Do you love cork board maps as much as we do? Why not DIY and customize your very own inexpensive push pin travel map to display your family memories.
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Whether travel is suspended for the foreseeable future or you simply want to preserve travel memories, a DIY push pin travel map is a great way to keep the wanderlust alive in your home.
Using any canvas, standard size map, you can easily customize your world map and create a beautiful focal point. Showcase your travels, glance up at the memories, or share them with your kids.
This project is a great way to involve children in the travel process and show them different places, too. My three year old loved “helping” me put the pins in the different states we’ve been to or lived in. We discuss different things we’ve done in different places and show him where we’re heading next.
How to Make a DIY Push Pin Travel Map
What Supplies Do You Need?
- Canvas map
- Cork roll
- Spray Adhesive
- Pins or flags
A Canvas or Paper Map
There’s a ton of inexpensive maps online. A standard size – like 24×36 or 30×40 – is ideal for hanging above a mantle or TV console.
The beauty of this DIY push pin travel map is that you can pick your own map and go from there!
We have this map and I love how the canvas tones are neutral and muted with just a few pops of color. It fits with my neutral and simple home aesthetic.
I love this paper map, this inexpensive one, and this one for a kid’s room, as well.
There’s a time and place to dish out money on higher end frames…but luckily this isn’t it. Since the actual map is what attracts your eye, a simple, inexpensive frame will do the trick.
We have a frame similar to this one and other frames around our home by the same company. I love this simple wood frame and this sleek one, as well.
For this project I searched for a frame with a styrene or acrylic front, since I wouldn’t be using the glass.
You’ll need a roll of cork with 1/4 inch thickness. The thickness replaces that of the glass/plastic front and guarantees a fit. This cork roll is easy to cut and already fits with a standard poster size map.
This 3M General Purpose Spray Adhesive is designed for lighter materials – like cork – and can create a strong bond in as little as 30 seconds. It’s photo safe, as well, if you order a photo map rather than canvas.
Map Pins / Tacks
We love these simple white tacks since they’re inexpensive and neutral. I also think it could be super fun to color code you map for different types of trips, people, or places you’ve lived!
Creating Your DIY Push Pin Travel Map
The process for this DIY travel map is quick and easy – you’ll be able to hang your map and display your push pins in under and hour!
Step 1: mount cork
Completely disassemble the frame; set the wood aside and put the glass or plastic front away. You won’t be using it.
Cover your working area with newspaper or a drop cloth and lay the mat board – or the piece of cardboard holding space in the frame – on top. I may or may not have forgotten to lay a drop cloth down…
After shaking spray adhesive according to package directions, spray the cardboard with an even layer of glue. You can test readiness with the back of a knuckle – when adhesive feels sticky, but leaves no residue on your finger, it’s ready (usually about 30 seconds)
Gently roll cork onto the sticky cardboard. Flatten out any bubbles and use a few heavy books to hold the cork down as it dries.
Step 2: mount map
The cork will dry pretty quickly – you’ll be able to move onto the map within twenty minutes.
Repeat the same process as above – spraying the cork now with an even layer of adhesive, testing readiness, and gently laying the map on top.
Again, smooth out any bubbles and use the same books during the drying process.
Step 3: reassemble frame and hang
If frame requires any assembly – such as hanging frame mounts or hardware – do that as the map dries.
After another twenty minutes, simply place the now single layer of cardboard, cork, and map back into the glassless frame.
That’s it! You’re ready to bust open the push pins and hang your masterpiece. My three year old loved “helping me” put tacks in all of the cities we’ve been.
That’s literally it! For under $100, you can customize and create your very own DIY push pin travel map to display your favorite travel memories and plan new adventures!
Let me know if you end up creating your own. And of course feel free to share your favorite travel themed, at home projects to keep the wanderlust alive!
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I absolutely love this and you did such a great job. I have a huge map here my hubby purchased a long time ago for me and I haven’t done anything with it. The truth is we don’t have the wall space. I think it’s bigger than the one you mounted, haha.
I would love to do this in the future when I set up a home office.
Thanks for the tips! Oh, and your home is coming together so nice!
Thank you so much! We had this one for a while too and I decided something had to be done. Turns out it was an easy project! Anything bigger I think would definitely need an entire wall. We have a small space too..not can be tough!
This is such a great idea. It looks really nice. I would have had no idea how to do this, so it’s good to learn. Never know when I might have put up my own map. I also think it’s such a fun thing to do with your kids. You really are a great mama! I can almost imagine the conversations that this brought up with your little one. So sweet! Thanks for sharing.?
Thank you so much!! I try to put the kids first and always involve them…it’s definitely a challenge some days, though. I seriously had this map for a few years and when I finally got around to mounting and hanging it, I was like, wow, this is so easy and cheap and IDK why I didn’t do it sooner.
Love this! Quick question, I’ve seen reviews about the cork roll that it doesn’t hold pins(tacks. I’m assuming you don’t have this issue, but just checking!
We definitely don’t have that problem!
Thanks for the tutorial! I’ve been wanting to do this. However, I noticed that you said to use 1/4” thick cork, but the cork you linked is 1/16” thick. I didn’t think you could buy cork in rolls 1/4” thick. Which is correct?