diy project: recycled road map cork board

A recent house clean-out yielded many items we had a hard time parting with, even though their very existence has become obsolete in the last few years. One of the most noticeable of the bunch: road maps. As our ever-advancing phones and computers take over our lives, we find what was once useful is now trash, yet we couldn’t part with these beautiful maps! They reminded us of our childhood road trips and later travels throughout Europe.

This month, we turned our junk into art and created these recycled cork board maps. We thought it would be an amazing project for a kids’ room to re-create the entire US using a road atlas. We didn’t get that far, but here is the beginning. — bbbcraft sisters

The full project instructions continue after the jump . . .


  • old maps or a Rand McNally road atlas
  • spray mount
  • scissors
  • X-Acto knife
  • cork squares or cork roll (depending on the size of the project)
  • painter’s tape, optional (for low-impact hanging)
  • double-stick foam tape, optional (for low-impact hanging)
  • pins and/or string to highlight important locations on the map


1. Cut out the state, city or country that you want to mount. You can freehand this, or print out and enlarge the outline of the state and trace it on to the back of the map.

2. Spay the back with spray mount and mount onto cork board. Our Michigan map was a bit too small for the cork squares, so we had to add a tiny piece of cork at the top of the state.

3. Begin cutting out the cork board to follow the outline of the map. Michigan, which has water on almost all sides, proved a bit harder than we had hoped. Something like Nevada might be easier!

4. Clean up the difficult peninsulas and islands with your X-Acto knife. If you find it easier and more precise, you could also use the knife to cut out the entire map.

5. To hang the map, we used our low-impact hanging method. Apply blue painter’s tape (which is easy to remove from most surfaces) to the back of the cork map as well as the wall on which you wish to hang the map.

6. On top of the blue painter’s tape attached to the wall, apply double-stick foam tape.

7. Attach the map to the double-stick tape on the wall. Voila! You will be able to remove or move the map at any time.

8. Using stick pins, embroidery thread or string, mark the places you love and have visited on your map.

  1. Emily says:

    Maps are far from obsolete!

  2. dls says:

    I love Michigan, maps and this project! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kaitlin says:

    I live in Michigan and my Dad made this exact same project for my grandfather’s birthday when I was younger. Awesome!

    Also, I want this tacked to the inside of my car for when I get lost. :^D

  4. Jenifer says:

    I love this. Especially b/c it’s my beloved home state. I think I’m going to try this!
    For those who are confuses with the missing piece:
    The Michigan state road map cant fit the whole state on one sheet so they created a smaller inset for the west side of ‘Da U.P’.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Love this. Especially as an MI resident. And the easy way to hang stuff with painter’s tape is brilliant! Thanks. :)

  6. to Laura at #1, sometimes, an old map should be thrown right away. don’t continue cluttering. unless you can proove that you intend to make something out of it.

  7. That is an awesome idea for recycling old maps! A lovely way to decorate and keep from throwing them in the trash. Great idea!

  8. Jessica says:

    ThIs Michigander is in love! Great idea!

  9. Julie says:

    ooh!! now I’m on a hunt for a roadmap for sure!!

  10. Amy says:

    Yup – like the project, but hate the you left off part of the state, makes the whole thing look incomplete. Maybe you should bring your tourist money to this area and see the wonderful things we have to offer, then you would hesitate to leave it out ever again!

  11. I did this craft tonight. It was fun but taxing. I live in Kentucky so naturally I choose it. It was very time consuming to cut out but I love the final project! You can visit my facebook album and check it out!

  12. Victoria says:

    Stopping at Michael’s on my way home from work to pick up some corks and adhesive! I have a kitchen wall screaming for a fun map. Thanks D*S!

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      awesome! good luck with your project victoria :)


  13. Beth G. says:

    I love this! I’m from Michigan as well, and it looks like a pin is in my sweet little piece of heaven, St. Joseph in the SW Corner! I’ve been looking for an awesome project for my son’s dorm room, and I think this is it!

  14. ashley says:

    My suggestion would be to spray mount the map FIRST then cut around so you’re not cutting out an intricate map twice. IT will also help your edges adhere better

  15. becky s. says:

    i made this for my best friend for her birthday. it was fun and easy, though took more time that i originally thought. i did the city of philadelphia instead of pennsylvania. it was crazy hard because philly is bound by two twisting waterways. i suggest spraying the cork board AND back of the map. i had to resprav several times to get it to firmly adhere. overall, it turned out great! i’m jealous of her now so i’m making one for myself. :)

  16. abby says:

    Fun project! It would be great to see the rest of the UP, but more than that, I’m ecstatic that my hometown St. Joseph has a pin!

  17. Preston R. says:

    Found this via Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. I went with foam board rather than cork because there aren’t really any hobby stores in the town where I live now. The finished project looks great and definitely adds character to what once was a boring brown wall. Great project! Thank you!

  18. That’s a great idea to use cork recycled like that. Article like this are inspiring to the eco friendly people among us,

  19. Jennifer Michigander in Belgium says:

    I just checked my AAA Michigan map I would need a minimum of three copies to get the entire state on- bothe the upper and lower peninsulas have chopped up parts

  20. Amanda Whitmarsh says:

    How much weight can the tape combo hold? Small picture frame?

  21. This whole project is amazing! But even if I only walked away with your blue paint tape trick, I would be thrilled! Duh! Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

  22. Emily says:

    I see it looks like you pinned St. Joseph. I’m from there! Hope you enjoyed your visit :)

    And awesome tutorial, of course. :)

  23. Steph says:

    I made a version of this for my friend as a going away present (She is studying abroad for 5 months in Australia). I used your tutorial to make the initial state cut-out, I did Massachusetts though because that is where we are from! But instead of just using the map I made a collage of pictures! I gave it to her and said, “So you have a little piece of home while you are away”. It cams out so wonderfully and she loved it!

  24. bea says:

    is it difficult to cut clean edges on curves? i have a ton of 3/4″ cork left over but i’m wondering if it’ll be too difficult to cut cleanly….

  25. Ciara summers says:

    Would laminating the map before you attach it to the cork work better?

  26. Celsie says:

    One of my close friends asked for this for Christmas, and I am having a REALLY hard time getting the map to stay on the cork! I’ve resprayed and remounted 4 times now, but it just keeps peeling off. :( Any tips? Thanks! :)

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      i’d break out the gorilla glue :)


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