How to Make a Travel Pin Map

Like most travelers, I wanted a way to display my travels and decorate my house. So, I set out to create a travel pin map. It turns out if you want a pre-made one it can be rather expensive, especially if you want a large one like me. I’ve seen ideas on the Internet for smaller ones and I just didn’t like them or they weren’t large enough. I created this version of a travel pin map for around $80 start to finish.


Things you will need:

1 – 30” x 46” Executive Map
To me, this is an attractive, vintage and functional map that matched my furniture and home décor well.

World Map for Travel Pins
Colored Sewing Pins (or Map Pins)
I bought inexpensive sewing pins from Hobby Lobby. You can also opt for travel pins however, I did not like how the head of the pins were large. I think that the larger pin heads hide the name of the city and makes it hard to mark when you visit multiple cities within a small area on the map.
Sewing Pins for Travel Board
Metal U-Frame Kit
This is the biggest cost but for a 30” x 46” frame this is really a bargain. Don’t buy a front glass. You won’t need it. Really any frame this size will due if you have one you can repurpose.
Metal Picture Frame

Large Foam Board
I got this for about $10 with a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby. They sell a size that is larger than the map, buy that one and then cut it down.

Foam Board
Spray Mount
Any spray mount will do. I always use 3M products.
Foam Board
Any exacto type knife will work.
Foam Board

Step One:

Foam Board

Lay the map flush on one of the corner edges of the mat board. Make sure it is flush on all edges. Next, lift the corner up and spray the corner with the spray mount. This will give us an anchor point to start with. Please make sure the ventilation is good because you really don’t want to breathe the spray mount. Make sure that it remains flush on both sides before continuing.


Foam Board

From here continue to spray and flatten in small sections all the way upwards and outwards. Do small areas at a time so you can make sure it is remaining flush and smooth with no bubbles. You should be able to continue spraying and laying down the map easily. This whole process is easier to do if you have someone to help you. One person can hold the rolled map and the other person can spray and push the map down into place.

Step Two:

Foam Board

Now for the hardest part – which has room for error. Here you will be cutting the excess area of foam board off from where the map ends. Get a metal yardstick or a hard straight edge. Slowly cut along the edge of the map. It’s a good idea to do one initial cut and then go back and cut through rather than try to cut it in one swipe. Take it slow and try not to cut into the map. If you do slightly cut into the map… it’s not the end of the world as it might be covered up by the frames edge.

Step Three:

The next step is the frame assembly. This is very easy and only requires a flathead screwdriver. I opted to get the old world pewter. I think the pewter tones go well with the vintage look of the map. For step-by-step instructions on U-Frame assembly check out his site here. It documents the entire process well. You will not need a front glass – leaving the front open allows you to add more pins.

Step Four:

Foam Board

Start Pinning! The foam board makes it easy to pin into and it works about the same as a cork board would but at half the cost. I went with the color red to represent the places I have been and used a few white pins to represent future planned travels. Get creative! It’s up to you on how you would like to mark your own map. Have fun and personalize it!

Final Product:

Travel Pin Map