Wall Art

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I may have an obsession with maps and globes. It’s my hope that it creates curiosity and a sense of exploration with my children. This wooden DIY USA wall art is my new favorite wall decor and it was easy. I’m not just saying that…really. In fact, I had a friend do this project with me. A friend who had never picked up power tools before and she will agree, this is much more manageable than it looks.

You’ll need:

  • A sheet of plywood
  • Planks of wood; pallet wood or inexpensive fencing
  • Wood Glue
  • Nails
  • Projector of some type
  • Jig saw


Start by cutting a sheet of plywood roughly to the size of your desired map size. Home improvement stores will gladly cut this to size for you. Mine is almost 6 feet wide.

Lay out how your planks are going to sit on your plywood. I chose inexpensive cedar fencing with a horizontal pattern. Glue the planks to your plywood. I used heavy buckets of wheat to keep it flat while drying. You could just as easily throw some nails in the back to keep it in place as it dries.

DIY USA wall art (3)
DIY USA wall art (5)

Once it’s completely dry, trace a backwards map on the plywood side using a sharpie marker. I used an LCD video projector, but an overhead projector would work with a transparency. DIY USA wall art (6)

Once the map was traced, I reinforced the entire perimeter of the map (on the inside of my tracing) with nails from my nail gun. I knew that the jig saw would be reciprocating and may cause some of the smaller pieces to come unglued – this helped keep everything together.
DIY USA wall art (7)

With the plywood side up, using a jigsaw, slowly cut along the marker line outlining the map. There are a lot of intricate pieces in the USA map and I didn’t cut every little piece, a jigsaw isn’t meant for fine cutting. Some cuts you’ll need to come at it from several angles in order for it to work, but be patient. DIY USA wall art (8)
At first you’ll want to try and follow every little curve and line, only to realize you really don’t need to. Depending on your size of map, the cutting out may take an hour or two. Go slowly. Take breaks – or else your hand may fall off from the vibration of the saw!

Time to admire your work!

Flip it over and admire your work. You may see areas you want to clean up just a bit – or be more intricate on and if that’s that case, flip it over and keep cutting.

I decided to keep this piece a little rustic so I sanded just a few of the edges to make them nice, but I didn’t sand the entire piece. Don’t you love the rough wood? It had character and charm. I also chose not to stain it, because I liked the variations of color in the wood. But you can choose what fits your house and style – sand and stain if desired!
DIY USA wall art (1)

Kara Pothier

See more of my adventures and projects at www.lifewithfingerprints.com

Since you’ve got your rustic groove on, keep going by adding some of these rustic touches to your home decor:

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A DIY project to turn a Drop Cloth into a cool Chalkboard Sign

DIY Marquee letters

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