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How to Make a Map Wall Hanging

Updated on March 24, 2015
Finished Product of Map Art on Wood
Finished Product of Map Art on Wood | Source


  • Wooden Pallet
  • Screws
  • Electric Drill
  • Hammers
  • Adhesive Spray, Scotch Super 77 - Multi-Purpose Adhesive
  • Xacto Knife or Sharp Blade
  • Candle
  • Lighter
  • Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover Gloss Clear

Quick Overview

  1. Destruct Pallet
  2. Screw boards together
  3. Trim and burn map edges
  4. Adhere map to board
  5. Trim map between boards

How to make your own Map Art

Art work can become very expensive quickly. Even making your own art can take a chunk out of your wallet. Finding the right inexpensive materials, along with a project that is big enough to make an impact on a room, are both key. Find out how to make your own map artwork just like the picture above that is one of a kind!

The first order of business is to gather materials. Ask for a pallet at the local grocery or hardware store. Anywhere that has large shipments will have these available. Most companies ship the pallets back to be reused for the next shipment, while others hand them out like hot cakes. Once you have your wooden pallet, make your map purchase. This can be your at your own preference. The map that I used for this project was purchased at a travel store in Regensburg, Germany. There are countless maps for sale online or create your map with paint on large paper. My map is titled Modern World Antique Map by Rayworld Company. The size measures to 136 cm by 92 cm. Any size will work as long as you have enough pallet wood to cover behind the map.

The hard part is next. Take apart the wooden pallet. I had help from my husband because these pallets are tough. Pallets are made to hold hundreds of pounds for shipping goods. This means that they are incredibly sturdy and made to last. We found it easiest to use two hammers, one for wedging between the boards and one for hitting the wedged hammer. Then pry the boards apart. Splitting of the boards may occur during this step. It happened to us frequently, but we found it to add even more characteristics to the look of the piece. Be sure to save all pieces of the pallet.

Tip 1: If you own a hacksaw, you may also just cut the nails off. Be sure to take the necessary precautions while using the saw.

The oddly-shaped pieces from the middle of the pallet are perfect for the back side of the boards. We placed one board on both the top and bottom to make sure the pallet boards stayed sturdy on the wall. After laying down the two boards, lay the normal boards across them. We kept a straight line across and placed them as close as possible. Feel free to stagger them and add space. The boards were naturally curved, rough and irregular. This was perfect for the look we wanted to achieve. Drill the screws till they are flush with the front. Having screws that are long enough to go through both boards but not stick out the back are key. We don’t want to the tips to stick out because it could hurt someone.

After the boards are all completely secured, switch over to map mode. Cut the map’s edges in a curved shape. I cut into places that didn’t have as much detail. Cutting the map before burning the edges will allow you to make the shapes that you want. The flame doesn’t take too much off of the paper at a time, so it would take longer if you don’t trim first. The next step will need to be done outside. Light a candle and watch it burn. Well maybe you shouldn’t do that, but do light a candle. Place the flame to the edge. There will be light gray ashes that will flake off after burning. Burn until you get your desired shape.

Tip 2: Paint the edges with thin black acrylic paint if you want and even more burnt look. We decided we liked the look without the paint.

Lay the map out exactly how you would like it to look after being glued. Peel back the map so it is folded in half and spray the wood heavily with spray adhesive. Next spray the back of the map making sure all edges are covered. It will be easier if you have someone hold up the map for you while someone else sprays. Fold down the map by pressing from the middle out. This will ensure there are no air bubbles in the middle. Do the same for the other side. Let that dry for approximately 20 minutes or for the spray adhesive’s recommended time.

The project is almost complete. Place your Xacto knife at the start of the map, against the board. Use the board as a guide. Slightly press the blade into the board without cutting it to achieve a clean line. As I stated before, these boards will not be straight. Be sure to cut along both sides of the gap. Pull out any paper that has squeezed between the boards.

Finally spray the map and board with a final coat of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Gloss Clear. It will seal up the map, protect it from the elements and hold it all together through time.

Now all is left is to hang the map and show it off to friends! Be sure to post pictures of your map wall art below and comment with any questions or problems you may come across!

Carefully take apart the pallet. Nails are hidden throughout.
Carefully take apart the pallet. Nails are hidden throughout. | Source
Lay the boards out on top of the two boards that will be holding it together.
Lay the boards out on top of the two boards that will be holding it together. | Source
Drill the screws into place.
Drill the screws into place. | Source
The backside will look like this after being put together.
The backside will look like this after being put together. | Source
Trim unwanted map border.
Trim unwanted map border. | Source
Place flame to edge of map.
Place flame to edge of map. | Source
Allow it to burn anything unwanted.
Allow it to burn anything unwanted. | Source
Keep blade flush with board.
Keep blade flush with board. | Source


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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Wow, that's gorgeous! Impressive.