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Map Covered Shelf Organizing Boxes

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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.


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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.