How to Make Personalised Map Chairs

How to Make Personalised Map chairs

These gorgeous map chairs are really easy to make for very little cost. They are also extra special, as I made them with maps that have great sentimental meaning.
My husband’s family is from Norway and my kids love the country so I made one map chair with a Norwegian roadmap.
Hong Kong is a special place full of magical memories for me, as I was born and brought up there. Therefore I used a Hong Kong street map for another chair. Finally, for the third chair, I used a London tube map, as I love London having lived, studied and worked in the city.

Create some unique and personalised furniture by upcycling chairs with maps of your favourite places. Full step by step tutorial.
3 map chairs garden gl3
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What you need to make the map chairs

I’m fortunate in that I have a junk shop at the bottom of my road and live around the corner from an auction house, so it’s easy for me to find old chairs. The chairs I used here actually came from my local scout hut, where I’m a Beaver leader.
As you are covering the chairs in maps they don’t need to be in the best of condition so you should be able to pick them up very cheaply from your local second-hand store.
You can use any maps to cover your chairs. However, you might want to personalize your chairs by using a map local to you, or a map of a favourite holiday destination.
The London underground chair was made using 2 sheets of Cavallini tube map wrapping paper.

How to make map chairs

  1. Dismantle you chairs if possible, remove the seat and back. Don’t worry if your chair won’t dismantle, you can still decoupage it but it maybe a little more tricky.

  3. Sand the wood lightly all over to provide a key.

  5. Then carefully wipe clean to remove dust, dirt etc.
    How to make a map chair part1


  8. Cover the surfaces to be decoupaged evenly with PVA glue using a brush.

  10. Carefully place the map on top of the PVA glue. Squeeze out bubbles with a small wallpaper roller or by gently running an edge of a credit card over the surface. I covered the screw holes with the map.

  12. When wrapping the map round the edge of the chair you will find it easier if you cut small slits into the maps especially round curved edges.
    How to make map chairs part2
    Map chairs pillarboxblue
  13. When the stuck down map has dried, paint a layer of PVA glue over the top. Don’t worry that it looks milky, this will dry clear.

  15. After the PVA glue has dried (preferably overnight), cover the chairs with a protective varnish. I use an acrylic varnish spray for this.

  17. 10. Finally when all dry, locate original screw holes now covered with paper. Pierce through the maps and screw chairs back together.

Map Chairs
London tube Map Chair
How to upcycle some old wooden chairs with maps to make them into personalized map chairs
I love these chairs and may make some more for my dining room. The Hong Kong map chair has the most sentimental value for me, but I think aesthetically the London Underground Map chair is my favourite.
I have uploaded some free printable vintage maps that you can also download and use for to upcycle your own chairs or any other map craft you may want to try.

You might want to check out some of my other Map upcycles:
Brilliant Vintage Map suitcase
Upcycled Map Magnetic Board
IKea Hack – Map Table
Easy Map Table Mats

79 Responses

  1. Thank you for another wonderful idea. I have an old wooden chair I’ve been saving for a project, and a box of old maps I’ve been saving for decoupage projects I’ve never gotten around to. Now I have a goal. I will definitely submit photos after my project is done, which won’t be until after the Christmas holidays. I’m very excited now. Many thanks again!

  2. […] about old maps just grabs me, especially foreign maps.  I love what Pillar Box Home did with old maps and old chairs!  She has a fantastic tutorial too.  Be sure to go check it […]

  3. Meg

    Do you think this would work on plastic chair?. I have at least a hundred maps and can not part with them. I would love to use this idea on a plastic chair I use in my tutoring business.
    Thanks for any input.

    • I think it could work on plastic chairs too. Maybe use Mod Podge glue, and try it on a small section first to make sure the maps stick.

  4. I’ve just discovered your blog today Claire. All I can say is WOW! I adore maps, have done since I was a young child and the attraction has never left me. I’m always trying to think of ways to use maps in my home decorating but fail miserably. These chairs will be perfect. I grew up in Pembrokeshire, so the coastline there will have to be included. Just been looking through the instructions. Do you decoupage onto the reverse of the chair back also? My chairs will be in the kitchen so the back of the chairs would be visible. Would welcome your thoughts. Thanks again for the wonderful idea. 😊

    • Thank you! And thanks for visiting. It depends on what the back of your chairs are like, the back of my chairs were nice wood so I left them. Just do which way you think will look best. You can always leave the backs and see how it looks, and then decoupage them later if you are not happy with them.

