DIY Painted Canvas Map

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.29.04 AMI made this a little while ago and I just have not had the time since to post about it, but FINALLY, here it is – the final product and an explanation on how I made it!

STEP ONE / Find a Map

The map I used I found from a website I came across on Pinterest. It has all sorts of printable maps for various countries, continents, as well as it has several versions of world maps available. You can also print these maps all different sizes, from 1 page up to 64 pages in size! You can find them here.  The size I used was 3×3 (9 pages). After printing my pages, I lined them all up and taped them together to create one full map.


STEP TWO / Trace 

To create my stencil, I measured wax paper to cover my entire printed map and then taped the pieces together. From here, I then traced the map onto the wax paper.

STEP THREE / Trace, Again

After I finished tracing the map onto the wax paper, it was now time to re-trace the map onto my canvas. I placed the wax paper overtop of my canvas and taped the two pieces together so nothing would shift while I traced. I used a sharp pencil to trace over the wax paper, but as I re-traced onto the wax paper, my pencil was sharp enough that it cut through the paper and traced onto the canvas below.

STEP FOUR / Fill in the Blanks

After I finished tracing over the wax paper and cutting through it with my pencil so that I could trace the map directly onto the canvas, I noticed that my pencil did not completely cut through the wax paper at times, leaving some continents borderless and islands missing. This is where I went back and retraced parts over again and added the finishing touches and filling in the areas I originally missed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 6.42.18 PM

STEP FIVE / Bust Out the Paints

After I had completing traced the map onto the canvas, it was now time for one of my most favourite parts when I DIY…painting! Colour selection is important – you want to pick colours that not only compliment one another, but go along with your decor too! I decided to go with a dark navy blue for the water and a shimmer gold for the land.


  • Grumbacher Academy – Thalo Blue Acrylic Paint
  • Golden Artist Colours – Iridescent Bronze (Fine)

STEP SIX / Brush Away!

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 9.52.18 AM

Last but not least, start painting and filling it all in! I started with the blue and did about 2-3 coats in order to get it the shade of navy that I wanted. I followed up by painting in all the land afterwards.

IMG_20141013_132928 copy

STEP SEVEN / Ready to Hang

Once I put a wire on the back of the canvas my picture was then ready to hang! The final product, a time-demanding DIY that looks fabulous and is a wonderful piece to add to my bedroom decor.


Unfortunately, the way I created this stencil was only for one-time use, since I was cutting through the wax paper with my pencil as I traced. I am hoping to find a better way to create a world map stencil so that I can make more of these painted world maps on canvas…I am also hoping to start selling these creations on Etsy, so keep checking back to see when I start this up!


I am really into world-travelling decor, bringing elements of a passion I have right into my home so that I can be inspired when I’m not on the road exploring. Check out my Pinterest Board, Traveller’s Retreat, where all my pins are travel-themed decor ideas. Keep checking back for my future post series on what my traveller’s retreat looks like…it varies from room to room…so stay tuned!


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