An easy tutorial to make a vintage schoolroom-style hanging map.
Maps are a great conversation starter. And they instantly have you dreaming of places to travel. Which is why I love having this hanging world map in my room.
With the bright colors and inspiration for wanderlust, maps also make great artwork. Here’s how I turned an inexpensive paper world map into a vintage, schoolroom-style pull down map, for the perfect home decor.
A friend gave me a world map as a gift. It hung on the wall in my office for years.
One day, I realized it would be the perfect thing to fill a blank spot on my wall at home. But, I wanted something prettier than just a paper map stapled to the wall.
I decided to try to recreate something in the style of the vintage maps that I remembered from way back in my schoolroom days. This is one of those project ideas that came to me as I was trying to fall asleep one night.
Make a Vintage Schoolroom-Style Hanging World Map
- Paper map of your choice (get one that says rolled, not folded)
- White fabric for backing (slightly larger than the map in all directions)
- Iron & ironing board
- Spray adhesive
- Top board (I used a 3/4″ x 1.5″ piece of 6′ long Douglas Fir)
- Stain or paint for the board (optional)
- Screw eyes
- Staple gun
- Carpenter’s level
- Hammer & nails
1. Choose your fabric
For my project, I chose an inexpensive home decor fabric. It’s normally meant for backing drapes.
In addition to being inexpensive, it was also the widest fabric I could find. I wanted something wide enough to mount my map without a seam.
I kept the selvedge edges, and cut the length to leave about 4″ on the top and bottom.
Iron all of the wrinkles out of your fabric before starting the rest of the project.
2. Finish the bottom edge of the fabric
To make a clean bottom edge that won’t fray, fold about 3/4″ of fabric to the back side. Then fold it over again, so the raw edge is completely enclosed.
Use an iron to press the seam in place.
I used a sewing machine to stitch down the hem. You could probably also use the spray adhesive that I use later in the project.
If you use a sewing machine like I did, stitch as close as you can to the inner edge of your fold.
3. Mark your map placement on the fabric
Needing a big open space to work, I laid my project out on the kitchen floor. Make sure you have plenty of room to work as well.
Lay the fabric out, and then center your map on top. I used a ruler and light pencil marks to help me place the map precisely.
Measure in a couple spots along each edge, to help make sure everything is straight.
4. Glue the map to the fabric
Once I had my map perfectly placed, as described in Step 3, I didn’t want to move it to apply the glue. So, I knelt on top of it.
First, I rolled back half of the map and sprayed it with spray adhesive. I rolled it back into place, and smoothed it down with my hands.
Then, I switched sides and glued down the other half. This worked perfectly for keeping the map positioned where I wanted it while applying the glue.
I lightly wiped off any overspray from the map and fabric with a damp sponge. (Be careful not to get the paper too wet!)
The corners, and a few spots along the edges needed more glue later. To keep the glue where I wanted it, I spray a little into a bowl, and applied it with a brush.
5. Cut the top board to size
Cut your board to the same width as the fabric. (I actually made mine a tiny bit wider, by about 1/2″.)
Lightly sand the cut end of the board.
6. Stain the top board
I chose to apply a coat of stain to my board, to create a more finished look. Also, the light color of the raw wood didn’t stand out from the white fabric.
7. Install screw eyes
Drill two small holes in the top edge of the board, about 6″ from each end.
Be sure to use a bit that is slightly smaller than your screw eyes.
Then, simply install the screw eyes into the holes. These will be how you hang the map on the wall.
For a little better leverage, you can insert a tiny screwdriver or other small tool through the screw eye, and use it to help you turn it farther.
8. Attach fabric to the board
Flip your board so the front side is face down. Align the top edge of the fabric to the top edge of the back of the board.
Use your staple gun to attach the fabric to the board at about 8″ intervals, being careful to keep everything straight and pulled tight.
9. Hang map on the wall
Hold the map up against the wall, and adjust it until it’s where you want it. Make a mark at the position of one of the screw eyes. Tap a nail into the wall at that position, and hang one end of the map.
To make sure you hang it straight, set a bubble level on the top board. Adjust the other end of the board until it’s level. Mark where the nail should go through the screw eye.
Now just tap another nail into the wall at this spot. Place the screw eyes onto both nails to hang your map.
Here’s the finished result. A pretty, yet inexpensive schoolroom-style hanging map.
Want more DIY artwork ideas? Here’s some more of my projects to see:
- Upcycled Dog Sign
- How to Create a Silhouette
- Pouring Paint Canvas Wall Art
- DIY House Number Sign
- Washi Tape Artwork