DIY Map Art

This wall art project starring wood stain and a map decal captures vintage schoolhouse charm with a modern twist. The oversize scale makes it worthy of display above your sofa or on your mantel.

On the Art Map

Start with cherry plywood and a United States map decal, and let contrasting wood stains bring out textural patterns in the plywood. While this map is simple and sleek, you could mark significant locations using tacks, stickers, or paint.

What You'll Need

Cherry plywood

120-grit sandpaper

Tack cloth

Vinyl decal

Protective gloves

Foam brushes

Oil-base clear coat

Shop towels

Oil-base gel stain (We used General Finishes in Nutmeg.)

Step 1

Sand cherry plywood (pictured), then wipe with a tack cloth.

Step 2

Follow manufacturer's instructions to apply vinyl decal to plywood (pictured), carefully adhering decal edges so stain doesn't seep underneath.

Step 3

To keep stain from soaking in unevenly, use a foam brush to apply the clear coat evenly over the entire board.

Step 4

Remove excess clear coat with shop towels. Follow manufacturer's instructions for drying.

Step 5

After the clear coat dries, apply stain with a foam brush.

Step 6

Gently wipe off excess stain to prevent streaks, then let dry overnight before applying a second coat.

Step 7

Let the second coat dry overnight, then remove decal.

Step 8

Apply a final clear coat over the entire board, removing excess with shop towels; dry completely. Install a French cleat to the back of the plywood to hang.

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