Map Covered Letter

Honor your favorite city or state with this map covered letter project. Unique and personal decor and a great gift idea. 

I think I’ve previously admitted my addiction to letters, initials and monograms. In fact, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Initial Decor. We recently did a lot of updates to our kitchen, and I’m working on a “Des Moines” wall for our dining room which will include a subway art sign of meaningful places for us, some photos of Des Moines and this map covered letter I just finished, which is the first of all my projects for the wall.


  • Paper Mache Letter (I used a 12″ letter)
  • Map(s) big enough to cover your letter
  • Ruler
  • Circular cutter, Xacto Knife or Scissors
  • Modge Podge and/or Clear Sealer

Maps: I found a Des Moines city streets map book at my local Barnes and Noble. The pages weren’t nearly big enough to cover my 12″ letter H. I ripped the pages out of the book, cut off the edges of each page and pieced the maps together to form big enough sheets.

Cutting out a template: This will be different for every letter. I decided to trace my H and then cut down the center to use the inner pieces to wrap around the inside legs, so that everything didn’t have to be completely separate. For the sides I just used strips at lengths that would wrap around the top and outsides. For the back, I traced and cut out the H. If you have letters with a curve, I would just cut out a front and back and then use long strips for the inner and outer edges.

Gluing your maps down: I almost used spray adhesive, but then I decided it would make everything more sticky than I wanted it and more likely that I’d have to keep repositioning my maps if I didn’t get it right. Modge Podge worked fine as long as I brushed it and worked in small sections before it dried.

I was so happy with it when I got it all wrapped, but…

but then I decided to do a spray top coat. I wanted a super shiny finish, but I didn’t want brush marks from the Modge Podge. I hadn’t used my spray clear coat in a while and when I started to spray I just wanted to cry. It got VERY dark. I prayed it was just from being wet and it would dry fine.

That was partially true, but I had some spots where the Modge Podge had eeked through the seams when I was gluing the maps on. My clear coat spray wasn’t very shiny, but the places where the Modge Podge came through was. Grrrr…. I ended up Modge Podging (is that a verb?) the finish anyway. There are a few darker spots still, but I guess it just makes the maps look a little older.

Here’s the finished map covered letter H. Now to finish the other projects for the wall …

UPDATED: Check out the start of my Des Moines Gallery Wall


  1. I have been thinking about doing the penny art for a while.I notice that your map shows Des Moines….I live in Ottumwa.come visit my site sometime!

  2. Hi Kristen – thanks for stopping by! I’ve been to Ottumwa before. It’s nice to see fellow Iowa bloggers out there. I’ll be over to check our your site!

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