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
Oil-base clear coat
Oil-base gel stain (We used General Finishes in Nutmeg.)
Sand cherry plywood (pictured), then wipe with a tack cloth.
Follow manufacturer's instructions to apply vinyl decal to plywood (pictured), carefully adhering decal edges so stain doesn't seep underneath.
To keep stain from soaking in unevenly, use a foam brush to apply the clear coat evenly over the entire board.
Remove excess clear coat with shop towels. Follow manufacturer's instructions for drying.
After the clear coat dries, apply stain with a foam brush.
Gently wipe off excess stain to prevent streaks, then let dry overnight before applying a second coat.
Let the second coat dry overnight, then remove decal.
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.