutorial
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Which are your favourite cities ?

There is a fabulous collection of vintage New York maps here that are free to download. I think these would make gorgeous city table mats.

Free antique New York city maps

If you liked this post you might want to check out some of my other popular map crafts using city ad road maps.

Map Personalized Placemats

 Map Personalized Placemats
Use city maps from your travels to make unique upcycled personalized placemats for your table.
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Old placemats / tablemats or cork tiles
  • City Maps
  • Mod Podge


  1. clean mats
  2. Cut Maps to size
  3. Decoupage maps to mat
  4. Seal mats

86 Responses

  1. I was just talking about how maps have become obsolete now that most people have map
    Apps on their phone. Love adding new life to something old. Great idea!

    • Thank you so much. Yes, there is something lovely and nostalgic about old maps.

  2. Those are such cute placemats and I love the chameleon plates too. Pinned.

    • Thank you,the plates are a favourite of mine they are from Anthropologie.

  3. I absolutely love these! Thanks for sharing on To Grandma’s House We Go!

  4. I love maps!!!Lovely plates with frog also!!!

    • Thank you, the plates are my favourite too they are from Anthropologie.

  5. I LOVE this idea so much! Now I just need to find some old placemats to cover! 🙂 Lisa

  6. Beautiful job! Did you just glue on top of the old mat without sanding first? And you did the priming with the Mod Podge/PVA glue? Do you think yacht varnish gives a better finish than spray lacquer? Apologies for so many questions – I’ve just acquired a massive collection of maps and there’s so much I want to do with them! My first picture frame didn’t work as well as I hoped 🙁

    • I just glued over the old mat but primed first with glue. I don’t think there is much difference between yacht varnish and spray lacquer, just make sure it’s a crystal clear varnish. I do love my mat table maps they are great to look at whilst at the table.

      • Thanks! I was a bit worried about leaving brush strokes with the yacht varnish, so that’s why i was wondering about a spray finish. I think I saw someone use a some kind of transparent adhesive sheet but i fear that wouldn’t be as strong as varnish. More susceptible to scratches and subsequent water damage to the paper. I hadn’t thought to use glue as primer so that’s a great tip!

  7. Have to say that I absolutely LOVE the dishes pictured! Where might I find them to purchase?

  8. You are my feature for Tonight’s Talk of the Town Link Party #20 Thank you for linking up with us! We are live at 8pm EST.
    Julie @ Love My Simple Home

  9. Deb

    Love this blog. Thanks for sharing. And where did you get those plates. Absolutely cool.

  10. I have loads of old maps waiting to be used for something, this is a lovely idea.
    Can you remember what varnish you used? I’d hate to stick my plates to my lovely new map table mats!

    • Thank you ! I used some old yaught varnish, I had left over from another project but I can’t remember the brand, sorry ! If you go yo the DIY, just pick a waterproof clear varnish and it should work fine.

  11. What a great project! Thank you so much for sharing over at Celebrate Your Story! This will be one of our featured posts from Celebrate and Decorate this coming Monday! I hope it sends some more traffic your way. I hope you stop by a the party again this Monday evening at 8:00 EST.

  12. These are so much fun! I definitely need to give this a try sometime!

  13. What a great way to upcycle old placemats! And using maps from your favourite cities makes them even more special! Thanks for sharing it on Dishing It & Digging It. And you know what? We loved them so much, you’re being featured on Sunday’s party!

  14. I love projects using maps and yours is awesome! Great idea to turn your maps into table mats. You inspired me to get my maps out and create. Thank you for linking to Talk of the Town!
    Julie @ Love My Simple Home

  15. […] fav – Upcycled City Maps onto Table Maps @ Pillar Box […]

  16. These are so gorgeous! I definitely need to try this project myself. Thank you so much for sharing at Best of the Weekend. Pinned 🙂

    • Thank you ! You should give it ago. It’s definately one of those crafts that are a little effort for great results.

  17. Claire, your place mats are so cool!! I love maps, in fact, I found a bunch of them this week when packing for our move and I was about to trash them. Thankfully I didn’t!!

    Thank you so much for sharing at Sweet Inspiration party!

    • Thanks ! Never throw out old maps they are great for crafting and also make for unique wrapping paper.

