How To Make A Custom Map Desk

9 Materials
3 Hours

My kids are all growing up, 2 are already at University and the little one will join them in a couple of years. So we decided that we didn't really need a playroom any more and would turn that space into a more adult room. As part of this room we wanted a custom computer desk to fit into an alcove with shelves above. We made the shelves out of scaffolding boards and decided to do the same with the desk.

how to make a custom map desk

I really love old maps and have made a fabulous map table from an IKEA table in the past. ( You can see it here).

This time I decided to make a map desk but I wanted a design were I could easily change the map whenever I wanted.

how to make a custom map desk

I used scaffolding boards to for the top. I cut the board lengths to fit exactly in the alcove. The top was 3 boards in width.

how to make a custom map desk

I bought some hairpin legs of Amazon for the desk. You can get them in loads of colours. This colour I chose was called living coral.

how to make a custom map desk

I used wooden batons to secure the three scaffolding boards together.

how to make a custom map desk

I then screwed in the hairpin legs, one in each corner.

how to make a custom map desk

The scaffold board top was then sanded and waxed to give it an aged look.

how to make a custom map desk

I carefully measured the top of the desk. Using these measurements I printed a world map to the size of the table top. This map is available on my blog and it's size can easily be adjusted to suit your own measurements. You can easily get the map printed online or at your local print shop.

how to make a custom map desk

Due to the fact that printing paper only comes in certain sizes. The map was printed with a white border. So using a rotary cutter I simply cut away the white border.

To protect the map, I ordered a sheet of clear Perspex online. I ordered a piece 5mm thick and the exact size of the table top with four screw holes. One in each corner. Just google and you will easily find a company online you can make a made to measure Perspex sheet for you.

how to make a custom map desk

I secured the map to the desk top with a glue dot in each corner. I then lay the Perspex sheet on top.

how to make a custom map desk

Remove the protective film of the Perspex and then screw it to the desk.

how to make a custom map desk
how to make a custom map desk

To finish off I put some nice chrome screw caps on top of the screw heads.

how to make a custom map desk

You don't have to have a map underneath you can of course use any image you want. There is a great site were you can download loads of maps from all over the world and other fantastic vintage images such as natural history posters for free. See it here.

What would you have on your desk?

how to make a custom map desk
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info
Claire at Pillarboxblue

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Alice
    on Apr 2, 2019

    This is awesome. How much would it cost?

    • Claire Armstrong
      on Apr 2, 2019

      Thank you! It depends as it is custom made to size, but for wood, perspex and hairpin legs $100-$150 approximately.

  • Debi
    on Apr 2, 2019

    I have an old school map that is not paper but material? it was a rollup map. Trying to find a way to use it. I do have the roller it came with too. Any ideas?

    • Sue c.
      30 minutes ago

      Moneykitty IS right!! Make sure of value by contacting local college or museum before you repurpose. Think of all those people on "Antiques Roadshow" who thought their item was junk or fake or one of many, only to find it was of good or great value. I know fabric rollup maps seem common but is it? If no big deal you can do a desk, cover a lampshade, decopage everything. All the ideas you need are right on this site. Let us all know what happens. Will YOU be on "Antiques Roadshow" next?

  • Omega
    on Apr 3, 2019

    Do you think this will work with other than wood desk tops?

Join the conversation

4 of 153 comments
  • Joyce Hopkins
    on Apr 4, 2019

    This would look so nice with a piece of molding around edges to finish it. You'd never even guess it was home made. I love this idea. My extra bedroom is so small but a built in desk wouldn't take up much space at all. Thanks!

    • Claire at Pillarboxblue
      on Apr 4, 2019

      Thank you. Molding would look good too. Yes that's why I made the desk so I could get a nice compact one to fit my little alcove.

  • Jo Anne Gobble
    on Apr 11, 2019

    I love it!

Your comment...