DIY World Map Art on Wood

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There is something timeless about world map art, don’t you think? From the first decades until now, seeing world map art doesn’t get old. I’ve always wanted a really neat piece of art work with a globe or world map. I decided to create my own rather than buy one new because, well, I love to DIY of course. But even if I didn’t like to DIY, as long as you have a great world map stencil, anyone can do this.  No joke, my kids could do this! Let me share with you how I created my own DIY world map art with just a few materials.

World Map Art on Wood

Before I dive into creating a project, I make sure I know where I’m going with it first. In other words, I always have a piece of inspiration to help guide me! Let me share with you my “inspiration” for this project.

World Map art

You can find the print above HERE- full disclosure, it’s over $150!

Isn’t it pretty? I love the gold antique accents.

How to create your own DIY world map art

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase from one of these links I will receive a small commission but you won’t pay any more for the product.

First lets gather materials:

  • wood or canvas of your choice. I used a piece of natural maple plywood (1/4 by 2′ by 4′)I purchased at our hardware store and I had them cut it to save time.

If you would rather not use a stencil, you can find a really cool decal that you can stick onto a wood or canvas board like the one I’ll share below.

  • Spray Paint- color of your choice. I chose to use the spray paint below.     

The sea glass spray paint is amazing! I love how it gives a soft greenish hue. The gold leaf spray paint is best too! In my opinion it’s the easiest way to add a little “gold leaf” without all the trouble of real gold leaf.

DIY World map art

Like I said, I purchased this natural maple board at the local hardware store. I did have them cut it to the dimensions to fit my world map stencil.

DIY world map art
DIY world map art

The first thing I did was add the painters tape around the edges to create a “border.” 

DIY world map art

I used this stain to create a rustic finish around the wood. 

After I added the stain around the border of the world map art, I added a little white wash to the middle.

DIY world map art

Next I needed to tape around the white wash and the border so I could add a little gold accent.

DIY world map art
DIY world map art

At this point I wasn’t real happy with the way the gold spray paint blended with the outside border weathered oak stain. I decided it might be best to use a paint pen and outline the borders. 

DIY world map art

I used a ruler and slowly started outlining around the gold spray paint with a black paint pen. 

Here we are, with the outlined border, and I wasn’t happy with it.

Tell me I’m not the only one who starts a project with a fabulous vision of how it will turn out, only to realize the actual project isn’t anything that you envisioned or thought it would be.

Blah, back to the drawing board.

I almost didn’t share with y’all the “DIY fail border” above but then I thought, “this is part of the process.”

Honestly, about 40% of the time I start a project I have to “regroup” in the middle of it because I’m not happy with the direction it’s going. You can see an earlier post where I shared all about how I overcame a DIY fail and learned to fix it.

It’s all part of the creative DIY process right?  That’s what I tell myself at least.

Learning and creating sometimes means making mistakes, and I like to make LOTS of them! LOL.

DIY world map art

So where do I go from here? 

I decided to keep going with the world map stencil and come back to the border later.

DIY world map art
DIY world map art

This is what it looked like after I sprayed the sea glass spray paint. I knew I wanted to add a little gold accent to the world map to tie the border colors in. 

Like I said before, I LOVE this gold leaf spray paint. If you’ve ever used real gold leaf, you know it’s messy! This stuff doesn’t provide the texture that real gold leaf does, but it’s a very similar color and much easier to apply.

Ok it was time to revisit the DIY fail border. I decided to scratch the paint pen border and spray paint over the entire edge with the gold leaf spray paint.

I wanted my world map project to look like it all blended together.

I figured the best way to do this was to add the same color gold leaf on the border as I did on the actual world map painting.

Now I can say my DIY world map painting is about complete.

DIY world map art on wood
DIY World Map art on wood
DIY world map art on wood

I’m going to be honest, I’m not 100% pleased with it. But for now I will leave it alone until I’m inspired to re create my world map art.

If you liked this post you might be interested in checking out a few related posts below:

How to Age a Pot with texture for an Antique Vintage Look

Dry Brush Technique on Wood

How to refinish a faux wood bookcase with Chalk Spray Paint

If you enjoyed this post I would love for you to pin it to Pinterest below. 

What do you think? Should I do something different to it? Time will tell….


48 thoughts on “DIY World Map Art on Wood

  1. A really good idea, but I don’t think whitewash is the best background color. It’s very blah. That being said, I’m not sure what color would be better. Possibly a darker, more earthy tone, and a brighter green for the map?

  2. Personally I love the whitewash but not the gold border. Something bugs me about the edges not being trimmed out so I would probably frame it out with molding and paint it black and then add the gold and distress it to show the black under it in spots. But I really love the map idea! Especially if you have a huge, empty wall…….like I currently do. I’ve been in my new home exactly a week lol. This looks like something I may try tho!!

    1. Hi Tina,
      congrats on your new home! I do think I need a formal frame, and I’m not digging the gold either. After I frame it, I will re evaluate the picture and see if I need to do anything else. Thank you so much for the input!

  3. I like it the way it is! When you get tired of it you can always give it a light sanding and paint the entire thing again with your next theme. I just started again with a canvas I had already crafted and was tired. Spray paint and begin again.
    But pause and think about the map cause it could grow on you!

