Map That Furniture…Say What?

Map Cabinet Top

I have learned so much from my unbelievably creative wife, life partner and best friend. But one of the most important lessons that she has drilled into me is to use everything. Recycle, never throw out anything that could be useful. Now, to be honest, I have been annoyed by this tendency in Cathy. Thankfully, she is very organized and our house is very nice but every storage space is crammed with weird stuff. Old books, old textiles, a random drawer from a trashed dresser, old suitcases, old tackleboxes, a rusty old tray, a lampshade that looks like a Walt Disney nightmare….these are just a few of the things that occupy our complicated storage system.

pass through

I complain, she smiles, I complain some more, she takes these old things and creates beauty and finally I get it. A creative mind that thinks out of the box can often find beauty in objects that others would pitch in the dumpster.

Here is where it gets interesting. I decided that I would do a unit in my music class on World music…music that represents different cultures and areas of our planet. I needed a big map and my school district has recently moved out of an old building and into a new one. I asked my boss if I could go in to the old school and look for some old globes or maps. “There isn’t much there,” she reported, “but go ahead and check it out”.

Unbelievably, hanging on the wall were some maps from 1954. Most were in great shape and are now part of my music class but one was torn, tattered, falling apart. They were in my van as I transported them from one school to another. I stopped to throw the tattered one in the trash and Cathy perked up. “What are you doing”.

“I’m throwing out this old map.”

“Are you nuts, no way.”

“I don’t want this old, musty, ripped relic stinking up my house” I said. She smiled and the map went home with us.

Large Wall Map

Obviously, this post is about a piece of furniture and a map. Huh??? So where did the furniture piece come from? We were on our way to one of the Smithsonian museums in D.C. and stopped at a thrift shop. Wow….that is a strange statement..Smithsonian and thrift shop are not often used in the same sentence.
In the store I spied a dresser that I had to have. No go, darn. It had a SOLD tag on it. Behind the dresser was this cabinet that had a sort of Brady Bunch aesthetic but something about it spoke to me. I liked the rattan front to the doors and the great storage but the piece was cosmetically in bad shape and had that bland 70’s fruitwood finish.

Map Cabinet Before

I saw that with some work it could be a cool and sleek looking piece but too modern looking for the florals that we love. I originally considered a MacKenzie-Childs look with lots of swirls and scrolls but eventually decided to go a different way. The negotiation began with Cathy and we considered lots of options but eventually landed on a decoupage piece. Wait! Cathy pulled the old map out of the closet and said, “This is perfect”. Out came the scissors as she dissected a usable portion of the map.

Piece of Map

We decided to pull out the colors of the ocean as the base for the piece and landed on a two toned blue look with the lighter color for the rattan doors and the darker color for the rest of the cabinet. We painted and varnished the cabinet. The map was more of a challenge as it was made of canvas, not paper. We adhered it to the cabinet with wood glue and a wallpaper roller and then proceeded to treat the top of it as we would any decoupage piece. We actually posted a tutorial on creating sturdy decoupage, which can be found by clicking here.

The finished piece is just great. We are adding an etsy shop to our page soon and if the cabinet is still with us, it will be added to our shop. Look at the following photos to see how great the cabinet turned out.

Map Cabinet Full

Map Cabinet 2

Map Cabinet Top

So, our thrift store purchase and our old stinky map make a wonderful marriage. And the best part, we have map remnants left….hhhhmmmm….the creative brain needs to figure out how to use them. That should be fun. Thanks for visiting, please come back again soon.

Until next time,


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