This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

Framed:: Maps

DIY Art: Framed Calendar Maps!

The other day I had an email asking about my family room artwork. And it dawned on me, I am not sure if I ever talked about the maps on my walls! They kind of relate to my post from yesterday about our life of “adventure” (if you didn’t see the video and listen to the song, you MUST!).

So let’s talk about these maps!

The middle frame is an actual art piece by an artist from a special trip my husband and I took to Hawaii about  Hawaii, but the maps are cut from a vintage map calendar.  A super affordable and easy way to add some color and texture.

I prefer to pick maps from places I’ve actually been, you know I’m not a fan of random art!

I’d be so happy if those light switches weren’t there, but they are. Covering them with frames is not an option because then they get bumped and suddenly our fireplace turns on.

Framed:: Maps

My camera battery is dead and I lost my charger (yay me) or I would have taken some better photos and close ups for you. Sorry these were a bit blurry.

The frames for the maps are all recycled and roughly spray painted. I don’t worry about perfection or if the prints fit the frames exactly or not! It is no big deal to me if a little bit of the map is hiding behind the frame or mat.

I don’t have any special hanging methods for balance or distance between. I just eyeball them until they feel pleasing to my eye.  Yes, I just nail them up (after some thought) without a formal plan. Shoot me. If I don’t like it, I move one or two around a bit and try again. That drives my husband crazy. He would prefer I measured everything first so I’d have perfect spacing. To me, measuring is a waste of creative energy. I just want to hang them and move on to my next creative project.

I like a controlled but still slightly haphazard look to art on my walls. An imperfect balance of symmetry and asymmetrical — just to be all strange, contradictory and not normal. Even though I can handle a little haphazard, I can only handle “so much” on the walls. I don’t want to fill up my walls with too much “stuff.”

I wish my camera battery was working so I could step back and show you the whole fireplace wall.

Framed:: Maps

As far as keeping the frames straight, if they tend to move around I stick a wad of poster putty behind them to keep them from tipping!

So now you know the story of that artwork!

Do you hang art work with precision or are you a little wonky crazy and haphazard about it like me?

Shared with:

Framed:: Maps

Also linked up to Frugal Girls Chic & Craft Link Up!

Here are some more map and memory keeping artwork ideas!


  1. Tracey

    I am definitely wonky!

    In fact, Kimba did a post the other day about a picture hanging, leveling thingy. I immediately thought “that is so cool” and then I thought, “that is way to precise for me!”

    My mom always hung picture by just eyeballing it and I think I got my talent from her.

  2. Estela

    I love the look of framed maps!

    Your pics look great by the way :)

  3. kelly

    Love it. Your art looks great! I drive my husband crazy too with the “eyeballing” method (and he’s an engineer!). Instead of the poster putty I use rolled up masking tape. Do you ever use kitchen knives in place of screwdrivers or your shoe heel for a hammer? Those REALLY get to my husband!! Just shows our extra dose of creativity I think.

    • Melissa

      Yes, in fact, I use can openers for screw drivers sometimes lol. We are creative!

  4. Annie

    Eyeball, eyeball, miss, miss, then I get it right. I have a pic of this for one of my posts. Drives my husband crazy too!

  5. Gina

    Oh, I completely agree about the eyeballin’ thing – I do it in cooking, too. (like spices and such) I don’t get hung up on too much measuring. You can’t attain perfection – that detracts from the “art” of what you’re doing a lot of the time. I like the idea of not fussing over something so much, and besides, your prints look nice hanging up there. A lot of times, I get my kids to do the eyeballing for me, anyhow!

  6. Edie

    I like the maps too. My adult son collects vintage globes and they are handsome. BTW, you can spray the light switch covers with oil-based primer, then paint them the same color as the walls. Very easy!

    • Melissa

      Hmm, maybe I should try that! Thanks!

  7. Heidi Milton

    I’m just like you, Melissa– I just pop them up and tweak until it looks good. And all of my art has a personal connection. Love the maps. PB has a wonderful map wall in their catalog that I blogged about last week.
    Have a great day!

