wood slices

Maps, wait...

The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams...

In January I said I wanted to post at least once a month so here we are April 21... let's dive into yet another DIY project shall we?...Bonus points if you caught the Yeah Yeah Yeah's reference in the blog title.

First- here's a little backstory about how I've had absolutely zero success trying to decorate our bedroom for the past 2 years:

Back in 2017 when we began renovating our home we decided to turn our very small 2 bedroom into a 1 bed with a master closet. We did so knowing that we would eventually add an addition with more bedrooms but for now it's just us, the dog and all my shoes lol. Our home was also previously Derek's rental so as you may have guessed the decor was 'bachelor chic'. One notable feature, aside from the Bob Marley tapestry hung up as a curtain (cringe), was a giant US map hung above the bed. It was full of pins of places Derek had been or wanted to go and as our relationship grew we added places we had been to as well and even mapped out a route for a future road trip! It was from that original map I gained my inspiration for this project. My vision was for an updated version *with a twist* so we could mix in a little art and continue to mark the places we have been and will go together <3

(Photo above: our old bedroom before all of the renovations, featuring: Bauer!)


Back to the future- present- whatever. We originally painted the bedroom all one color (BEHR- Cappucino Froth) which was a lovely shade of beige that I picked out but ended up hating because it was "too much like the old color". Derek, the good sport that he is, suggested we paint an accent wall and I thought that was a great idea and would help me in the design process as far as decorating went. So he brought me back to Home Depot and told me to pick whatever color I wanted (again) and he would paint it for me! I chose BEHR- Sugared Beet.... a sultry deep magenta-red color (see photo below). I was honestly just trying to vibe with these pillows I got at TJMAXX like 8 years ago that have never worked in any space I have ever lived in but they're Ralph Lauren Pillows that I got on clearance so I have always felt this irrational obligation to keep them forever? Ya know? No? Just me? ....

Well needless to say within 2 weeks I realized that was an awful decision but I couldn't bring myself to tell Derek so we lived with it for over a year.

Photo: Woof. The wall color is horrendous and totally clashes with the other wall color, the quilt matches nothing, the previously mentioned pillows are barely even showing and then we have the nightstand drawer pull which Derek refused to match to the rest of our set and insisted on using a Bauer hockey puck- for obvious reasons. (I secretly love that though).

And then one day at dinner in my sweetest little voice I said "heyyy babeeeee.... I think we should totally re-paint the bedroom accent wall" at which point I truly thought Derek was going to pack his bags and head for the hills. Just kidding, he actually had been asking me what we were going to do with that blank space for a while and he seemed totally down for it but the caveat was.... I was going to have to do the painting this time.

... So thats what I did.

This video is very blurry but in just one coat the color came out awesome! The color is BEHR- Lite Cocoa and it was neutral, complimented the other wall color and gave the room just the right *pop* I had been searching for! Now I finally had a perfect canvas to work with for decoration so taking inspiration from our old bedroom I came up with an idea and gathered the materials necessary.

P.S. for anyone wondering I still have the pillows but have ultimately realized they needed to leave this space so now they are in my studio on my bench and they actually look great!


Heres where the DIY part begins, because I will assume you did not have to paint your bedroom wall 3 times. For materials, I only had to purchase a roll of thin cork board and a 50x30 US map for this project. I already owned the other materials but if you want to do this project yourself this is what you will also need:

- sharpie oil paint pen (your choice of color- I used black)

- 50x30 frame (this would be expensive to purchase/order custom, I recommend making your own frame with pallet wood or any old scrap wood you have around like I did. I promise its easier than it sounds)!

- very thin piece of plywood

- double sided tape

- wood glue

- nail gun/strong staple gun

- circular saw

- hanging hardware for the frame (optional! because if you dont mind you can also just nail it directly into the wall like I did)

Now that we have the materials covered let me show you how I discovered all of the wrong ways to do this project but tell you all of the right ways to use instead...

*insert upside down smiley face here*


Step 1 was to attach the map to the cork using double sided tape leaving a 1.5" trim around the edge from where you want the frame to cover the map and cut it out from the cork roll.

*I wanted the frame to cover the border of the map so that's why it doesn't look like there's much edge but if you want to show the entire map and border leave the 1.5" so the frame has something to attach to*

I originally tried to attach the map to the cork using spray adhesive as you can see in the video on the right.

It did not work as well as I thought but you can see how I left a small border of cork around the map.

Step 2 was to choose a quote and hand letter it on the map! This was the most daunting step because I didn't want the quote to be too sappy or cliche and I was worried about getting it right the first time.

First, I google searched "adventure quotes" and found 2 that I liked. After a quick instagram poll (which was totally useless because I didn't even choose the winner lol) I came to a final decision! One of the things I learned and love about this project is that the lettering doesn't have to be perfectly centered. However I do recommend writing the quote lightly in pencil to get the layout right before you start with the sharpie oil paint pen.

Note: Do as I say not as I do, I easily could have written out the quote in pencil on the map but for some reason I decided it would be better to write it out on a bunch of pieces of paper taped together and then quickly realized I wouldn't be able to see when I started with the pens so... work smart not hard people.

Video: Time-lapse writing the quote on the map.

The writing came out pretty good for my first large-scale hand lettered piece if I do say so myself! I sketch all of my own handlettering for my woodburning projects but this was much different than my normal process! Now that the map was attached and handlettered it was time for Step 3: BUILDING THE FRAME!


To build the frame you will need your frame wood, the thin plywood, the nail gun or strong staple gun, wood glue, hanging hardware (optional) and a positive attitude. We had some old wood that came from our barn laying around that was perfect for the frame so Derek measured the length and sides we would need.

Measurement drama: Heads up folks cause it's about to get tricky simply for the fact I forgot to take pictures of this step. Our frame was built "squared" so we did not have to worry about any off angles (you're welcome). This means we cut straight pieces and assembled them perpendicular to each other in a rectangle on top of the map. Note: It is up to you whether you choose the side pieces or top and bottom pieces to be the *full* length pieces, just don't forget to account for the extra inches in the length you cut for the opposite sides. i.e. our top and bottom pieces of the frame were 4" longer than the side pieces of the frame to account for the thickness of the top and bottom pieces taking up the side length as the side pieces are in between the top and bottom. Sorry, that was a lot. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say, I'm no Bob Villa, just a humble DIY chick. Our frame measurements are as follows:



Now you may be asking yourself, how are we attaching this rectangular frame to the map? This is where the thin plywood comes in. We laid the plywood on the table, put the map on top and the rectangular frame on top of that. once we lined up the edges to one corner of the plywood so that everything was centered, we traced the outline of the entire piece and then cut the plywood to fit as a perfect backing. We used a small amount of wood glue and then some nails (bent over in the back to lay flat) to attach the entire thing together.

The only thing that was left was to hang this bad boy up!... but of course once I hung the map I realized I needed a little something more.... Lo and behold Derek came to my rescue again and built me these awesome floating shelves (from the same wood we used to make the frame) to complete the look!

Don't come for me because I know the bed situation is a little blah but they will be next. Aside from that I really LOVE the way this project turned out! We had so much fun putting pins in the map together, including one in Portland, Maine where we got engaged in February! Everyday is an adventure and the map reminds us of all of our best memories and helps inspire those yet to come!

Check out the before and after pictures below

This project was Bauer approved!

& let me know in the comments where we should go on our next adventure :)


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