  4. I like the concept but for some reason the stencil area looks blurry to me. I’m not sure why, but I don’t think that was your intent. The whitewash background is distracting from the continent shapes, I think. I’m not sure how to remedy that except to choose a different material for the background. I do like the green color you used for the continents, but the gold on top of the green looks really random to me. I, personally, liked the boarder definition that your first try with the gold paint and the paint pen gave the piece. It defined the art (stencil) work better than what you ended up with. But, these statements are only my perceptions and opinions. Take what is useful to you and leave the rest–I won’t be offended! One last idea I tho’t of: Instead of the whitewashed background what do you think of using a light grey-blue color for the background and make it a solid color rather than the whitewash style? A kind of “ocean” look. Then a little darker navy blue for the edges outlined with a gold paint pen. I don’t know if any of this is appealing to you but I just keep thinking of ideas! Okay, I’ll stop now! Will be interested to see what you do if you re-do the map at some point.

    1. Hi Naomi,
      What a fantastic idea about the blue for the background. I thought about that originally but I worried it might look too busy with the green and gold. I do think the white wash isn’t working with this piece. I’m thinking I might scratch this one and start new! We shall see. Thanks again for your input.

  5. You asked for input, so here goes:
    1. I agree with Peggy – the whitewash background color does not work as it is almost the same color as your wall, also the obvious woodgrain is too large and distracts the eye from the map element. I think painting the background a more opaque ivory color, lightly antiqued with a brown glaze around the edges next to the border area (that should be covered with a frame – see next comment) would work better. Then the surface can be lightly “flyspecked” with that color and also with a lighter brown. Use a tooth brush flicked with your finger. Watered down acrylic paint can be used for this. You will be going for an old, distressed parchment look.
    2. The edges (where the border is now) should be covered with a Farmhouse look flat frame (top and bottom pieces the full width of the plywood with the verticals cut to fit in between them – much like framing a large, on the wall bath mirror. This can be dressed up by putting lattice strips around the edges (perpendicular) to these pieces, this time with the verticals the length of the sides and the top and bottom fitting in between. It should extend past the front of the frame 1/4″to 3/8″ with any excess to the back. Attach all these frame pieces with brads and some glue. Small strips glued to this lattice and to the back of the picture panel will secure everything together. This lattice strip will cover any raw edges and give a finished look (all these pieces finished in the same color) – if you like the gold metallic as an accent it could be done on the front edge of the lattice strip (Rub & Buff works well for this or you could mask off the sides, inner edge and picture and use your gold spray).
    3. For the land masses, you could base coat them with your sea glass color spray and then do a very LIGHT misting of the gold (do this from very high above to gently fall on the areas) and then to give them more interest (similar to the original print), I would lightly sponge over them with several other shades (lighter and darker) that would co-ordinate with the sea glass color. Other colors could also be lightly sponged over as well. Use the small, natural artists’ sea sponges for this. You could use water colors or acrylics for this. Use a very light touch with minimal paint. If you use acrylics for this, rinse the sponges IMMEDIATELY in soapy water to remove all paint (dried acrylic paint will ruin them). You could also “flyspeck” as you did the background.
    4. A good way to check out if objects, shapes and color values are working in a picture is to “fuzz your eyes” – i.e. half close your eyes and look through your lashes. Detail are lost and you can see where values need to be strengthened. You may want to lighten or darken areas, use some detailing, outlining, etc.

    Hope some of this helps. I do like the map idea and the size is perfect for where you are using it. Certainly agree with you that spending over $150 for print is a little over the top – besides it so much more fun doing something yourself. I look forward to your next projects. All the best!

    1. Wow thank you Jill, those are some fabulous ideas! I am ultimately thinking I will add a “farmhouse frame” like you suggested. It needs to be “framed” and I think my faux frame just isn’t working well with the map. Since this didn’t cost me much to create, I might just scratch it and create a whole new one! Thank you again for your input, I love hearing others opinions.

  6. I have been where you are when a project doesn’t go quite right. I like the other commenter’s idea about adding the grid lines. The frame on the original doesn’t have straight lines so maybe make the frame more free form? But I do like the concept and I know you will figure out what to do to make it more to your liking.

  7. I’m with the majority…needs a real frame. Not crazy about white wash. An antique solid white seems better to me if you’re going for a white background. Plus…this might seem nit picky, but something about the stencil itself? The map looks weird to me. Especially Greenland. Maybe take the edge of frame and butt it up to where Greenland starts. The frame, to me, needs to be closer to whole map stencil. but I loved you sharing this, fails and all and then opened yourself up to everyone ‘s opinion. Do what makes your eyes happy.

  8. Oh, I just luv this DIY. And this map is so beautiful! I’d luv to invite you to share this with us at Wall to Wall DIY Wednesday, which runs thru Mondays!

  9. Pingback: Busy Monday 329
  10. This is gorgeous! I can’t believe that’s not an actual wood frame around the piece! Totally had me fooled from the original photo. And I love that it’s so easy to put together. Thanks for sharing at Sweet Inspiration!

  11. I like your wall art project. Like a few others said when you tire of it and have time if you aren’t happy with it you can fool around with it a bit more. I think there are always some projects we love, and other that don’t turn out quite the way we like. Yesterday I had to go over a part of a piece of furniture I was painting. I thought 2 colors until I saw it. Then ended up painting over it again when dry to make it one color again. There’s a lot of trial and error with being creative. I’m glad you didn’t give up 😉 Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party @DearCreatives See you again soon.

  12. What a great job you’ve done here! I think it looks wonderful; I’m not bothered by the lack of a frame. I do think adding the grid lines is a cool idea, and perhaps also the compass rose; maybe there’s a star stencil that would work for that? What a cool way to get a huge piece of art.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

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