  5. Looking for a US map featuring the iconic Route 66…retro from the 1960’s. Found a sweet old shcool chair with metal legs and wood seat for $2.50 at the local thrift shop. This is going to be a fun project!

    • I like the sound of that road map, I bet your chair would look awesome. I’d love to see a picture of it when you have finished.

  6. Amazing! Thanks for the inspiration on what to do with my old maps!

  7. Your chairs turned out great! I linked to the post via my newsletter today.

  8. […] of a sudden it looks fabulous. If you follow my blog you will know I do this alot. For example my personalised map chairs, map magnetic board and vintage map suitcase, and many more. I admit it I have a bit of a map […]

  9. […] How to Make Personalized Map Chairs […]

  10. What a great inspiration for my computer room. I will definitely use an old nautical map of my hometown, Biscayne Bay, east coast of So. Florida to Key West.
    Your chairs are a piece of art.

  11. […] 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 maps.   […]

  12. Wow, I love the idea of using maps to cover chairs. I differently plan to give this a try. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you ! I love using maps in my craft and collect them from my travels.

  13. […] also the most expensive Paul and I would be tempted to live in the Fjords. I’d already made a map chair to celebrate my love of Norway, so I decided to continue with this theme when decorating my vintage […]

  14. Totally loving these chairs!!! They are so fun and fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing your awesomeness at Vintage Charm.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you again and thanks for a great link up party.

  15. Cograts, you’re featured this week at the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Link Party on Organized 31.

  16. These are SO cool! I love maps and I love to travel, so I’m already thinking of what I can use to do something similar here. Pinning!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks ! Glad you liked them.

  17. I am so in love with your map chairs, Claire. We’re a military family and these would be a fun way to remember the many places that we’ve lived. I could also make ones for my kids from maps of each of the places they were born. Pinning now. Thanks for sharing at the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Link Party on Organized 31.

    • Claire Armstrong

      That sounds like a great idea to make something personal and memorable for your family !

  18. […] maps – As already mentioned I love using maps in my crafts (map chairs), I tend to keep maps from holidays, city breaks etc so luckily have a ready supply. If you […]

  19. […] Underground and I thought this would be great for a draught excluder. Also it would compliment the Tube Map chair I made last summer.       Now you maybe thinking that cross stitch takes too long […]

  20. I almost fell off my chair looking at these chairs, because not only do I <3 upcycling, but I live in Norway, and London is my favourite destination to travel, and I almost know the tube map by heart, so these two chairs are herby my all time favourites!!!!!!! Love the upcycling you do, I'm definately going to "steal" some of the ideas!!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you ! It’s really nice to hear when I have inspired someone. Lucky you living in Norway the most beautiful country I have ever visited.

  21. Beautiful chairs, and the maps add so much character and interest. I’ve never heard of PVA glue. I will have to look more into that for crafting.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you ! Modge podge would work as well, PVA glueis just white glue that dries clear. I find it’s cheaper than Modge podge and I can buy it in big 5litre tubs from the DIY store.

  22. These are so neat! So fun and what a great tutorial too! Thank you for sharing at my Making Broken Beautiful Party. Hope you join in again this week!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you glad you like them.

  23. Congrats! You are the Highest CLIMBer on “A Peek Into My Paradise” & you are being featured on my blog today:
    Also, please link up your newest posts – you might be featured again next month!
    Have a wonderful day!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you and really great to hear that others were interested in my post.

  24. […] from Thirty Eighth Street is featuring Pillar Box Blue and this great chair.  How cool is […]

  25. Claire! These chairs are the coolest thing I’ve seen in awhile. So creative and fun! I loved them so much that I’m featuring them tonight at 9PM EST at Friday’s Furniture Fix. I hope you’ll join us again this week!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you ! I will join you again when I next have a furniture project to share.

  26. Featuring these awesome chairs tonight on Trash 2 Treasure Tuesday. 🙂

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you will look out for them !

  27. I love love love your map chairs – such a great idea!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you very much I love them too I’m going to make some more.

  28. Yup, I’m pretty much in love with your chairs!!!! Pinning to the Trash 2 Treasure highlights board.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you !

