DIY Map Art Meets Church Missionary Display

It was recently decided at our church that we needed a better way to highlight the members and friends of our congregation who are working around the world in various missionary roles.  Trying to think outside the proverbial box, it was suggested that we attempt something more artistic and well, ‘cool’ than the typical bulletin board in the back hallway.  Following these fantastic instructions, here’s what I ended up with:

It’s a 2x3ft sepia toned world map Mod Podged onto 10 canvases from Michaels.  The hardest part was figuring out what sizes of canvases to use.  I literally spent an hour in Michaels trying to puzzle out what numbers added up to 24 by 36.  I had almost given up hope that anything would work out right, when suddenly, I stumbled on this arrangement which includes one 12×16, one 11×14, two 8x8s, two 5x7s and four 8x10s (two hung horizontally and two vertically).  Whew!

The map turned out so completely gorgeous that I wanted to keep it for my house (and I do think it would make lovely home decor).  However, in the end, I was very happy to see it hung in the foyer at church, because it looked even better with the missionary prayer cards hung above it on an inexpensive curtain rod.

I so admire each one of our missionaries for the work that they are doing overseas.  But I’m also glad that the good Lord can even use people like me doing fussy, putsy, paper and glue craft projects to reach others for Him.  What a mighty God we serve!

PS. Thanks to Heidi for suggesting the curtain rod for hanging the pictures, thanks to Chris for matting the cards so beautifully on scrapbook paper and thanks to Jill for sending me the link for the map project in the first place.  I wouldn’t have gotten far without it!

35 thoughts on “DIY Map Art Meets Church Missionary Display

  1. Elise, I admire you so much. Where do you fine the time to do so many things with to small children and no one is neglected. You are truly Bless by the Best.

  2. Greetings. Our church recently decided to change its Missionary Display, and a I was researching options I came across this post. Our pastors were so impressed with it, that this is what we’re going to do, so thanks for the idea.

    Quick question: How did you edge your canvases? We like the finished look of your map opposed to the bare canvas edges in the original idea you linked to.

    Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Jeremy,

      I’m glad that your church was able to use this idea. We’ve been really happy with it at ours.

      I painted the edges of my canvases with dark brown paint before I attached the map pieces. I used a interior latex paint that I happened to have lying around, but I’m sure you could get good results with an acrylic craft paint as well.

      Hope that helps,

  3. Just wanted to say thanks again, Elise. We finished our Missionary Display in time for our Missions Conference and everybody loved it (picture at the bottom of our Missions page)! Thanks for sharing such a great idea.


  4. Hi, We are looking at doing something like this. Was wondering a couple things – Where did you get the map, and about how much do you think this project costed to do?


    • Hi D.L.

      The link to the website where I bought the map poster is in the post right under the first picture. As for how much it cost, that’s a really great question. I didn’t actually keep track, but here are my best estimates: Map (including shipping) $9, Canvases from Michael’s (on sale) $50-$60, bottle of Mod Podge $5, brown paint for edge of canvases (already had it) $0 = about $70 give or take for the whole map part and then I spent about $15 total on the little curtain rod (Target) and ring clips for hanging the missionary prayer cards (Jo Ann’s). So about $85 for the whole project.

      Hope that helps!


  5. This is a great help. It is a very nice and classy way of doing a missionary display.
    Thank-you so much,

  6. In researching ideas for something new for the church I work for, I found your picture and hope to do it for my home church. Just awaiting permission. A great modern way to share our missionaries. Thanks a bunch!!

    • Hi Jenny,

      Sorry it didn’t work out well for you! When I applied my maps to my canvases, I started in one corner and slowly laid the map down mod podging as I went. Also, I used quite a lot of mod podge and when I was done I laid the finished canvas down on a piece of waxed paper and weighted it down with some large books until the map was dry. Even then I too ended up with some wrinkles and bubbles. For the larger bubbles I poked some small pin holes into the map and then slathered it with more mod podge and repeated the book weight process.

      After I had done that, there were still some imperfections, but I thought that was okay since I was using an antique looking map. I figured it just added to the character!

      Hope that helps!


  7. This project looks awesome! I am a pastor’s wife and we entertain missionaries often so I decided to put this in my dining room. I am in the middle of the project…I have the map cut out and have painted the canvases. When I laid the map out on the canvases, the map is sometimes just a tad larger than the canvas. Did you have this problem? I am not sure what to do about it. Do I mod podge them over the side or do I have to trim them?

    • Yes, I do recall that once the map was cut out the pieces were just a bit larger than the canvases. I trimmed them down to fit (trying to cut off in less ‘important’ places like the ocean or Antarctica and keep as much of the other continents as possible). It felt a little bit weird to eliminate parts of the world, but you don’t notice it at all on the finished product, since there is space between each section of the map once it’s hung on the wall.

  8. Did you use and exacto knife to cut the map or just trace it and then use scissors? I looked at the attached blog that you used– but i couldn’t find it there either.

    • Hi Emily,

      No, I used a rotary cutter on a cutting mat with a straight edge. You can get them at fabric or craft stores. You can also get them online at Amazon or other places. If you know anyone who quilts, they would almost certainly have the tools. Let me know if you need more specifics. I used my mom’s cutting tools, so I’m not sure about specific brands, sizes, etc, but if you want I could ask her.

      Hope that helps!


  9. Hi Elise,

    This is a great idea, I’m thinking of doing this for my bedroom wall. I was wondering if you could tell me the exact measurements of the whole thing. With the canvasses and the spaces in between. I’m trying to determine if it will go on my wall or not. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Sofie,

      This would make great bedroom decor! Since I hung the one I made at my church, I’ll have to try to remember to measure it when I’m there to give you an exact number. I know the poster was 24×36 inches, and there is about 1/2 inch between the canvases, so I’d guess the total to be about 25 x 37.5. I will measure it the next time I’m there though and get back to you so you can know for sure.


  10. I was looking for a new novel idea for our missions board wall and this is absolutely wonderful…With the good Lord’s help I want to attempt it, if possible.

  11. I showed this idea to my pastor and he loved it so I got a group of ladies together and we are going to attempt to make this. I pray this turns out well. We wanted a beautiful missionary display in the foyer area of our church. I am purchasing a catalog holder as well to put on the table to have all the missionary newsletters in as well as a separate missionary of the month spot. Yours looks very classy!

    • Hey Jodi,

      Hope it goes smoothly for you guys. Ours is still up and we love it! Thanks for the nice comment!


  12. I just finished making a make like yours. We homeschooled and I wanted to keep the map that we used during those years. The kids are all married or working and we are redoing the girls room into a guest room – that is where we have put the map. It looks great?
    Our map was Tyvek so I used spray adhesive to attach it to the canvases. I used 6 canvases – 3 – 12×12 and 3 – 9×12 in an alternating design. I also bought my canvases in a value pack with a 1/2 off coupon. I will sell my leftover canvases at a garage sale and almost make back the original cost.

    Love the idea of the missionary map! thanks for sharing!

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