  8. laxsupermom

    I always just throw things up on the wall, by eyeballing. I use the 3M Command thingies a lot to keep from having to repair the walls. Your maps look great! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Karen

    Hi Melissa,

    I just eyeball it and since I mostly use small nails if the picture doesn’t look exactly right I just move the nail the amount needed. Honestly, I’ve been lucky and there are only about 20 extra nail holes in the wall behind many of my pictures! :-)
    I love the framed map look. Your wall looks so nice.

  10. Jennifer

    Those are lovely. I still haven’t gotten around to putting art my walls.

  11. {darlene}

    I love that you use maps of where you have been. Great idea, Melissa!! I am planning on adding a map to our boys’ room (a little bit is in my post for today), and it will be attached to poster board so we can put push pins in places we have been and small pics of people we are praying for around the world.
    I guess I am not wonky, more symmetrically obsessed :)
    -{darlene} @ fieldstonehilldesign

    • Melissa

      That is a great idea!!!

  12. domestosgoddess

    With best wishes from the historic city of Chester, England. Yes, go ahead and get those pictures up on the walls, don’t dither and let them gather dust. That’s my feeling. And every now and again exile your favourites to the attic to give the less-loved wall space for a while. Don’t “save” lovely things for another day – see them right now. Thanks for the gorgeous website, discovered over Christmastime and now visiting you as often as possible.

    • Melissa

      Love this, yes!!! I’m with you!

  13. laney

    …i have always had maps in beautful frames hanging in my living room…they are of where my husband and i were born (mobile and atlanta)…where our children were born…where our sons now live…and the most important map of all…destin florida… where our grandson was born…they all looke beautiful and old…all i did was simple…went out to the car and tore out pages from the state road maps in the glove box…wadded the pages up…ironed them…dunked them in mixed instatnt coffee(anyone who has ever been a scout leader knows how to make those pirate maps look old)…blew them dry with the hair dryed and placed them in the frames…in my kithcen i have a framed google map from our grandson’s house to our house…that was so at christmas santa would know where to find him…did the same thing with a map showing atlanta in 1873 (100 years before our first son was born)…it is large… on an easel…everyone thinks it is an antique…all too long i know…but i love to tell about things i love…and i love families and maps…in that order!

    • Melissa

      Brilliant ideas!!! I’m inspired , thank you Laney!!!

    • TryinginPittsburgh

      Yes, Laney, this is an awesome idea that I will definitely be borrowing!

      Melissa, your maps/frames are awesome. My hubby and I adore maps and were recently seaching for some vintage prints of old old maps. I don’t mind, however, maps of places I haven’t been – in fact, I love maps of places I dream of someday going, like Italy or Spain! Plus, I love history, so old maps (especially of places that no longer exist/have been renamed) melt my heart.

      Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Amanda Gray

    Definitely wonky. Measuring is way to tedious for me. It drives me crazy! I’d rather just get them up and then make adjustments. I spend a lot of time filling nail holes and painting though…

  15. Paula

    My hubs is a mechanical engineer… wonky is not allowed on the walls: so, he hangs everything for me! Lucky me

    Otherwise, I’d be wonky!!

    Your map art is great – I LOVE the frames, too!

    • Melissa

      Thank you :-)

  16. DogsMom

    I live with one of those engineer types as well. Once something is on the wall, or a pattern is established, there will be no changing it! So the frames had best be the right size and organization the first time for me.
    I like the above idea of painting the switchplates the same as the wall, or a quirky idea would be to paper them with map scraps. They would reflect the artwork.

  17. Tara G.

    The majority of our artwork is from places we’ve visited; it’s a great way to have memories around us and good conversation starters. I think I’d develop a twitch if I got all wonky, though!

    • Melissa

      Ha, yeah, if it was TOO wonky, I’d twitch too. ;-) I’m the type that goes crazy if my dining chairs are not straight. I am a mixed bag when it comes to tolerance for wonky-ness. ;-)

  18. Anna

    I love the maps, and I love your “technique” :) I am precise in theory, wonky in execution. Figure that one out, haha!

