DIY: Vintage Map Box

Still on a bit of an organising kick here (since I can do no sewing right now) and some of the things I have never really had a specific place for are things like passports, leftover currency, travel adaptors and the like. Every time I need to lay my hands on things like that, I can never remember where I put them last. In the proverbial “safe” place of course! Trouble is, I can never remember what that safe place is so I decided to make a “travel” specific storage solution to corale all of those bits together in one place and  put pay to the last minute, panicked passport hunt that precedes most of our foreign trips….

I had this lidded wooded box that struck me as ideal. What better for a travel related storage solution, than to cover it with a vintage cloth backed ordinance survey map, right?

After removing all the edges (which had been written on) I marked out the pieces I needed on the back of the map, drawing around the box and the lid as a template….

My map wasn’t big enough to wrap around the box in one go. So I ended up with one piece for the lid, and two pieces (one long strip and one square) to cover the sides of the box…

I cut the lid piece with a small allowance around the edge and brushed on some pva glue to the surfac of the lid…

Pressed the lid down onto my map piece, and smoothed flat with a soft cloth…

Snipping the corners as shown, allows the edges to be glued up and around the corners neatly like so…

Once dry, and with the lid replaced, cover the sides of the box with the remaining pieces. Covering right over the lid join/seam…

With the lid completely sealed/covered by the map, you might wonder how on earth you’re supposed to open the box? Because essentially it’s sealed shut at this stage…

While it’s all still damp, with a cloth gently rub over the “seam” where the lid join is to create an indentation all around. Using a rotary cutter or sharp craft knife, gently and gradually cut along this seam…(The main upside of doing it this way is that the all map details all line up when the lid is on. It’s a detail…I guess I’m a bit sad like that!)

Remove the lid, smooth the edges and allow to dry completely….

Et voila!

Now I just need a holiday to recover from the school holidays! (At least I know where my passport is now;)
I could have used a slightly more exotic map, granted, but it’s what I had to hand. If you can’t get hold of a vintage map,  (or one that’s exotic enough to be inspiring!) then there are some fab map themed wrapping papers out there at reasonable prices that would do the job very nicely indeed 🙂


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  1. Elena August 27, 2013

    This is fantastic! Just what I need as well to abate that pre-travel panic 😀

  2. Jane August 27, 2013

    Love this idea Portia, I might make it for my father-in-law for Xmas, but I’m also tempted to make one for myself! There’s something fascinating about maps, we have several framed in our house. x

  3. pandchintz August 28, 2013

    Love this!! Particularly the lid detail. Clever girl!!

  4. elenaknits August 28, 2013

    Nice idea, and the trick for the opening… brilliant! Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Zoe August 28, 2013

    Oh I LOVE this!!!! I saw some old road maps of France in a charity shop the other day and nearly bought them but couldn’t justify cluttering up the flat without a clear use for them. Umm, I might just pop back… xxx

  6. BEARKIS September 23, 2013

    Very good idea!!!

  7. hardpliers January 2, 2014

    This is so awesome!


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