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How to Make a Stunning Printed Map Picture Frame

When I return from special holidays I love to find fun ways to show off the photos. For our last trip, I made a unique map picture frame of our holiday destination.

Along with the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins, I returned to my hometown of Hong Kong and finally was able to show it off to my kids. They had heard so many stories about the place over the years it was so exciting for them to experience the amazing city for themselves.

Sharing it with all the family made it even more special.

Being born in Hong Kong and my parents living there for the first 30years of my life, it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I wanted a special memento of the magical city on my wall.

When I found an old map of Hong Kong I decided to print it onto pallet wood and make a special map picture frame from it.

As traveling is important to me and my family I have a lot of DIY map themed decor in my home to reflect this.

The map frame on the mantle will fit right in with the vintage map pillows I have on the sofa. The map art pet portrait and map angel wings on our wall and even the IKEA map lamp hanging from the ceiling.

Map printed pallet frame

DIY Printed Map Picture Frame From A Pallet

I love that I can easily change the pictures on the frame and rotate them regularly.

When the kids or I walk past the map picture frame, often we will stop and look at the photos and the map on the frame and reminisce about that fantastic trip.

In order to keep the character of the old pallet wood, I decided to print onto the wood rather than decoupage. It is very easy to print pictures onto the wood.

I used bulldog clips to make it really easy to change the photos.

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What I used Make a Printed Map Picture Frame

  • Pallet wood
  • Old Map – Your map will need to be printed onto paper in a mirror image by a laser printer.
    If you don’t have a laser printer your local print shop should be able to do this for you. They can photocopy an existing map or download a free map from sites like Pictureboxblue. There is also a collection of vintage maps for crafting on this site.
Push pins and copper bulldog clips.

Your holiday snaps – I like to print Instagram style photos for a retro look.

How To Make A Printed Pallet Map Picture Frame

1.. Firstly, saw the top two boards off a pallet in one piece for your frame.

Cut pallet for photo frame

2. Next, to prepare the pallet wood for printing, sand it smooth. Start with a rough grain paper moving to a finer sandpaper to finish off.

Sanding palllet frame.

3. Next, cut the printed maps out to the size of the wood on the pallet frame. Remember that the printed maps should be a mirror image print and printed on a laser printer.

Cover both the wood and the front of the printed maps with Mod Podge. Then stick the face of the printed map down onto the wood.

pasting pallets with glue s
pasting pallets with glue

3. Next, carry on sticking down maps until the whole frame is covered. Then leave the pallet until the glue had dried thoroughly, preferably overnights.

4. The next bit is where the magic happens. Using a sponge wet the back of the map paper thoroughly. Then rub away the paper.

As you continue to rub the paper away you will see that the ink from the map has printed onto the pallet wood and doesn’t rub away.

You will have to continually wet the pallet wood and rub away all the paper residue this make take a little bit of elbow grease but it is well worth it.

map wetting on pallet
Rubbing off map from pallet
Rubbing off map from pallet

Attaching The Photos to the Map Picture Frame

I love to change photos around regularly on my frames, so I made it as easy as possible to do this. For this map picture frame, I simply used some stylish copper push pins and bulldog clips to attach my photos.

Push pins photos and bull dog clips for map picture frame.
Attaching photos to printed map picture frame
Printed map picture frame made from a pallet
How to make a unique upcycled DIY pallet printed map picture frame. A cool and personal way to show your holiday photos.
It's so easy to print maps on to pallet wood. To make a truly unique map picture frame for your holiday photos.

There are many more ways to make an upcycled DIY picture frame such as an upcycled picture frame from a shoebox lid.

It does not just map that you can print onto wood. I’ve seen photos printed onto wood slices and vintage cheese labels onto a lazy Susan.

And it’s not just wood that maps are printed on. I’ve even managed to print them onto rocks to make some cool map rock keychains and even make an IKEA Mapbox table. You’ll find more handmade map gift ideas here.

I love to have a home full of photos so I’m always looking for fun ways to display them. As well as this map frame I have made an upcycled giant chalkboard photo frame for those Instagram photos.

I’ve even made upcycled denim frames and some fun repurposed lego Minifigure frames. This frame was featured in the comprehensive list of upcycling ideas and resources.




Wednesday 9th of January 2019

Such a great project, so impressed. Maria

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

Thank you it’s a great memory of a fabulous trip.

Linda at Mixed Kreations

Saturday 5th of January 2019

This is so cool! A perfect way to preserve memories! I'm been wanting to try this transfer technique but I don't have an inkjet printer.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 5th of January 2019

Thank you. Your local print shop should be able to print it for you on an inkjet printer, that’s what I do.

Wonderful Free Printable Vintage Maps To Download - Pillar Box Blue

Monday 19th of February 2018

[…] into something awesome, such as with my map table IKEA hack. Vintage maps can also be used for printing onto wood and other surfaces too.   The maps I have scanned in from my collection are from the […]


Thursday 12th of October 2017

Wonderful inspiration for a cost effective way to decorate the home!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 12th of October 2017

Thank you so much.

Rosie (@greenrosielife)

Sunday 3rd of September 2017

Oooh - I like this a lot and reckon even non practical me could manage this one!! And I have both old maps and old pallets hanging around! #GoingGreenLinky ?

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 3rd of September 2017

Thank you, Rosie. It is quite straight forward so you should manage it ok.