  18. I love this idea and you’ve inspired me to try this application on a table scape I’m currently pulling together! Thanks so much!! 😉

    • Thank you ! It’s always really nice to hear when you have helped inspire.

  19. Cute idea, and I truly love your plates.

  20. Good morning Claire! Featuring you today at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. 🙂

  21. Your map mats turned out great Claire. Such a wonderful idea! I pretty much love maps on anything. I really need to dig into my collection one of these days and use some of them. Thanks for the inspiration, and thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Charm.

    • Thank you ! I love maps on anything too and I’m always looking for new ways to use them.

  22. Oh my goodness, I love your whole table setting!! The maps are amazing, great idea. Thanks so much for linking up with us at Family Joy Blog Link Up! I love your plates too!!

  23. I love these! What a wonderful idea!

  24. Good Morning! I wanted to let you know that your post has been chosen as a Featured Post for the Welcome Home Wednesdays Link Party!! Stop by this morning to see your post linked up and grab a Featured button as well!! ~Lisa~

  25. Very cute and easy idea! Love it!

  26. This is a genius idea! My husband and my boys are leaflet junkies and I never know what to do with them! They’d make nice Fathers’ Day gifts too, so that’s 2 problems solved!

    • Thanks very much! Sounds like a great idea getting your boys to make them for Father’s Day.

  27. What a fun idea. It would really spark some fun conversations with little ones also….learning Geography. Loving this craft. Thanks so much for sharing it at the Dishing it & Digging It Link Party,

    • Thank you ! It also sparks conversation with the big ones reminiscing about previous holidays and trips. With the London map they love to find places on the traditional monopoly board.

  28. What a fab idea. I’m now off to hunt out all my old city maps! I particularly like the one that had pictures of the city’s churches on it!

  29. wow, love this project and the mats look fantastic with your unique china! thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling sunday!

    • Thank you very much ! I do love my China !

      • Claire,
        Please tell me about your incredible china. I love it!
        Who makes it?
        I’m going to make these place mats for my son’s new apartment.

  30. Claire, these are so beautiful! And your china is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I wish I had lizards in my dining room. Great map craft – I am very excited to try this!

    • Thank you ! I love the plates too, I love to eat off them they make the food look special. Good luck with your mats.

  31. Very unique! There are town maps everywhere I go. Now I have a reason to pick them up. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Your blog is lovely! I hoard maps too, as well as old atlases. I’m not that crafty, though I have good intentions, but I reckon these tablemats are great. My fave city is New York, which is a city with a great subway map. Thanks for the post. I will be revisiting for more inspiration.

    • Thank you very much glad you like the blog. New York is a fantastic City ! You can get loads of different wrapping paper with maps of New York on it that would work really well with these mats.

  33. This is so cute. I love maps too.

  34. Your map placemats turned out wonderfully and make the perfect background to those fabulous plates! The colours are coordinated and look so pretty. Would be a great idea to use map placemats for a bon voyage dinner party.

    • Thank you very much ! Yes they would be good for a farewell or welcome home diner party.

  35. Great idea! I love maps and always have and this is such a great way to use them and love them and look at them every day!

  36. Super cute idea!! My daughters are traveling over your way from the states this summer, and I think I really need to make these to have a send-off party for them. My aunts are taking them to London, Paris, and a few places in between. I wonder if I could find European maps here for a decent price? Love it, thanks so much for sharing on Thursday Favorite Things!

  37. Great idea!

  38. These look great!

  39. Wow! What a beautiful map collection you have! It is nice to craft them into something that you can look at every day.

  40. Such a creative way to re-cycle maps-AND keep those wonderful memories of your trip alive! Great tutorial too! Thank you for sharing at The Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop! PINNING!!

  41. Meg

    These are amazing! I adore maps and shall be scavenging for the rest of the supplies to make these as soon as possible! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  42. This is so cool! I love maps and actually just tossed one that had been sitting in my craft area for years. Now I think that I need to go pick some up. I love this idea! <3

    • Thank you ! I can’t resist picking up a free map, I have loads of them.

  43. What a fun idea! And what a great way to relive trips (day-long or many days long) whenever you sit down to eat. Visiting from Homemade and Handcrafted.

    • Thank you ! They are fun to look at and do spark conversation about previous trips.

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