Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mapping things out

Once again, Sherry and Katie are hosting the Pinterest Challenge, this time along with Sarah and Carmel. The whole point to the challenge is to motivate you take a look at your pins and actually use them for inspiration to do something, you know, besides just pinning. Every time I've joined in challenge in the past, I've really been glad for the extra motivation to do some fun DIY. So far I've made a fun painting for my brother, a new headboard for the master bedroom, and some neat personalized letter art.

This time, instead of inspiring me to do a project, the Challenge is inspiring me to share a project that I finished a few weeks ago. We've actually been really busy with all kinds of DIY projects around our house in the past couple of months that I've been meaning to blog about, so hopefully this will get me kick-started on blogging all changes that have been afoot here.

This project was inspired by this pin, which I actually pinned during the Pinterest Challenges last fall.

Emily at According to Boyle decoupaged this chair with maps, and I thought it was a really cool way to revamp a tired piece of furniture. The piece of furniture I had which was desperately in need of a revamp wasn't a chair. It was this particle board TV cabinet that my husband has had since his childhood.  When I was  pondering what piece of furniture I had that I could cover with maps, it immediately sprang to mind.
Ancient and ugly, but still useful particle board cabinet
Probably most people would just have disposed of this beauty, but I hate throwing out things that are still useable, and I figured it would be a great place for my computer tower and printer.  Earlier this year when I got a new car, I spent a whole lot of time with my insurance agent. In addition to the good interest rate on my car loan, I got a couple of  "free" atlases out of the deal. James thought "Great, one for each car." I thought "Perfect, just what I need for that furniture decoupage project I pinned."  Who needs an atlas in their car when we've got GPS?

Since I didn't have blogging on my brain when I worked on this project, I didn't take any "during" pictures. You'll have to use your imaginations. I decided not to cover every square inch of the cabinet in maps. I wanted to give some places for the eye to rest, since the cabinet is a lot more flat map surface than a chair. So first I cleaned off the cabinet and spray painted the parts I wasn't planning on covering with maps. I happened to have this spray paint on hand already.  It's kind of a khaki color, and it conveniently matched the maps really well.  I painted the inside of the cabinet, the trim, and the lovely plastic "brass" handles, as well as the exposed screw heads on the cabinet. It should have taken only one can of spray paint, but I foolishly tried to spray the backing board as well. It soaked up the paint like crazy, and never did cover evenly.  I had to buy another can of paint to finish the other areas. Since spray paint didn't cover the backing board well at all, I ended up decoupaging it, too. That wasn't part of my original plan, and it added to the project time, but it looks pretty cute.

The particle board cabinet with the doors open, now painted and decoupaged with maps

Believe it or not, I waited until morning to take the pictures so I'd have natural light. #wasteoftime It's very windy and cloudy outside, thanks to Sandy. Even with all the lights on I had to use the flash.  That's a pretty small thing to worry about, though. We're barely being brushed by the edge of the storm here. I'm thinking of and praying for those affected by the hurricane.

Once the cabinet was painted and dried, I started the decoupage work. Actually, that might have been a few weeks later.  This project was in the works for quite a while.  I started with the doors, since I figured they'd be a focal point. This project could have gone much more quickly if I had just cut up the maps and randomly decoupaged them, but I decided to "fussy cut" in order to highlight places that are special to my husband and me. I even decoupaged our native cities onto each of the handles.  The whole process was pretty simple. I just cut up the maps, re-arranged the pieces until I liked the lay-out, and Mod-podged them on. I gave it a few coats of Mod-Podge to make sure things were well sealed. It would probably be smart to give it a final seal with some poly-acrylic, but I don't really expect this piece to be subject to hard wear. Plus it would be easy to fix any dings by slapping on another piece of map.

Shows the revamped cabinet with the doors closed.

The doors took a few hours to do. I probably watched couple discs worth of TV episodes while I did them. That sapped my Mod-Podging strength for a while. It was probably a month before I worked on the rest of the cabinet. The cabinet body was three movies worth of work, if I recall correctly. This was an easy, almost free project, but it was not quick.  All in all I'm really pleased with how this project turned out. Instead of an eyesore that we kept tucked in the closet, I think the cabinet a now quirky piece for our office/library. As a bonus, my printer is no longer on the floor with cords snaking all around the room.

If you want to see all the other Pinterest Challenge projects, check them out at:

Young House Love
Bower Power
Our Fifth House
The Ugly Duckling House


  1. Love the idea, I have had a map sitting around trying to find something to do with it ...maybe I'll do something like this!

  2. We did the same with an old ikea table, it is now the most complimented bit of furniture in the house.http://www.madeinmorningside.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/side-table-revamp.html we are trying to find an old tv cabinet to do the same thing to.

    Yours looks great, did you do the inside as well or was that painted? xox

    1. Thanks for sharing your project! The inside is mostly painted, I only did maps on the backing board.

  3. This is the best that cabinet has ever looked. This cabinet has to be 34 years old as we got it from friends around 1978. Glad it is still a useful thing. Good job!

  4. This is very neat! I like this a lot. Definitely a project for me to crack on to!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts--I love hearing from you!