These ideas for a map collage wall will help you quickly and easily curate and hang framed map art to make a bold impact.
We bought our home 1.5 years ago and, around that time, I had seen a long wall of black and white framed maps in a furniture store that I thought would look perfect on the tall wall on our staircase landing leading up to the loft where my reading room / reading nook is.
I just LOVED the contrast and the symmetry of this type of gallery wall. I also loved that I could customize it with maps of places that were meaningful to us. It was easier than selecting several unique pieces of art, yet not as overly personal as hanging numerous large photos of ourselves in a more open space like a stairwell.
- One: I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on multiple pieces of art PLUS frames.
- Two: I dreaded the process of trying to perfectly hang them.
So, I put off the project until I couldn’t take it any longer, and now that I’ve successfully completed it, I’m here to tell you it was NOT that hard or expensive and to share my best tips for your own map collage wall and how to hang it without any tears or mistakes.
Ideas for a Map Collage Wall
(These ideas are for a gallery wall of framed maps of the same size.)
First, select the number size of maps you want.
In my head, I always pictured six long maps hung in two columns of three maps on our particular wall. However, use your own judgment in your own home!
Our wall is long and narrow, so I wanted to fill the vertical space. And because it’s a tall wall, I wanted the maps to appear parallel to the lines of the wall.
If your wall is more wide than long, for example, you may prefer one row of maps hung from left to right. Or for a shorter wall, you may prefer fewer maps.
Second, select the size of your frames and maps.
Next, focus on selecting the size of the frames. It’s definitely easiest if you focus on the frame size before the map size because the frame is what you will be hanging.
Pick a few lengths of common frame sizes that you can buy non-custom at much cheaper prices. Then, multiply that number by the number of frames you will hang in a row or column. Then, add a few inches to estimate for space between the frames.
Pull out a tape measurer to the final numbers and stand back and look at the measurement.
In addition to what looks best, also consider how high you are physically able to climb to hang the frames.
(We have a short ladder, not a tall ladder, so this was really important, and it may be for you too!)
We settled on 20″ x 24″ as the ideal frame size for our twelve-foot tall wall.
Next, decide whether you want your maps to have a matte. We did, so that meant our ideal map size would be 16″ x 20.”
(If you’re looking for smaller frames, Target also has great options. But, for larger-sized frames, Michaels is a trusted retailer for me for a large variety of sizes and styles at reasonable prices.)
The maps I used: Next, decide on the style of maps you want. I researched a bunch of map retailers and, ultimately I found some affordable black and white custom maps on Etsy with lots of great reviews.
I knew I wanted a simple black and white style that would “pop” on our yellow stairwell wall, but there are tons of custom map options on Etsy to choose from.
Personally, I think it looks best to pick one consistent style for a map collage on a wall, but of course, it’s up to you to create the gallery of your own dreams!
(For example, book lovers may want to display literary maps, like this bestselling story map set of places like Neverland and Narnia.)
As for what cities to pick, that’s also totally up to you! We brainstormed a varied list of cities that were impactful to our lives with no real rhyme or reason.
However, since the maps are customized, you can also stick to a theme and add little notes on them like, “Met Here,” “Engaged Here,” and “Married Here.”
How to Hang a Map Collage Wall
Once your maps and frames arrive, it’s time to tackle hanging your map collage wall. Don’t be scared!
My husband is a “numbers guy,” and he always tackles projects like this as mathematical, and I do think that’s the right approach.
First, determine how many holes you will need to make in the wall.
Our frames had two hooks (one on each side), and we immediately decided that this was too much room for error for us. So, we hammered one saw tooth picture hanger on the top middle of every frame instead (in the EXACT same spot). This immediately cut the number of perfectly placed wall holes we would need down from twelve to six.
Next, calculate the exact pinpoint of each hole you need to make in the wall. It will likely help you to draw this physically on a piece of paper or a graph with measurements for the length and width of the wall, the frames, and the desired spaces between the frames (we used a space of three inches between frames).
We ALWAYS do it this way.
At the end of this process, you should have EXACT length and width coordinates for all the holes you need to make.
Next, mark the coordinates in pencil with a plus sign (“+”) using a level. The level will ensure the frames all line up perfectly.
When you are done marking, stand back and look at your marks for any possible errors. You may even want to try holding a few frames up to see if the marks appear to be correct.
When you feel confident with your marks, hammer in whatever you are using as a picture hanger.
We tested heavy-duty picture hangers, but the tops of the hangers were showing above the frame, which didn’t look terrible but wasn’t ideal. So, we removed the picture hangers and hammered JUST the nails into to wall with enough space to rest the saw tooth picture hangers on top of them (no more, no less).
Last but not least, arrange and hang your map collage wall!
Three of our custom maps had a lot of black space on them, so I tried to balance the overall look of black and white space on the wall. I also tried to put the most interesting and important maps in the middle, as those would be at eye level for most people looking at them.
Now, your map collage wall is complete!
Pin this post to Pinterest because you can refer back to it when you are ready to create your own map collage wall.