diy project: travel map correspondence set

With the rush of technological methods helping us find our way, paper maps and Thomas Guides are quickly becoming obsolete, but their contouring graphics will always remain timeless. Use your dusty glove-compartment maps to make travel-inspired stationery for some good old-fashioned correspondence. A simple dividing line, address and stamp transform a map-backed note card into a postcard ready for the mail. Make sure you mark your current location on the map with a hand-sewn star. Use the lined envelopes for the map-backed cards or your personal stationery, as the fully lined flap will add impact to any ordinary envelope. Either way, you will make someone’s day with a bit of handwriting and a good dose of nostalgia. — Brenna

Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • old maps or map-printed paper
  • plain colored cardstock
  • envelopes
  • scrap chipboard or dense cardboard
  • glue stick
  • X-Acto knife
  • scissors
  • pencil or pen
  • needle and thread
  • scorer or straight edge


For the map postcards:

A simple division line turns this map-backed note card into a mail-able postcard.

1. Cut the cardstock to fit into your envelope. A quarter of an inch smaller on each side usually does the trick.

2. Cut a piece of map paper 1 inch larger than the card on each side. For example, if your card is a size A2 (4 1/4 x 5 1/2), cut the map paper to 5 1/4 x 6 1/2.

3. On the unprinted side of the map paper, use the scorer or straight edge to score 1/2 inch from the edge on each side, and fold in toward the unprinted side.

4. Cut out the little squares that are made from the folding at each corner.

5. If you plan to mark your location with a hand-sewn star or other symbol, do it now.

6. On the long sides of the map paper, fold the corners in to make a 45-degree angle on both the top and bottom. This will make clean mitered corners.

7. Put a small amount of glue on the back of the card. Place it inside of the folded map paper. Starting with the short (unfolded) sides, fold the flaps of map paper onto the card, and use the glue stick to adhere. Repeat with the long sides.

8. Apply pressure to the card until the glue sets.

For the lined envelopes:

1. Make a template: Open the flap of the envelope and trace around the entire envelope onto the piece of scrap cardboard.

2. With scissors, cut the shape out, staying about 1/8 of an inch inside the traced lines so that it will fit inside the envelope.

3. Use this template to cut out the liners for the envelopes.

4. Once you have a liner cut, make sure it fits inside the envelope.

5. Match the edges of the map paper to the edges of the envelope flap. Fold the envelope closed to make sure there is enough wiggle room at the bottom of the liner. You may need to trim a bit if the liner bows up.

6. Moisten the envelope adhesive to adhere the envelope flap to the map paper.

7. Use the glue stick directly on the map paper to reapply the glue to the envelope flap. Let dry completely.

8. When you are ready to use the envelope, just moisten the glue stick and adhere! (If you are licking the glue portion, make certain the glue stick is non-toxic; otherwise, use a sponge.)

  1. Molly Cooper says:

    Oh my! I am absolutely enamored with maps and using them for art purposes. What a lovely post, and such a great idea! Also, SUCH a great way to achieve clean mitered corners, the way I learned to do it is way more complicated. Yay! Thank you!

  2. Ana says:

    I love it! It’s really cool to send your own things to your friends!

  3. Melody says:

    Love this! thanks for the tutorial!

  4. Krystina says:

    Oh my goodness!! I am loving all things map related right now and this definitely adds to my current obsession! I may not be cooking anywhere as exciting as Rome any time soon but these are adorable enough I’m not sure it matters where I vacation!

  5. Kelly says:

    Love this. I am doing something similar for my wedding and have actually bought envelope liner templates from Paper Source which is brill! Highly recommend it. I got sucked in and bought the envelope making template too – ooppss!

  6. Emma says:

    so cute! love the surprise map inside the envelope especially.

  7. Been looking for ways to use maps beautifully. :) thank you!

  8. For years, I have been using old maps to wrap small gifts for my flight attendant friends. Quick & easy.

  9. Katie says:

    This is so great, thanks for the idea! xo

  10. C´moi says:

    Love this idea! Thank you for the inspiration! :)

  11. Craig says:

    This is absolutely awesome. Such a sharp idea. Perfect customisation. Recipients would love it!

  12. Becky Smith says:

    I especially love the envelopes. What a lovely surprise to open one.

  13. Kiki says:

    I have been doing that for years (decades!!) with old calendars, large prints, road maps, recipes….. the list is endless – add other ‘natural’ ingredients like rose petals to a congratulation card for a birth, sunflower seeds for a gardener friend, feathers to a friend with chickens….
    wonderfully explained, lovely, and crafty!
    Thank you :)

  14. Alicia says:

    This is an amazing idea – thanks so much for the how-to! What a great touch to correspondence. @Sue using maps as gift wrap is a cool idea too!

  15. Sonya says:

    Im gonna try this. Look really cool.

  16. Claire says:

    Love it! Will make it when I next write a letter to my friend :)

  17. John U says:

    Awesome idea. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Pascal says:

    Wow.__what a great idea.! thank u for ur sharing.!

  19. Edla says:

    what i really like in yours works is that i’m a cartographer. i love to sse what u do with old maps

  20. I love this DIY! It made a perfect present for a friend who is going traveling… here is how mine turned out…

    And of course I have linked back to this post :)

    Thank you!

    Love, love

  21. LaTourStudio says:

    What could be better than the love of maps and snail mail, together in a DIY project?
    I have been saving old atlases to make greeting cards and other stationery gifts, the possibilities are endless.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.