Map Covered Shelf Organizing Boxes

How to turn ordinary shoeboxes into decorative storage boxes using maps. leftover wallpaper or any type of decorative paper.

Shelf Organizing Ideas using Decoupaged-Map-Covered-Storage-Boxes

I love maps!  They are one of my favorite things. Why do I love them so much?  Two reasons:


No.1  They are interactive works of art – filled with color and interest.  I love to travel – maps help me see where I am going in relationship to where I am and everything in between.

No. 2  They make me feel smart.  I did not enjoy most subjects when I was a kid in school, but I always got an A+ in Geography.  Since I was a visual learner, I had no problem remembering where Iowa or Lithuania was. I remembered states and countries by color and could fill in an empty map on a test in no time flat.


When I was thinking about new shelf organizing ideas to replace a few broken plastic storage baskets in the open front dresser in my mudroom.


I thought of shoe boxes and maps to go with the world travel theme I have going on in the room.

I found an old world atlas at the thrift store. It had small pages that would not fully cover the boxes gift wrap style.

Decoupage medium to the rescue.  Since maps have a somewhat busy pattern, I could piece them onto the boxes. You would not notice where one map starts and another ends.


You can buy the decoupage at the craft store.


I used the durable matte finish, but it also comes in a durable gloss finish.   It can be used on all surfaces – glass, metal, ceramic, fabric, paper, lace, trim or anything.


How to Cover a Shoebox With Maps or Decorative Paper


supplies needed:

  • Decoupage Multi-Surface Durable Matte Finish
  • Multi-Surface Crafts Paint in Pearl – Twilight Blue
  • Maps or any type of decorative paper
  • Shoeboxes
  • Decoupage brush
  • Craft knife, scissors, pencil, and a ruler
  • Optional – label holders

Before covering shoebox, paint the inside of the shoeboxes and let dry. Add a second coat if needed.


1.  Cover the ends of the box first.  Lay the end on the section of map you want to use. Trim the map leaving about 1/2-inch all around the box.

2.  Make a cut on all 4 sides to make folding the map over each corner easier.

3. Brush on the decoupage medium on the box and the back of the paper.  Center and smooth with your hands. Make sure you get any air bubbles out.

4. Brush more decoupage medium on the paper that will go over the top and side edges. Smooth the sides down and push the cut flap into the box.

5. Press map over top edge.

6. Go over the entire piece with one coat of decoupage medium.


7. Repeat on the other end, then cover the sides and bottom of the box.


8. Once the box is covered, brush on 2– 3 coats of decoupage to seal and protect the maps. Let each coat dry before applying the next.


9.  I found the adhesive-backed metal label holders at the office supply store.  I made the labels using Microsoft Word on my computer and printed them onto card stock.


The font is LD Corsair.


Fill the boxes with your junk, stuff, and misc. items.


You May Also Like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. As someone who went through a time with no job, it can be so very emotionally trying. I love the positive spin and wish I had more strength when I went through store

  2. This is a fantastic step by step process for successful blogging. Outstanding guide that anyone can benefit from even if you have an established blog. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience. Budapest short term rentals

  3. I think you have a really awesome writing style by the way. Very easy to read. Your blog design is so clean too! Thank you all the hard work.jeftine karte

  4. This is sooo cool! i love the nutcracker! I grow up to lots of music in our house so it totally excited me. This is an awesome post. thanks for sharing.

  5. Audrey O. says:

    These are beautiful. I am decorating many shoe boxes for my daughters school shelf usage. Can you please tell me what kind of paint you used inside the boxes, and has it ever flaked off? I feel like acrylic paint would flake to the touch.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Audrey – Thank you. I painted the insides of the boxes with Martha Stewart Multi-Purpose craft paint in a Pearl finish. In one of the photos in the post you will see what the bottle looks like. They sell it at Michaels. It has held up perfectly. Looks as good as the day I painted them years ago, no peeling or chipping at all in any of the boxes.