    • Melissa

      Ha, I love that!

  19. FairfieldHouse


    I am running behind schedule today but had to stop and read your post. I like your maps, even more so because they have meaning to you and your husband. They look professionally matted and framed. I especially like the bead board. As far as hanging things on the walls, I must plan because they are the original horse hair plaster walls. It’s a project to hang anything.

    Your Friend,

    • Melissa

      Oh yes, we used to have plaster walls so I know you don’t want to mess those up too badly. Although interestingly, my plaster walls were much easier for me to repair than these crazy dry wall ones!

  20. Pretty Inspirational

    Your maps are great, especially with the white mats and frames. I agree art you but in your home should be meaningful!

  21. Krys72599

    Awesome question.
    Answer: if my husband and I ever get divorced, it will be over hanging pictures on a wall.
    Years ago, a friend of mine was working with another friend of ours who was an unofficial interior designer to put together the decor in her new home.
    They were hanging a border or a chair rail, something horizontal, and he told her to eyeball it, that women can tell immediately if something is level or in the right place, but that men need a measuring tape or a level.
    And he was right, at least when it comes to me and to my husband.
    We have a newly painted wall that needs my pictures rehung, and I’m just not ready for the stress yet. Perhaps next weekend…

  22. Carolyn

    Cracking up reading this post and other’s comments. My husband and I almost ended up in divorce court while hanging 3 pictures over our couch in our first home. They were all the same size frame, but we couldn’t get them hung evenly. Since that experience, I fly solo on the wall decor. I usually cut paper to the size of my frame, tape the paper to the wall in the arrangement I like, and then nail and hang the picture on top of the paper. Remove the paper, and voila… good enough! Love your maps :)

    • Melissa

      So smart you are with the paper templates. ;-)

  23. Mary Jean

    we have framed maps too….in the man cave! I never blog about that room decor! But, the maps totally work in there. They are great anywhere I say. I’m a total haphazard hanger! If I miss, I just pull the nail out and try again. My walls are loaded with “misses”.

    I did just see this cool thing in Michaels yesterday thought for hanging pictures. It is a template and you actually put the nails or screws in the template where you want to hang the picture and then you remove the template and then the nails/screws are still in and you hang your pictures…kinda neat.

    • Brooke

      Oooo Mary Jean, I can’t wait to check out those templates at Michaels! I am a “planner” when it comes to hanging stuff (I have to be or my husband will never let me hear the end of it). I have a huge picture hanging project coming up and a template would make it so much easier! Thanks for the tip!

  24. Jessica

    I’m a random hanger, but then I worry my random just looks disorganized ;)

  25. Dana

    We stick a little glob of toothpaste on the sawtooth hanger on the back, then press the frame where we want to hang it. Poof! the toothpaste marks the spot!

    Thanks for the map idea. I think maybe we’ll take a few maps of vacations we’ve been on and put them up in the munchkin’s room. And, since he’s a Harry Potter fan, I be we could tea stain them and age them a bit!

    Thanks so much for the idea!

    • Becky Douglas

      I do the toothpaste trick too! My husband thinks I’m crazy for doing that, so I’m glad to see I’m not the only crazy one!

  26. Mary Joy

    You totally made me smile and chuckle today, Melissa! I am an wonky eyeballer too! LOL So good to hear that there are some of you professionals out there that are ask wonky as I am! :D

    I really love the idea of using the maps from a calendar as framed art. I’ve used Impressionist prints from calendars before but I’ve not seen the maps. Sounds like I need to start looking! :D

    Thanks for the smile!

    Mary Joy

  27. Leslie, the Home Maker

    Hi Melissa!
    I love the framed maps!
    Especially the world map and its colours!
    (I too, use the poster putty to steady my pictures ;)
    Maybe you can help me?
    I have 6 frames behind my sofa, a top row of 3 frames and a bottom row of 3 frames.
    The frames are 16X20, but the white matte openings are 11X13.
    Where does one find a nicely sized map to cut up into 6 pieces?
    Any thoughts?
    Thank you!
    Here’s what they look like if you wanna look?

