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How To Make A Unique World Map Desk

My husband actually got quite sad about making this world map desk. The reason was that it was made specifically for a room that was changing from the kid’s play/PlayStation room into an adult chill space.

He didn’t like to admit that the kids were young adults now and it wouldn’t be long until they all flew the nest. However, when the room transformation and map desk were finished he was really happy with the results.

The funny thing is the kids/young adults have actually been using the new room and desk more since the transformation. I don’t think it was just because of the novelty but they also appreciated a more adult space.

The reason I made my own desk is that I needed one to be a specific size to fit into an alcove and the chances of finding one were very remote.

I made it into a world map desk just because I have a bit of an obsession with old maps and love to use them in my decor.

By the way, I have previous form with map desks. This isn’t the first one I’ve made, but it is made a different way to the other 2. The first one I made was a decoupage map table.  For the second one, I used Mapbox to print a map onto an IKEA kids table.

If maps aren’t your thing don’t worry you can use this DIY to make a picture desk of your choice. You could even have photos instead. The beauty of this DIY desk you can easily change the map or use any other images whenever you fancy.

Tutorial For A Custom Map Desk

I am no carpenter and have just some basic power tools but I was still able to make a custom desk that I was really pleased with. Plus I got a unique custom desk for a very affordable price.

If you already have a suitable table to use as a desk you can skip the DIY desk part. You can then just print and fix a perspex top to it.

DIY world map desk

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What you need to make a DIY world map desk

  • Scaffolding boards – I used scaffolding boards as they are strong and chunky. Also, I had used scaffolding boards to make some built-in shelves in the alcove and wanted the map desk to match. Scaffold boards are cheap too!
Scaffolding boards
Living coral hairpin legs for map desk
Free vintage world map print for map desk.

Tools used..

  • Saw to cut the scaffold boards and wood baton a hand saw would do.
  • Electric sander
  • Electric drill

How to make a world map desk

1. The first thing is to work out the size of the world map desk you need. As I mentioned the desk was to fit into a particular alcove. Then using a saw cut the scaffold boards to your measurements. To make the desk the size I wanted I need 3 scaffold boards for the width.
Alcove for map desk

2. Next, mark where the hairpin legs are to be fixed onto the desktop. Then fix the 3 cut scaffold boards together to make the desktop.

I used 2 wood battens cut to size and screwed across the boards. (Avoiding the area where the hairpin legs were going to be fitted.) The middle screws in the batton were screwed in at an angle.

Each batten was screwed in with 12 screws evenly spaced, four on each scaffold board.

Marking where hairpin legs go
Fixing wood battens for desktop

3. Once the top of the desk was secured. I then fixed the hairpin legs, one screw in each corner.

4. Next, stand the table right side up and sand and wax the top.

Sanding DIY table top
Waxing table top

How to fix a Map to a desk

1. First, measure the top of the desk and order a sheet of perspex to fit. I ordered perspex that was 5mm thick with pre-drilled screw holes in each corner.

2. Next, print the world map to fit the top of the desk. I used Photoshop to scale the map to the size I needed. (If you don’t have photoshop try Canva)

Unfortunately, this fell in between A0 and A1 paper size. So I got my local print shop to print the map onto A0 paper with a border.

I simply cut the map from the white border, using a rotary cutter and board.

Printed world map for desk top
Cutting out printed map to size

3. Use a glue dot in each corner to hold the world map in place on the desk. Lay the cut perspex sheet on top of the map and remove the protective film.

Removing plastic from perspex

4. Finally, finish off the world map desk by screwing the perspex sheet down, and don’t forget to add screw caps for a better finish.

Screwing in desk top
Adding screw cap
DIY world map desk

I am so pleased with how this world map desk turned out. It fits perfectly into the little alcove and the scaffold board shelves above it look great too. The map tea towel upcycled chair and map magazine holders I made go well with it too.

DIY world map desk
world map desk

We actually use this world map desk as a computer desk. To keep the desk as neat as possible we mounted the computer under the desk in a cage. So only the monitor, keyboard, and mouse need to sit on the desk.

computer mount for desk.
World map desk

I have a recently reupholstered a footstool with a map tea towel which will fit in really well with this world map desk in the study. I’ve also made a map DIY cork board which looks great above the desk.

I’ve upcycled some empty cookie tins with old maps, for some handy storage to sit on the desk. They fit in nicely with this travel-themed look.

This post featured in the A to Z of clever upcycling ideas. For more DIY furniture ideas visit the

Praca w Agencji Nieruchomości

Wednesday 24th of January 2024

Every time I read your posts, I learn something new. This one was no exception. Great job!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 25th of January 2024

Thank you.

Funtastic Friday #216 - lovemycottage

Monday 20th of May 2019

[…] favorite – Tutorial for A Custom Map Desk @ Pillar Box […]

Cara - Caradise

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

What a fab idea! I could definitely do with one as my geography is awful!! Love the hairpin legs too. Xx

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 7th of March 2019

Thank you so much. I'm kind of obsessed with vintage maps.

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[…] I’ve curated a lovely and unusual collection of vintage maps of the United States of America. All the maps are copyright free so you can download them and do what you want with them. Whether that is to hang a map gallery wall or decorate furniture with them like with this map desk. […]

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