DIYdiy projects

diy project: recycled road map cork board

by The BBB Craft Sisters

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.

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  • 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

  • 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’.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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. :)

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

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

    And awesome tutorial, of course. :)

  • 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!

  • 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….

  • 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! :)

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