I’ve been working on updating my master bedroom (check out the progress here, here, and here) and I needed a piece of art to hang above my dresser.  The overall theme of the room is rustic and industrial with elements of travel.  I’ve long wanted to add a world map somewhere in my home and decided that this would be the perfect spot to do so!  I searched for different printed maps but didn’t want one that was too new looking or had lots of color.  The ones I did find that I loved would have blended too much with my walls.  One day I had a light bulb moment and made a plan to make my own map!

While looking for ideas on Pinterest, I came across a post by Classy Clutter where they did an entire wall with brick paneling and whitewashing.  I. Loved. It.  And I used it as my inspiration.

Lowe’s had 4’x8’ sheets of brick wall panels that were perfect for this project so I brought one home with me.


I knew I wanted the piece to be 2’ by 3’ plus the width of the frame.  To cut the panel to size, I used my circular saw attached to my Kreg Rip Cut.  This thing is awesome and a huge help when ripping sheet goods and other dimensional lumber when you don’t have a table saw.  You can cut up to 24” wide with the Rip Cut.  With the Rip Cut set to 24”, I cut a strip of the panel.  I then cut the strip down to 3’ wide.

Using my Silhouette Cameo, I created a file with a world map image I found online and enlarged it to fit my panel.  Because the Cameo only cuts 12” wide sheets of vinyl, I had to cut the image out on two sheets and line them up.  To help keep the whole image aligned correctly on the panel, I placed pieces of masking tape around the edges of the vinyl as a guide to line it up during transfer.

Once I got the transfer tape removed, I made sure to press down on all of the vinyl to seal it the best I could over the “grout” lines.  There are so many little islands! (Side note – There was no Hawaii.  I didn’t notice this until I after I painted.  Then I looked at other maps and they didn’t have Hawaii either!  Weirdest thing!)

For my whitewash effect, I used Waverly chalk paint in Plaster.  This was the first time I’ve worked with chalk paint and I loved it.  The next time I went to Walmart, I loaded up on several more colors.  I chose Plaster because it was a little off white and would lend an aged look to the piece.

Due to the “grout” lines, I knew there would be a high risk of bleeding under my vinyl.  The map was supposed to look rustic but I still wanted clear lines.  Using a small craft paint brush, I went around the edges of the vinyl to try to create a seal with the paint.  I started on the vinyl and brushed out to keep the paint from squeezing up under the vinyl.

Once I had that finished, I used a larger craft paint brush and a dry brush technique to cover the rest of the panel.

There is really no way to mess this part up and you stop when it looks good to you.  I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous when I started that I was going to mess it up and have to start all over but I quickly fell in love with the look.

Some people say to remove your vinyl while the paint is still wet but I always wait until it is dry.  I used my exacto knife to pull everything up.  I had to go back and look this thing over a few times to find all of the little island pieces.  Again…so many islands.

When I got everything pulled up, I was thrilled to see that none of the paint bled!  It was a brief moment of disbelief followed by a happy dance.

Next came the frame.  The panel itself was too thin and flimsy to attach my frame to so I cut a piece of ¼ inch plywood for a backer.  There was enough room on the edges of the map for the portion of the frame that would cover the panel to sit without obstructing any of the countries so I cut the backer to the same size as the panel.  If you need a little extra wiggle room for your piece, you can simply cut the backer slightly bigger.

I spread glue all over the backer and clamped the panel to it until it dried.

For the frame, I wanted something thick and chunky.  Using 1x2s and 1x3s, I built my frame.  The 1x2s were used on the front of the panel while the 1x3s were used on the sides to conceal the layers created by the plywood backer, panel, and 1x2s.

I dry fit the frame to make sure I didn’t make any wild cuts then got to staining.  Like everything else in the room, I used Minwax Dark Walnut for the frame.

Lining up miter cuts to nail them in place and keeping them there when you’re working by yourself can be a bit tricky.  I hold them in place by using clamps and always double check the positioning on each piece before I nail it in place.  I used my Ryobi Air Strike to secure the frame pieces to the backer.

Once the front frame pieces were in place, I worked on the sides.  These can also be clamped in place to make it a bit easier to manage.

I love it!  I wish I could stop here but, alas, I have nail holes to fill and hanging hardware to add.

In an attempt to keep my fingers from getting covered in wood filler like always, I used a scraper to fill the nail holes around the frame.  For the most part, this works great for me and it reduces the amount of filler that ends up around the hole.  Usually, though, I always find wood filler covering my hands at the end.  I’ve come to terms with it.

After I got the holes filled, I sanded down any rough areas.  I also sanded down one corner of the frame that didn’t quite match up correctly.

Using a small amount of stain on a rag, I covered all of the filled holes and sanded areas.  I made sure to rub the stain in well and blend it with the first coat.  When the stain dried, I used a spray poly over the frame and panel to seal it.

When everything was dry, it was finally time to add the hanging hardware.  I love using D rings on my larger hanging pieces.  They are easy to install and you can buy a large package of them, like these, from Amazon.

I’m so happy to have this addition to the room!  It came out better than I hoped and is one more thing I can check off the list.  All that’s left is to finally put that dang crown moulding up that I have conveniently been too busy to tackle.  Or some silly excuse like that.

Using brick wall paneling is a bit of an out of the box medium for wall art.  What unusual ways have you used to add décor to your home?

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