DIY Map Picture Frame

After what felt like years of packing, moving, and unpacking, we realized we had about four things to work with in regards to decorating our new apartment. We gave several rooms a good paint job, but the place still needed more love...something to make it look homey. I was searching Pinterest for a creative way to incorporate one of my favorite pictures of Brian and I in Brooklyn. I needed something cute, easy and that used minimal supplies. And, I didn't want to stick a picture in a boring old frame - we have plenty of those (who doesn't?)

I found the perfect project in this simple Map Picture Frame; great for showcasing a favorite city or country in your home.

What you need:
  • A picture
  • A picture frame with a thick mat
  • Map
  • Mod podge
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors

I made a frame for my sister for part of her graduation gift and put in a goofy picture of her and her roommates. I searched high and low for a decent map of this little college town. Even though she's leaving us for Wyoming next week, I hope this frame makes it in her suitcase out there and serves as a reminder of her great times at Virginia Tech. Not like she's going to forget anytime soon, though...honestly. Those memories aren't going away.

I purchased a 5x7 matted frame on sale from Michael's for $8. To make the mat, start by disassembling the frame. Lay your map out in front of you, and start to position the mat over the portion of the map you want showcased. I definitely wanted our old street in Brooklyn on ours, and this was easy because the map of Brooklyn was huge we had tons of space to work with. No matter where we put the mat on the Brooklyn map, something noteworthy would end up on it. Brooklyn is cool like that.

As I was working with the map of Blacksburg for my sister's frame, I realized (not that I didn't already know) the town is small and it actually didn't fit the frame! I had to pick and choose which areas of town I wanted on each part of the frame - bottom, top, left, and right. If I didn't, as you can see above, the mat would basically just be a lot of white space...aka, farmland. No gracias.

With a pencil, trace the inside and outside of the mat on the map, making it dark enough so you can see. Take scissors and carefully cut the outline. Starting in one corner of the mat, brush on a light layer of mod podge. If you use too much, bubbles will appear (happened to me), so a few strokes is plenty.

With as much precision as possible, carefully lay your map, or map pieces, onto the mat board. If you're worried about fitting an entire rectangle on without messing up, I'd recommend working with them in pieces for better precision. I put a little mod podge down, then the map, then some more podge, then the rest of the map strip. If you're working with pieces, take your time to make sure they are lined up to each other properly and the edges are trimmed.

Brush a top layer of mod podge once the piece is assembled.

Allow to completely dry.

Once the mat board is dry, place back into your frame. Place your picture securely behind the mat board and return the back onto the frame.

A beautiful and unique conversation-starter in your home!


  1. SO CUTE! I've wanted to do this since I saw it on Pinterest, too. I'll def need your step by step instructions :)