Summer Making Series ~ DIY Vintage Map Art (video tutorial)

Don’t you love it when your home is decorated with things that not only look good, but have an actual purpose? That’s what this map/art project delivers ~ beauty and function. The first thing you need is a map of a favorite family destination…


Our June camping trip in the Shenandoah mountains…happy faces in happy places!

We love riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, and exploring the surrounding areas. Who doesn’t, right?! These places are close to home, which means we get to explore more often. It also means the maps of these areas have been stuck to our wall – just. like. so.
IMG_5301I know… that’s some serious interior design skills right there. ; ) Good thing I’m not in the running for any competitions. Sometimes it just is what it is and we call it good ’nuff. 

However, when I can make something a little prettier affordably, I’m all in. I wondered if we could give them a makeover… maybe a wooden foundation… some Mod Podge… a little antiquing and distressing???

Well, we did it. We’re happy with the results, and creating them together makes them extra special.


Nice improvement, don’t ya think? Now if I could just get to painting that dated woodwork – one day…maybe.

We decided to only lightly antique this map of the Appalachian Trail. It’s also tinted, with wrinkles here & there. It looks authentically, slightly aged, even though it’s not as apparent in the picture.


If you’d like to give this a try, all the details are below. There are free maps available just about everywhere! We picked up the 2 that we used (one of the Blue Ridge Parkway and one of Shenandoah) at a visitor information center. We bought the map of the Appalachian Trail there for $4.

It’s so easy to find maps online as well. Here’s a link for maps of national parks. Here’s one for state maps. No need to limit yourself though – another country would be COOL. If you need to adjust the size, take it (or email it) to a FedEx store. They can enlarge and/or print it for you, super cheap.

Vintage Map Art Supply List:

  • Any map
  • Wood (cut slightly larger than your map) *Lowes will cut your wood for you if necessary*
  • Matte Mod Podge
  • Any color paint for the base coat (we used black)
  • Dark brown acrylic paint
  • Tan acrylic paint
  • Antique Mod Podge (we mixed our own using 1 cup of the regular Mod Podge + 1/4 cup of water + 1 Tbsp *each* of dark brown & tan acrylic paint. TEST on newspaper first and adjust if necessary)
  • 2 Foam brushes
  • A blunt tool (such as a butter knife) for distressing the edges of the map
  • Sandpaper
  • Container of water
  • Rags
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clear, matte sealer (spray)

Vintage Map Art Instructions:

  1. Measure & cut the wood to size, then sand any rough edges.
  2. Apply 2 coats of your base color to the wood and let dry.
  3. Use a foam brush to apply a coat of Mod Podge.
  4. Carefully position the map just above the wood before letting it touch. Begin pressing/smoothing down in the center and working your way out. Let this dry for a few hours. *There will be lots of air bubbles, but no worries – this adds to the vintage look we’re going for.
  5. Add a top coat of Mod Podge and let dry.
  6. Mix the Antique Mod Podge. *See recipe above. Test on newspaper, then apply a coat over the entire map. (Be sure to make enough for your entire project – we completed (3) 10″ X 4′-ish projects and had some left-over.
  7. While this coat is still wet, use your finger to rub dark brown paint along all edges of the map. Use water and a rag to blend, giving an authentic aged look.
  8. Use a blunt tool (such as a butter knife) to lift/tear the edges of the map in several places.
  9. Apply a 2nd coat of the antique Mod Podge.
  10. Use a wet rag and a bit of rubbing alcohol to “wear away” the Mod Podge in various areas.
  11. Sand the edges of the wood in various places to expose the raw wood where it might naturally occur – especially corners.
  12. Spray the entire map with a clear, matte sealer – giving it a uniform, dull finish.

If you’d like to watch us make ours, here ya go…

I’d LOVE to see the creative touches you put on this project to make it your own!

See ya later, friends ~ Jamie = )



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