    • Jody

      If you can pick up some old National Geographic mags at a thrift store, library, or from Uncle Fred, you will find that they often included large maps that were folded inside. My family loves maps too


  28. Holly Rhodes

    I try to be neat and precise when I hang things on the wall but it all turns out wrong! The less thought I put into it the better it turns out…. actually now that I think about it that is true in all aspects of my life… hmm!

  29. bridget {bake at 350}

    I love this idea, Melissa! We bought a big, vintage airline route map for kiddo’s bathroom, but I love your smaller ones. What a great idea for showcasing places you’ve been, or where you are from! Love it!

  30. Annalea

    I’m TOTALLY an eyeball-it diva. I hold the frame up to the wall to get an idea of where I want it (or lay them out on the floor if there are more than two), and then gauge roughly with my hand how low the nail/hanger should go to get the top of the frame about where I want it, and pound away.

    Btw, my favorite hammer evah is this little cutie. ( It’ll sit nicely in my back pocket, and is just the right heft and hardness for most tasks around the house. I love it! (And at $2, you can’t pass it up.)

    I did a quick Google search, and I think this might be a good candidate for framing:

  31. Jamie

    This post and the comments made me laugh – I can’t hang anything straight, level or evenly spaced to save my life whether I measure or not! Lol. But God generously gave me a math and science oriented husband who kindly does it for me every time I want something hung up. One of our favorite discoveries were alligator hooks (sometimes called monkey hooks) – they are possibly the easiest and fastest way to hang something ever! :0)

  32. debbie bailey

    I hang them like you do. I don’t usually mess up, but if I do, I just move it over or up or down a little. The picture will cover the first hole. To try and measure everything makes me hyperventilate!

  33. Leasa

    I am definitely an eyeballer. My mom was the same way and still is today. It always drove my dad crazy. My husband is very creative so it doesnt bother him that we don’t measure so much but he hates the extra holes I make in the walls sometimes. :)

  34. Sarah

    I love that you have the maps of where you have been its a lovely touch

  35. susan

    “Nothing in nature is symmetrical.” (my 4th grade art teacher) “You know, Sister Parish never used a tape measure. I don’t use a color wheel.” Ruthie Sommers, as interviewed in March 2011 HB. I’m kinda wonky and eyeball stuff, but I have hung around Mr.Fixit &been my own Ms.Fixit a long time.”Measure twice,cut once; you have to have the right tool for the job; etc.” I don’t like ruining old things like lath&plaster or original oak woodwork&floors. So I wonk around&eyeball for *visual pleasure* but I do make pencil marks-*then* I check for studs if it’s heavy, decide which hanging method, etc. And if stuff moves, i like beeswax better than poster putty,but have been known to make a duct tape wad if necessary. So it’s like people asking my “style”-vintage eclectic cottage camp? Li’l bit of “whatever it takes”. :)

  36. Heidi

    Absolutely GORGEOUS!! Framed maps add such a touch of class ~ and I love the nostalgia of using ones from places you had visited! I definitely think I’ve got some map-framing on the to-do list now! Thanks for sharing this project ~ it was selected to be featured this week on TheFrugalGirls! ;)

    • Melissa

      Thank you Heidi! So kind of you!!

  37. Bridget

    Saw this on The Frugal Girls Chic & Crafty Party. I love this look! So clean and fresh. Thanks so much for sharing!:)

  38. Laura

    I really like the idea of framing maps! They add visual interest to the wall without conforming to the standard “photos in frames” look (not that there’s anything wrong with photos). I hear you on not picking random art. There’s something special about the pieces you bring back from travels. When you hang them on the wall, you’ll look at them often and remember those memories. And they’re great conversation pieces! And I say a little crookedness in their hanging adds more visual interest ;)

  39. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

    OH the art of hanging and arranging pics! Ugh. I don’t have the knack, but I’m looking forward to changing that!!! AND just last night I was thinking of framing and hanging a map over our kitchen table! :) (((((HUGS))))) sandi


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox