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$30 Giant Map Decor

Remember this big Texas map?

Large DIY map for cheap

It only cost me about $30 to make. It wasn’t some once-in-a-lifetime garage sale, antique store, or curbside find either…I’m can tell you exactly how to make it for the same price. My husband and I made it about four years ago (pre-blog) for above our sofa, and it’s been hanging there until I recently moved it to the guest room.

Domestic Imperfection Living Room

So the first thing I have to share is where we got the map. It’s from a government website, the Texas General Land Office, which happens to sell prints of old Texas maps. Not just a few either, they have over EIGHTY THOUSAND to choose from. They have every type of map you could ever want or imagine….state maps, county maps, city maps, state parks, rivers, railroads… whatever you want, from the early 1800s and on.

Texas General Land Office

The best part is that they are dirt cheap. Here is a link to the map we ended up buying, a railroad and county map of Texas from 1906. It’s huge (almost 4 ft. X 4 ft.) and only costs $20. Twenty dollars! That’s crazy cheap. I walk through antique stores and see old maps that look identical to these for hundreds of dollars. Sidenote: This site only sells Texas maps. If you want something from another state you will have to spend some quality time with Google. 

Railroad and County map of Texas (1906)

It looks really brown in that picture, but the below image color is more true to life.

Railroad and County map of Texas

To frame the map, I laid it out flat on a thin sheet of plywood and glued the corners in place.  Adam made a frame out of cheap cedar fencing from Home Depot, I want to say they’re like $1.50 a pop and he used four.

DIY rough cedar frame

He ran them through the table saw to cut about an inch off of one side lengthwise, then used the large pieces to make a simple frame with 45-degree corners. The thin strips were turned sideways to make a frame around the frame, which hides any gaps there would have been between the map and the wall. It’s all held together with wood glue and brad nails.

To forever unite the frame and map we simply brad nailed the two together. As you can see we only had really long brad nails on hand, so the ‘ol stapler method of brad nailing had to be used (a highly advanced technique).

screws an wire to hang large frame

To create mounting hardware, I put a screw in each side of the frame and ran a piece of wire between them. Then I put two screws into neighboring studs on the wall to hang it, which will keep it from falling or sitting crooked.

Large antique map of Texas

And that is the story of the Texas map…giant art doesn’t get much cheaper than that!

southwestern bedroom

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  1. I absolutely love the frame! It totally finishes the project! Was there any reason you used brad nails/staples instead of using something like Mod Podge? This is a sincere question I am not being critical. I’m just trying to learn.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Jane! My husband gets all the frame credit, I just asked him to make a frame and he came back with this. We’ve framed lots of other stuff the same way because it looks great and is crazy cheap. As for the Mod Podge, I didn’t use it because I didn’t want it to have that shiny, plastic look that you get when you Mod Podge something. It just wanted it to look like a rustically framed map, like it was actually framed in 1906. Also, (I didn’t learn this till later) but it is really hard to Mod Podge something this big without having it turn out super wrinkly (or maybe it’s just hard for me).

  2. Ashley,
    Thank you for explaining about Mod Podge. I’ve never used it myself but have seen it used on some of my blogs. Now I know! Thanks again!

  3. Is there glass or acrylic on top or something? Did I miss that on the instructions (which I do sometimes, though I’ve read it a few times and don’t see it)?

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this great info. My husband and I lived in DFW for 25+ years but he was transferred to Atlanta. So we are now in Georgia and I so miss Texas. Can’t wait to get a map and have it framed. Thanks again from one Texan to another.

    Take care

  5. Bonjour, hello ^^

    Bravo , Félicitations!!!!
    Congratulations and a thousands thanks on your website
    I’ve just discovered your website : it’s amazing, it is full of good ideas and tasteful!
    I ve a question about the frame. Do you have a tutorial ?
    I hope to make it for my mum with the Brittany ( the little in France)
    Thanks in advance & many many more


  6. Hello!

    I am looking to purchase one of these maps. Did you have to print it yourself or did they mail it to you?


  7. I made this, but I want to know about the table underneath. I’ve looked everywhere. Is this possible another DIY? Desperately searching for table.

    1. It’s a DIY, sorry. We provided the wood and a friend made the frame. It’s quite possibly my favorite thing in the house and I wish I had a source for you! You made the big Texas map though?! That’s awesome!

  8. My map just came in today! I am wanting to go get the stuff to frame it tomorrow! Do you know the demonsions of the boards like how long you cut them. I’m going to have to have them cut at the store because we don’t have a table saw so I’d really appreciate it! Thank you so much!

  9. Here’s another source of a wide variety of historical charts and maps.
    If you used maps from the NOAA you would need to download them and find a printer, but I would think you could easily use an online print service or a local print shop, since the NOAA specifically authorizes private or commercial use.


  10. Oh my goodness! I just found this link for how to make the map. It is so stinkin cute! I’m not sure if you still read comments on here being that this was posted a few years ago but if so, I was wondering about the size of the map. I found the website and looked at several maps but it never specifies their dimensions. So when you ordered yours did you just wait to see the size when you received it? Or is there any way that you know of that I would be able to know for sure the size?

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