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How To Make Map Paper Moths Art

Map Paper Moths: If you are a regular visitor to this upcycling site, you will know that my two favourite materials to upcycle are old jeans and road maps. Last year I made some fun faux moths out of denim scraps, this time I have made some fun paper moth art using old road maps.

Many of the decorations around my home are reflections of nature. I love the old specimen display cases of butterflies and moths that you see in museums. I wanted to recreate that in my home.

Obviously, it’s cruel and no longer environmentally sound to use real insect specimens. That is why I create these fun faux alternatives.

Why Map Paper Moths

Despite being constantly handled, folded, and unfolded, many old road maps will last for years. It’s because of the paper that they were printed on, often this paper is a kind of linen/cloth paper. The quality of the paper is one of the reasons why old maps are great for crafting.

The maps themselves also add extra interest to a craft and upcycle, especially if you use a map of somewhere special. By using maps of the right places, you can turn something mundane into something to be treasured. For example, making personalized map key rings or a map heart ornament.

The patterns on road maps are also interesting and can make interesting map artwork. I thought that they would be perfect for creating a display of faux paper moths. The vintage road maps helped give the map moths an old-fashioned theme.

Stitching Paper

Like with the denim moths, I wanted to create a display of a variety of moths. To achieve this not only did I use different types of old road maps, but I also designed three different types of paper moths.

Also, to add another dimension to the paper moths, I stitched the paper on the sewing machine. The stitches were used to outline the wing shapes and on the larger winged moth to add veins.

Stitching paper on a sewing machine is surprisingly easy and really fun. There are some sewing-on-paper tips here.

If you don’t have a sewing machine then you can skip the stitched paper stage when making the faux moths.

Old road maps and wire

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What You Need

  • Old road maps – I’m always picking up road maps from thrift/charity stores, they are often very cheap. I find using road maps cheaper than buying craft paper. My relatives and friends know I love to craft and upcycle with old road maps so they pass on theirs whenever they are having a clear-out.
  • Wooden skewer
  • Craft wire
  • Craft glue
  • specimen mounting pins
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Ruler and scissors

How To Make Map Paper Moths

1.. First, decide what type of paper moth to make. There are three different designs, you can download the wing templates here. Two of the moth designs have double wings, the larger moth has just one set of wings.


2. Next, draw around the wing template on the road map and then cut them out. You might want to place the template over a location that is special to you on the map. This will give this craft even more meaning and sentimental value.

double-map-wings-moth s

3. Next stitch the moth wings on the sewing machine. For the smaller wing, I just stitched an outline around the edge of the map wing. With the large moth wing, I also stitched some veins into the body of the wings.

If you don’t have a sewing machine you can miss out on this stage, it is purely decorative. With the right paper, you can hand stitch as I did with my embroidered paper dictionary art.


4. Next, make the body of the moths. The body is made in the same way that you would make a paper bead. First, cut a long triangle-shaped strip of the map. The strip should be about 4cm wide at the base and 30cm long.

Start by wrapping the wide end of the map strip around the wooden skewer. Then continue wrapping the rest of the strip around the skewer and secure the end in place with glue.

making map beads
making map moth body
Making map body

5. Once the map bead (moth body) has dried, remove it from the wooden skewer. Then make some moth feelers by cutting a small length of craft wire, folding it in half, and placing it inside the map bead.

Making the feelers

6. Finally, glue the map paper moth wings to the map body. With the 2 wing moths, I glued the underwings first, followed by the top wings. You might want to use a peg to keep the wings in place whilst the glue dries.

map paper moth
Large wing moth

Displaying the Map Paper Moths

I really enjoyed making these paper moths and made a variety of them in the three designs using different road maps.

Map paper moths

I displayed some of them the same way as I did my denim moths, using a foam-backed frame and insect specimen pins. The moths were given labels of false Latin names to add to the fun. You can download these for free on my denim moth post.

Faux paper moths

Another option is to frame these faux moths in individual frames. A map moth of somewhere special in a frame would make a lovely personalized gift just like these framed map seashells.

framed map paper moth
faux map moths

Another fun thing to make from old road maps is paper bead bracelets and other jewellery.

If you like these upcycled map moths, you should check out my collection of repurposed map crafts and DIYs. This includes other stitched map crafts such as the map heart treat bags. Check out these map mason jars too.

If you don’t have any road maps you can download and use some wonderful vintage maps for crafting here. Also, if you want some real vintage images of moths and butterflies you’ll find them here on Pictureboxblue.

Another great use for old road maps is to make this easy personalized map art.


Sunday 25th of April 2021

I love these. Your creativity is amazing!

I did enjoy insect collecting as a kid. But this is even better!

I was thinking about how I could use all those individual maps of each park from a trip to Disneyland a few years ago.

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 25th of April 2021

Thank you so much, I love the idea of using Disneyland maps.


Friday 23rd of April 2021

These are so unique Claire and I'm thinking of all the ways I could use them! Thank you for sharing your map paper moths DIY at Create, Bake, grow & Gather this week. I'm delighted to be featuring them at the party tonight and pinning too. Hugs, Kerryanne

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 24th of April 2021

Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing the feature.


Thursday 22nd of April 2021

What a clever idea. Love it. Congratulations, you are being featured at Thursday Favorite Things. I hope you stop by. Hugs, Bev

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 24th of April 2021

That's awesome, thank you so much.


Wednesday 21st of April 2021

Oooh how lovely are these? I'm not sure if I like the collection or the individually framed moths better, but either way, they're very attractive! Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

Thank you, Lydia. I can’t decide between the two either!

Donna @ Modern on Monticello

Wednesday 21st of April 2021

You always share such a unique way to upcycled old maps. Love your ideas and thanks for always sharing them with us. #HomeMattersParty

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

Thank you so much, after denim maps are my favourite thing to upcycle.