  29. These are so great and I left this same question on Hometalk. I’m wondering how well they wear. Are these seats people will use frequently or just once in a while?

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you. They are pretty robust I have them in my dining room and they are used daily. if you give them a good couple of varnish top coats they should last for years.

      • Thanks so much for getting back to me Claire! So glad to hear they will take some rear end traffic.
        While I think your map idea is awesome, I’ll probably have to go with a theme more art oriented as I’m
        doing an abstract on the table top. Should be interesting.
        Again, I appreciate being able to follow your genius idea with my own little twist!
        Thanks so much,

        • Claire Armstrong

          Thanks, glad I’ve inspired you.

  30. What a fun idea!! Stopping by from the CLIMB!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Cheers, I do love them

  31. They are like old school chairs reborn. They are all pretty fab but I think the underground map is my favourite, it’s so iconic.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks, yes I love the underground one too.

  32. What a cool idea! Thanks for linking up at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home!


    • Claire Armstrong


  33. […] Personalized Map Chairs from Pillar Box Blue. I love this idea and I may be extra fond of it because she used The Tube map. I just want to know where she found one that big. […]

  34. […] from Pillar Box Blue professionally covered these in her own special memory maps.  She has a great tutorial on how to […]

  35. I did this a year ago and stubbled with getting out all the wrinkles – I used mod podge and never gave thought to using a PVA glue (that prevents paper from wringing, right?) I will have to remember this!! Love how each of your chairs has a story to it!!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks, I think PVA works really well for most crafts

  36. I just love the Londen Underground chair! I think I would make one with an old sea map, the ones with a big compass in the corner.

  37. Claire, these are so special and classic. I love the map designs, and now you can have constant memories. Thanks so much for linking up on Choose Save Tuesday!

  38. […] Personalized map chairs by PIllar Box Blue […]

  39. Hi Claire, what an amazing project, and using maps from the local would be good, I know that the chamber of commerce offers animated maps of areas that would be really colorful, say for a kids room, table-chairs.

    Thank you for stopping by to share on Friday Features and for the link back!! 🙂
    I also have a Wordless Wednesday each week as well.
    Hope you have a great weekend!!
    Karren xx

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you

  40. Oh my goodness… what a gorgeous project! And that they have meaning to you, even more so. Such a neat idea… may have to do a map with our summer vacation location this year! LOVE this, and featuring it in this weekend’s Party Junk! Thanks for linking up!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you very much I just love your stuff and find it very inspiring.

  41. What a great idea! These are so clever, especially because you used maps that represent special places. Great tutorial too!!

    • Claire Armstrong

      thank you

  42. Oh good grief! These are soooo good!
    Thank you so much for sharing these awesome chairs at Something to Talk About!

    • Claire Armstrong


  43. Claire Armstrong

    Thanks. Never been to Argentina but I bet you could get some great looking maps of the place. Cavillini do a lovely vintage Great Britain map wrapping paper you could probably pick up on ebay or Amazon.

  44. Fabulous idea & I love how they turned out! I’d love to make chairs with maps of England and Argentina, as those are two special places in my heart (I studied abroad twice). Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty 🙂

  45. They are great I really love them, I am loving the London Underground one particularly. I might have to do a series of underground/Metro themed ones, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Budapest…

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks. Sounds great idea, to do one for all your favourite cities.

  46. Kathleen

    These are fabulous! I should really do this with my collection of old maps.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks, I hope you manage to do some.

  47. Love ’em

  48. Love this idea! And I love London:-) Will definitely try this, thanks for sharing,

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks, good luck with it.

  49. Claire. Love love love. They are totally up my ally! On my list for when we finally buy our next house.

    • Claire Armstrong


  50. Oh wow! These look amazing. Would love to try this.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you. I hope you manage to do one. They make me smile as they are a constant reminder of my favourite places.

  51. AHH! The tube map! I love these–thanks for linking to the Do Tell Tuesday party. I’m pinning right now!

  52. Claire Armstrong

    What map do would you like to use ?

    • I can’t wait to try it out.
      What a great way to inspire the sense and wonderment of planet earth to your family and friends. Yoho! Way to go.

      • Thank you, they are great conversation pieces in the dinning room.

  53. They look amazing! I will definitely be giving this a go x

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