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How To Repurpose Empty Cookie Tins With Old Road Maps

As a family, we love those delicious Scandinavian Christmas spiced cookies you get in tins from places like IKEA. We managed to get through quite a few tins this Christmas. As a result, I have quite a collection of empty cookie tins.

Last year I upcycled my empty cookie tins with a faux marble effect. I used these tins to gift homebaked goods over the year.

This year, I have repurposed the cookie tins into stylish storage using one of my favourite things to upcycle, old road maps.

The map-covered tins look so good now that you would never have guessed they were Christmas cookie tins. To add to the stylish travel theme of these tins, I also added some repurposed leather handles.

I have a thing about empty cookie tins and use them to store my bits and pieces.

I will keep these map tins and use them for storage in the study. With the larger tins, I’ve added a cardboard insert. This makes the tins more efficient compartmentalized sections, making it easier to store small items.

If you used road maps of somewhere special, then these repurposed cookie tins would make a lovely travel-themed gift for someone.

I know from my map Mason Jar banks that travel-themed gifts go down well as they can easily be personalized by using maps of favourite places.

You can often pick up old road maps from charity/thrift stores. Road maps are very affordable and often cheaper than craft paper.

If you are looking for a particular map, check out Pictureboxblue maps for an extensive collection of wonderful free printable maps.

empty cookie tins

Don’t forget to check out some of my other fabulous map and tin can upcycles.

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What You Need To Make Upcycled Map Tins

  • Empty cookie tins – any size or colour will work with this repurpose
empty cookie tins

Step 1. First, remove the lids from the tin cans and any sticky labels. Then spray paint the outside and the lid cream.

2. Next, using a tape measure, measure the circumference of the cookie tin. Also, measure the height of the tin. When calculating the height of the tin I didn’t include the ridge at the top that went under the lid when fitted.

Using a rotary cutter and mat, cut a strip of road map to fit these measurements.

Cut map strips

3. Next, measure the diameter of the empty cookie tin lid. Then using the compass paper cutter, cut a round piece of road map to fit. The compass paper cutter will give you a perfectly cut circle of map paper.

(I used one of these compass cutters when making some cool DIY map art out of old roadmaps.)

Cutting map circle for lid

4. Next, cover the side of the empty cookie tin can base with two strips of double-sided sticky tape—one strip at the top and another at the bottom. Then attach the cut strip of map paper.

Adding double sided tape to empty cookie tins

5. Next, cover the lid of the empty cookie tin with Mod Podge (decoupage glue) and stick down the cut map circle.

covering empty cookie tins with maps

Adding The Leather Handles To The Map Tins

Add some small leather handles to give these map tins an extra edge.

6. Cut two small leather strips about 1cm wide and 4-5cm long. Using the Crop-A-Dile or similar tool, punch two holes into the leather—one hole at each end.

punching hole in leather
Leather strips with holes

7. Next, drill two holes approximately 3cm apart on each side of the cookie tin.

When drilling a hole into the side of the tin can, I hold a wooden block to the inside of the tin. This supports the tin sides and stops them from denting as you apply pressure with the drill.

Drilling holes in the can

8. Then, using the Chicago screws, attach a leather handle to each side of the map tin cans.

Attaching the leather handles
empty cookie tins upcycled with maps

The leather handles help make this upcycle special. I still have a lot of leather scraps, but don’t worry. There are a lot of leather craft ideas here.

Adding Dividers

I find that smaller items can get lost with the larger map tin can storage tins. To combat this, I made some cardboard dividers for the containers.

I measured the inner diameter and height of the large tin cans. I then cut strips of cardboard to these measurements.

Slots were then cut into these cardboard strips to fit together in a cross shape. These were then placed inside the tins to provide storage dividers.

Making tin can dividers
Map tin can with dividers
Map empty cookie tins
Repurposed empty cookie tins with maps
map upcycled cookie tins
Yield: Travel Themed Map Tins

Make Repurposed Map Empty Cookie Tins

empty cookie tins upcycled with maps

Upcycle your empty cookie tins leftover from Christmas with old maps. Add leather handles for a more sophisticated travel themed look.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • Empty cookie tins
  • Old Road Maps
  • Leather Scraps
  • Double-sided sticky tape
  • Mod Podge
  • Chicago Screws
  • Cream Spray paint


  • Compass paper cutter
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Measuring tape
  • Crop-a-dile
  • Drill


  1. Remove all labels from the tins and spray them cream
  2. Measure the lid and outside of the tin
  3. Cut road maps to these measurements
  4. Use double-sided sticky tape to stick the cut maps to the tins.
  5. Cut the leather into handle strips and punch holes into the strips.
  6. Drill holes into the side of the empty cookie tins
  7. Attach the leather handles using Chicago screws.
  8. Make a cardboard divider for the inside of the tins to help with storage.

If you like this map empty cookie tin upcycle, check out these map magazine holders and other repurposed map crafts for the home.

For more DIY storage ideas visit


Sunday 25th of April 2021

I used travel memorabilia and souvenirs and ModPodge. Not finished yet.I wanted to add a photo.Came out super cute.

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 25th of April 2021

That sounds fabulous, I like the idea of a photo.


Saturday 17th of April 2021

Hi! I love this upcycle and learned about Chicago screws! I'm curious why you didn't decoupage the map on the sides and used double stick tape instead.

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 18th of April 2021

Yeah, those Chicago screws are great for so many projects. I sometimes find that it is hard to avoid bubbles with decoupage, especially on curves, so I went with the double-sided sticky tape which worked really well.

Jennifer Osterhout

Friday 17th of January 2020

love this idea! Now I have to keep an eye out for empty cookie tins (viewed through Ducks in a Row link party)

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 18th of January 2020

Thank you, we love cookies in this household so we have a plentiful supply of tins. Hopefully you’ll find some I’m sure friends or relatives will have some. Thank you so visiting,

Lori Dorrington

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Great Post! I love maps and this will be a good project for me. Thanks for sharing. Cheers! Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 16th of January 2020

Thank you have fun making them.

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Love this one Claire, those leather handles bring the whole thing up to a very high level, brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday! I of course have a few cookie tins collecting dust, and this would be a great project for Purim when we give gifts of food!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 16th of January 2020

Thank you. They would make lovely gift tins especially if you use maps of special places.

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