Mapstravaganza!! 9 Things to Do with Your Old Maps

Maps are so awesome. They have a certain romance to them; when you unfold them there is so much potential and possibility. You can pore over them, planning out potential roots and connecting the dots between places. Plus, they are just really pretty.

I don’t have a house, but I often like to dream about what it would look like if I did. Of course it would have all of the random tablecloths, paintings and knick knacks I’ve collected from around the world (currently gathering dust in a box at my Mom’s house) and lots of photos of all my travels. An maps, lots of maps. Honestly, the place would probably look like a World Market exploded inside of it.

Be that as it may, I must carry on with my dream decorating schemes and I thought I’d share them with people who might potentially actually use some of these ideas. So using pinterest, I’ve started putting together a whole slew of ideas for cool maps, cool map related things (like bikinis) and neat ideas to put your old maps to use.

Here are just some of the things crafty people on the internet have taught me to do with my old maps:

1. Make  Map Coasters:

With just four simple steps, some plain coasters and some old maps you can have a stylish place to put your drinks AND prevent water rings!


2. Turn them into Envelopes

Handwritten letters, like maps, are quickly becoming antiquated. Fight the power and make some lovely envelopes to send to likeminded friends.


image cc: Poppytalk

3. Fold Them Up

Maps are paper right? So practice your origami skills and make a map globe garland.

4. Frame Them

Either by themselves or make neat picture frames like Tara did here.

5. Frame Them Part 2

In this case the maps are the focus, I love this idea.

6. Frame Them Part 3

Is that cheating? There are just so many cool ways to integrate your maps and picture frames! This one uses the maps as photo-mats.

7. Make Magnets:

Maybe this worked better for map puzzle pieces, but the effect is still neat.

8. Decoupage just about anything

Literally anything with flat non-porous surfaces: Chairs, tables, walls, whatever you’ve got lying around uncovered.

9. Make a dress??

Not exactly a how-to, but if you are creative enough to pull this off I bow at your feet.

What else can you do with your old maps? I’m sure you guys have some creative ideas. Share them below! And, if you’re on pinterest, check out my board, Mapstravaganza for some more map-related inspiration.

Pinterest- Maps

27 Responses to Mapstravaganza!! 9 Things to Do with Your Old Maps

  1. John of Travel Rinse Repeat April 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM #

    My sister loves maps and has them hanging all over her apartment. She has many more stored away – many of these seem like great ideas for her!

  2. Christine April 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM #

    I had a travel-themed bathroom when I was living in Silicon Valley–a world map hung on the wall with different-colored pins for where I’d been and where I wanted to go (I’d have so many more pins to hang now!) and I had a clear shower curtain with pockets that I put all sorts of different postcards in. So fun–love all of these ideas, I’m going to have such a map-themed house one day!

    • Beverley | Pack Your Passport April 14, 2012 at 7:46 AM #

      Christine; consider yourself officially Head Decorator when Mark and I finally make it back to England and ‘settle down.’ I want maps everywhere!!

  3. Dana - Our Wanderlust April 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM #

    I love decorating with maps! I have a bathroom full now… but we’ll see where they end up! {Although I don’t really own/use a lot of paper maps anymore…}

  4. Scott April 11, 2012 at 1:33 PM #

    Totally with you on the map love. I can never throw away the maps I get of a city from the hostel, they become so important during those days in a city that it would be like throwing away a friend or something. I keep them, and plan to make some collage or some of the above one day, but not that dress.

  5. Julia April 11, 2012 at 6:08 PM #

    I use them as wrapping paper.
    PS: if you use them next to photos, keep in mind that they are not acid free.

  6. Alouise April 11, 2012 at 7:15 PM #

    These are some really creative ideas. I love the envelope idea. It’s so simple but something I would have never thought of. That dress is quite something. You definitely wouldn’t have to worry about someone else wearing the same dress as you if you had that dress.

    I have a friend who takes old maps and makes them into covers for journals. I have one with an old map of Mexico and California and it looks really neat.

  7. Darlene April 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM #

    tear them randomly and apply as wallpaper. I have not done this myself, but plan to someday. I am collecting old road maps to that end.

  8. Andrea April 12, 2012 at 12:02 AM #

    I love the idea of decorating with maps too! I actually made envelopes out of maps for my wedding invitations–everyone loved it! But even more than maps, I am obsessed with globes! I especially like antique globes where the country lines and names are different. Thanks for the fun post!

  9. Alexandra April 12, 2012 at 4:28 AM #

    Like Scott I never throw away the maps I use on my travels. Instead I glue them into my journal. Thanks for the inspiration for a few new uses for them when I get a home base again 😉 until than like you they are in a box at my fathers house.

  10. Cristina (@thetravolution) April 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM #

    What an awesome idea! I can’t tell you how many of them I have! I like the coaster ideas that way guests can enjoy them with me and they’ll make great conversation starters!

  11. Scholastica Travel (@ScholasticaInc) April 12, 2012 at 1:52 PM #

    Great post and pinterest board! You can see our board here:

  12. Amanda April 12, 2012 at 2:58 PM #

    I love maps, too! I think it must be a traveler thing…

    My shower curtain is a giant world map, which I love. And I have a huge world map on my living room wall, and a huge U.S. map on by bedroom wall – both full of pins of the places I’ve visited!

  13. Camels & Chocolate April 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM #

    Scott and I have 30+ antique globes and more than a dozen vintage maps we’ve collected in our travels, so I loved when you created your Pinterest board as that’s what a good 80% of my “future home” board is, as well. Repinned, repinned and repinned! 😉

  14. Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D April 12, 2012 at 3:35 PM #

    Fun ideas!
    We made a road-trip inspired garland and hung it from our mantel.

    All the best,
    ~ Dana
    Cooking at Cafe D

  15. Jaclyn April 12, 2012 at 9:45 PM #

    I love these ideas! I have a huge framed map with pins of all the places I’ve been and would love to decorate more with them. I think I would have a hard time cutting the maps up! lol

    • joe poop May 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM #

      try scissors jaclyn!

  16. Renee April 20, 2012 at 6:51 PM #

    My grandmother used maps as wallpaper and covered a whole room. It was ridiculously awesome. I have a map board on pinterest too! I’m headed over there now to follow yours.

  17. Jim O'Donnell April 23, 2012 at 2:14 PM #

    These are fabulous ideas! One thing I did with a bunch of old maps was to glue them to my office floor then put a protective clear coat over them. It has worked very well. There are one or two small nicks but overall they have held up very well. Its a very inspirational space to enter.

  18. Rifat Rahn April 25, 2012 at 7:32 AM #

    wow all are great idea. I will convert this idea to some unique stuff

  19. JoAnna April 30, 2012 at 1:31 PM #

    I have antique maps framed and on my office walls. Also, I’m one of those people who is smitten for handwritten letters (I have a whole blog dedicated to this). Write to me and I’ll write back!

  20. joe poop May 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM #

    divide into your own borders of how you think the borders should be

  21. JeannieGuzman July 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM #

    Now I know what we can do with all of our old National Geographic Maps, that can often be bought for pennies at thrift stores or libraries!

    GREAT IDEA! Many, many thanks!

  22. Treasures By Brenda April 23, 2013 at 3:11 PM #

    LOVE these ideas & off to pin your post to Pinterest.

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