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DIY Push Pin Travel Map

Transform a drab bulletin board into a DIY push pin travel map to keep track of all your adventures! Dress it up with fabric and fancy trim to display in your home office!

DIY push pin travel map

We didn't travel far from home when I was growing up. It wasn't until college that I was bitten by the travel bug, hard. Now I want to go to all. the. places! Even our son loves to go on adventures, and would rather stay in a hotel than in his own bed.

We've been keeping track of our travels on a big world map mounted on a bulletin board with colored flags to pinpoint each location. But all the neutral colors were looking a bit bland, and the corners were starting to curl from the missing push pins at the bottom.

DIY push pin travel map on plain bulletin board

While we won't be doing any traveling anytime soon thanks to the pandemic, we've been planning where we want to go when this whole thing is over. We're dreaming big, and no destination is off the table! Australia and New Zealand, we're coming to you soon! 🙂

In the meantime, it's time to give this blah map a new look!

Materials Needed for DIY Push Pin Travel Map

How to make a push pin travel map

Paint the frame

After removing the pins and map, I was left with a boring brown cork board with an even more boring frame. I wanted a bit more contrast, so I taped off the inside edge of the frame on the cork with painter's tape. Then give the wood a light sanding, just to scuff up the surface and make it easier for the paint to adhere.

painter's tape on inside of bulletin board frame

Apply two coats of paint to the frame. Much better!

bulletin board with painted frame

Add fabric backing

Fabric is a great way to change up a boring bulletin board. It doesn't show pin holes like decorative paper does, and you can change it up whenever you want!

I had a yard and a half of this city themed fabric left over from my sewing days. It has a burlap texture, so it wasn't going to work for the throw pillows I had envisioned. But it was perfect for this project!

Place the fabric on top of the bulletin board. Trim off the excess, leaving just enough overlap to cover the frame.

fabric backing on top of bulletin board

Now flip the fabric over and spray the back generously with the spray adhesive. This particular adhesive is repositionable, making it easy to move the fabric around and get the words lined up exactly as I wanted. Once it's in place, press the fabric down and crease the edges and corners around the inside of the frame.

fabric backing with creased edges around frame

Use a rotary cutter right up against the edge of the frame to trim away the excess fabric. Be careful not to press down too hard or you'll cut straight through the cork!

trimming excess fabric around pin board frame with a rotary cutter

Adding the fabric totally transformed the look of the bulletin board! You can leave it just like this, but I was worried the adhesive would eventually lose its hold and the fabric would fall off.

fabric backing on bulletin board

Add nailhead trim (optional)

This upholstery nailhead trim was the perfect addition to take my project up a notch. It was super easy to attach, too. It comes on a roll, with additional nail heads that are used just like thumbtacks on a bulletin board!

nailhead trim and tacks on fabric covered bulletin board

To secure the trim to the board, simply insert a nailhead pin into the hole in the trim. On furniture, you would use a hammer to do this, but it goes in easily with just your finger here.

adding nailhead trim to outside edge of bulletin board

At the corners, I snipped off the excess with cutting pliers. The dimensions of my bulletin board matched up perfectly with the holes of the nailhead trim. I just overlapped the holes at the corners and covered them with a pin.

securing the corners of the nailhead trim on the DIY push pin travel map

Attach the paper map to the board

The edges of my paper map were starting to curl, so I trimmed away the white border. It also made the map coordinate better with the fabric behind it. I had extra nailhead pins, so I used them to secure the map to the board at the corners.

paper map attached to corkboard with nailhead pin

Add colored flags to mark your travels

The flag pins were inserted back into their original locations. The red pins are for places my husband and I visited before our son was born, and the blue ones are for family trips.

DIY push pin travel map with flags marking locations

What a transformation! It's hard to believe this is the same drab bulletin board. The fabric backing and metal border really elevate it from a plain and boring cork board to a beautiful DIY push pin travel map!

DIY push pin travel map with fabric backing and red and blue flag pins

Want your own push pin travel map, but don't want to DIY it? Here's a similar framed map with cork backing I found on Amazon here. You can choose your own frame color, and it even provides you with the pins!

Check out these other easy DIY projects!

DIY push pin travel map with text overlay


Thursday 28th of July 2016

Love this! My daughter and her husband are currently traveling the world. This would be a great way for us to keep up with where she is and where they have been. Thanks so much for sharing! Pinning


Wednesday 27th of July 2016

These travel board would make a lovely wedding gift for a couple who loves to travel!

New York Roofing

Monday 25th of July 2016

This DIY project is awesome to try. And, it will motivate us to plan more trips. Your travel board is looking fantastic.


Monday 25th of July 2016

This is awesome!

Sam@Raggedy Bits

Tuesday 19th of July 2016

This turned out fab!! I love the fabric that you used!

The Handyman's Daughter

Tuesday 19th of July 2016

Thanks Sam! I was so excited to finally have a good use for it!

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