Repurposed Worlds: 15 Cool DIY Ideas Using Old Maps

In a world filled with super fancy GPS machines built right into the dashboards of our cars or Google Maps featured right on the home screens of our cell phones, not many people seem to use actual physical maps anymore. We’ve always loved traveling, however, and we’ve been doing it since long before every member of our family had a smartphone in their hand. One day we looked in our closet and realized we had a whole box of maps sitting there not being used anymore and we started wondering what to do with them, since we clearly don’t need them to navigate anymore. That’s where our DIY skills came in to save the day!

Check out these 15 awesome crafting and DIY projects that upcycle and repurpose old maps in all kinds of creative and extra fun ways.

1. Map and PVC pipe wine rack

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Do you love hosting guests for dinner almost as much as you love traveling? Perhaps you’re a wine collector along with being a traveling enthusiast and you’re always looking for ways to merge your two loves beyond just visiting wine tours? Then check out this adorably rounded wine rack by Brit + Co.! They used decoupage techniques to cover the outside of PVC pipe (or cardboard tubing, depending on what you have) sections to make a super creative design.

2. Map decoupage serving tray

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Are you a big fan of serving tea to your friends the old fashioned way- on a tray with a nice setting so that you can enjoy the afternoon chatting together over steaming mugs? Then you’re probably a big fan of novelty trays to bring everything in on too. In that case, check out how Ana Desgins decoupaged an old map to the bottom of a clear plastic tray so that the streets, parks, and so on show through and can be seen from the top.

3. Pinpoint travel map

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Perhaps the map you found in the back of your closet was a map of the world and you’d kind of like to actually use it as a map rather than upcycling it too drastically, but you’re not really sure how to do so? Well, Lovely Indeed has an idea that might just give you some direction (pun fully intended). Grab some cute, brightly coloured push pins (or make your own; you’re a crafter, after all) and start making a list of all the cool places you’ve visited in the world! Making yourself a pin point map can document the travels you’ve already had and help you plan out the travels that are still coming your way.

4. City map iPhone case

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Do you have a tourist’s map of your very favourite city lying around that you’d like to preserve in a more creative way than just stuffing it into a keepsake box and letting it sit there for years? Then try turning it into a phone case instead! Journeys shows you how to decoupage a pieces of the map featuring the city’s title into a clear phone case so the whole world can see the place you love most on the back of your phone as you text.

5. Map inspired place settings

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Do you love traveling so much that you just can’t help but sharing your love for the whole world with everyone you host or invite over as a guest? Then you might as well include a good map theme right into your dinner tablescape! Smile and Wave suggests doing so by making your very own place mats, which are much easier to do than you might think. We love the way they made matching little map place cards too!

6. Map decoupage Jenga key chain

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What’s better than a DIY project that upcycles on thing? One that upcycles two things, of course! Those are our favourite kinds of repurposing projects, so we were naturally pretty enthusiastic about these adorable map decoupaged key chains made with old Jenga game pieces. Sarah Ortega guides you through the simple process of making your very own version.

7. Old map candle votives

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Have you ever made yourself pretty paper candle votives and very much enjoyed it, but you feel like you might have made absolutely all of the paper votive designs you can possibly think of? Well, Arrow + Apple begs to differ and their tutorial will tell you why. If you’ve never tried making a pretty votive with a map, letting a place that you love or perhaps that you’d love to visit glow warmly.

8. Simple map coasters

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Do you love the idea of including subtle little hints about your love for travel all over your house, but in the form of little pieces rather than, say, pasting an entire wall with a map like it’s wallpaper? Then check out these adorable little coasters featured on Martha Stewart. Like many of the things you’ll make out of maps and other paper products, all you’ll need here are your basic decoupaging skills.

9. Map covered keepsake boxes

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Are you a nostalgic person who absolutely loves keeping little trinkets from all the places you’ve traveled and visited so you can remember how happy you were at each time and how much you enjoyed each place? Then you’ll need a safe (and, of course, totally cute) place to keep everything you’ve collected! Check out how Wear the Canvas made these cute map-covered keepsake boxes from old maps.

10. Map pendant necklace

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Is there one specific place that holds onto your heart, even though you’re not always there? Then perhaps you might like a way to keep that place with you all the time so you can be reminded of how much you love it and how happy you are there! If you’ve ever crafted with resin then you might have already thought of this, but just in case, here’s an absolutely stunning necklace pendant idea from Pork & Periwinkle that will let you wear a piece of the map of your favourite place any time you please!

11. Map hacked canvas shoes

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Covering an old pair of shoes with maps might not sound like a very long-wearing idea, but if you take a look at this tutorial from Something Monumental you’ll see that there actually are ways to make maps and fashion work together beyond just jewelry! Besides being another creative way to show people that you simply adore travel, these are a kitschy statement piece that will make you look unique in a crowd.

12. Map scale pendant light

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Pendant lights are always fun and if you’ve ever seen scaled pendant lights than you already know just how much fun they can be, both to see and make. There are all kinds of styles and designs you can make the “scales” with, but one of our very favourite ideas is this map lamp by Paisley Sprouts. Think about how cute it would look in a nursery! It’s never too early to start learning geography, right?

13. Map covered side table

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Remember when we said we absolutely adore projects that upcycle more than one thing at once in order to make one new and totally stylish thing? Well, just in case our last example didn’t quite do it for you, here’s another idea that we think you’ll like! Poppytalk guides you through the process of creating a brand new travel themed side table from an old, plain one and those trusty old maps.

14. Paper fans made with maps

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Are you planning a beautiful travel themed wedding with your favourite travel buddy ever and you’d like to have it in the summer? Well, we don’t know many people who will say no to a summer celebration, but we do know how hot summer parties can get, even at night. Try making yourself these adorable paper fans that, while they can be made with just about any kind of paper, will look absolutely perfect with your theme and décor if you make them with fans. Check the whole idea out on Wedding Bells!

15. DIY decorative map tape

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Have you always been a big fan of not just gift wrapping, but going all out and actually decorating your gifts? Then we have a feeling that the travel bugs in your life will really enjoy this cute idea from Mkatsafar! Their tutorial teaches you how to turn nice, even strips of old maps into tape that will jazz up any gift or match the occasion if you’re giving family souvenirs from your last vacation!

Have you created other awesome DIY projects from old maps that you don’t see here on our list, but that you very much enjoyed making? Tell us about how you did them or share pictures of your work in the comments section!

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