  6. After my first dip of the brush into the bottle, I knew it was different from any other decoupage medium I have used. It went on super smooth and after it dried, it did not feel tacky at all – best part, it did not wrinkle the maps at all like other decoupage mediums I have used.

  7. Thank you, I’ve recently been looking for info approximately this subject for a while and yours is the
    best I’ve came upon so far. However, what about the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the supply?

  8. We live in the states now for a few years and would like to make a memory box with pictures and small stuff we collected along the way. I’ve never done very creative things but love this idea! Does the decoupage Matte finish work like glue as well, since you use it on the inside and outside? Thanks!

  9. Hi Diane, love your boxes. At which office supply store did you find your metal labels? Thanks for the tips!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Beth – The label holders are from the Martha Stewart collection by Avery at Staples.

  10. I L-O-V-E this!!!
    Perfect for a school room.
    I love economical storage that looks like a million bucks.
    You nailed it with this one.

  11. Susan Mathison says:

    Diane, thanks for the tip! I have been using Modge Podge for years, and was always a little frustrated by the wrinkling and bubbling. The Martha Stewart brand is amazing. Goes on and dries so smoothly without wrinkling and leaving a streaky shiny finish. I wonder if they sell it by the gallon…Have hundreds of maps, going to start putting them to good use!

  12. I love the look and colors of maps too! These boxes turned out great and so much prettier than baskets or canvas boxes!

  13. These are amazing, Diane! I love them, you did a great job! I’m like you, I always did well in geography and to this day I could browse Google maps for hours or open my numerous road maps. I love seeing what road leads where. I’ll be pinning this, perfect for the craft room.
    Debbie :)

  14. These are so awesome! I love maps, atlases, globes, old travel journals, log pages, etc! I cannot get enough of them or find ways to use them. I am doing these. The finishings on these make them even more terrific. I’m always finding so many wonderful things on your blog!

  15. I LOVE this project and will be covering my own boxes in a Texas map that I have. I can’t tell you how excited I am about doing this. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I’ll be pinning this so that I can refer to the tutorial and share the inspiration!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sharon – Sounds like you love maps as much as I do. XO If the space in the shelf had more height, I would have covered the lids, too.

  16. Love the “stuff, junk and misc.” labels. LOL

  17. These are beautiful! I also love maps and your’s look perfect on these boxes.

  18. How clever and I’ve got maps that I was wondering what to do with. We’re building a house after RVing fulltime for over two years. Now, I know what I’m going to do with all those maps. {Yes, you need maps even if you have GPS!} Thank you for the tutorial.

  19. Love this idea…would be great in my son’s room. Thanks for the inspiration.

  20. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    These are so cute! I love them – great inspiration Diane:) Thanks so much for sharing it… I know I can use it somewhere!

  21. Miss Charming says:

    I love the map boxes with the cute labels. (Maps look great on anything.) I’ve done a few projects with another brand of decoupage and always have to deal with puckering. I love that the Martha Stewart brand is smooth. I’ll have to try it.

  22. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Oh yes, I recently purchased Martha Stewart’s Paint Finish Tool Kit at Home Depot and it has been year’s since I have been so excited over a purchase of ‘anything’. I plan to use it on my floors and one wall of my main bathroom. I am so in love with this kit.

  23. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Gosh what perfect timing. I just ordered Martha Stewart Fabric Medium and was wondering about her Decoupage too. It might take me another month to get it, but I am sure going to do this to my one shoe box. I need this terribly for my bedroom. I was sort of thinking I wanted to frame a large map for my wall…. but can not afford the glass (was going to make my own frame out of scrap wood)……. so I was thinking my only alternative was to decoupage the front so I could clean and dust it.

    Thank you again for the how to do it and the advice on it being easier to use than others.

  24. Mary@athomeonthebay says:

    These are so cool. What a great reuse of a shoe box. Definitely trying this one.