DIY Map Coordinates Sign Upcycle

January 27, 2019

Today I'm sharing a tutorial on how to create your own DIY map coordinates sign.

farmhouse shelves map coordinates sign boxwood wreath

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Finding artwork that represents who you are can sometimes be hard to find. And by "who you are" I mean your likes, dislikes, what you believe in, etc. Over the years I've found that the easiest way to acquire a truly "me" piece of artwork is to make it myself. To that end, today's project is a tutorial for making your own Map Coordinates Sign. It's a very personal way to express yourself and ensure that what you have hanging on your wall is a true representation of you, your family, and the life that you love.  


I chose to create a piece of art based on a place that my family and I love: Galena, Illinois. Many of us have a happy place that if we only think of it we can't help but to smile. For us that place is Galena. You can choose any geographic location your heart desires. Just google it and you'll be able to obtain its' geographical coordinates for your sign.

farmhouse shiplap lover sign

I started out with a wooden sign with a saying on it I didn't particularly want: "Shiplap Lover." It's technically correct because I do love shiplap but I don't need a sign to tell the world. (I got the sign through a surprise package kind of thing and was bummed when I got it because I really didn't care for it.) But I'm all for upcycling so on to the transformation!

blank white painted sign

I used some of my Dixie Belle paint in the color Fluff to completely cover the words. I dry-brushed it, using a light hand. It worked out great. Then I was ready for the actual custom coordinate sign-making process.

Supplies For Map Coordinates Sign

- stencils
- painter's tape
- heart cookie cutters (optional)

How To Make Your Own DIY Map Coordinates Sign  

1. Pick a place. Look it up. Get the geographical coordinates. (Wikipedia works for this.) For those of you not familiar with coordinates, I pulled a short description of the three ways you can write coordinates off of Wikipedia for you:

Informally, specifying a geographic location usually means giving the location's latitude and longitude. The numerical values for latitude and longitude can occur in a number of different formats:[2]

  • degrees minutes seconds : 40° 26′ 46″ N 79° 58′ 56″ W
  • degrees decimal minutes: 40° 26.767′ N 79° 58.933′ W
  • decimal degrees: 40.446° N 79.982° W

For my sign I chose to use the "degrees minutes seconds" version, for no other reason than I thought it would be the best version to fit nicely within the width of my sign based on the size of stencils that I had.

stencils coordinates DIY sign Galena Illinois

2. Practice the placement of the numbers and letters by first tracing it all out on paper and then placing the paper onto the surface of the sign to see how it all fits.

map coordinates stencils

3. Once satisfied with placement and spacing, use your paper samples as a guide and begin stenciling one number and/or letter at a time with either Sharpie marker, paint pen or paint brush and acrylic paint. Be sure to situate your stencils onto the work surface with painter's tape as you go to keep them from moving as you fill them in. In my rush to get this done I neglected to take as-you-go pictures. Clearly here I am reenacting stencil placement after the fact.   

Galena Illinois coordinates

I initially placed the sign on our new farmhouse style t.v. cabinet, but I felt like something was missing since there was still empty space on either side of the sign.

Galena Illinois coordinates sign heart stencil

5. To solve the empty space problem I chose to add an additional image to the sign. I chose a simple heart. I got my heart "stencil" by googling the words "free heart stencil" and a ton of options came up. I printed out the one I thought was the best size, cut it out and placed it on the sign to get an idea as to how it would look as seen above. 

heart cookie cutters stencil DIY sign

I also remembered that I had heart-shaped cookie cutters so I used one of those as well and liked it better so I went with it.

metal heart cookie cutter

I just placed the cookie cutter where I wanted the heart to be and then traced around the inside of it with a Sharpie marker. After filling it in with the Sharpie, my sign was complete.

DIY map coordinates sign ironstone hobnail pitcher enamelware measuring cup

It ended up being the final piece in my farmhouse shelves vignette, bringing it all together from a cohesiveness standpoint. I had been waiting for that one special piece I couldn't put my finger on but knew was missing. 

boxwood wreath ironstone balance scale olive bucket wire cloche

Somewhat of a theme emerged: serene faux greenery and mainly white farmhouse accessories. 

cow creamer metal cake stand farmhouse shelves wooden bead garland

boxwood wreath wooden frame rustic ribbon

As if you couldn't tell from seeing the inside of my house, I'm a huge boxwood fan. I have boxwood wreaths everywhere. An easy way to display one of my smaller ones was to attach it to a rustic box frame of sorts and let the greenery be the star. And how about that cute white cow creamer? It's a Goodwill find.

I also used my vintage-inspired farmhouse balance scale for showing off olive buckets and more greenery, along with these wooden farmhouse beads.

enamelware measuring cup porcelain 2 cups measuring cup

I love these two farmhouse measuring cups. The one on the left is enamelware and the one on the right is porcelain.

white hobnail pitcher sugar bowl creamer

I'm also a huge hobnail fan so this pitcher, creamer and sugar bowl are near and dear to my heart.

Oh how He loves us large enamelware sign wood backing

I picked up this sign months ago on clearance at Kirkland's for just a few dollars. I'm not sure the picture does it justice -- it is huge! The sign itself is painted on enamelware and that is attached to a wooden block that serves as the perfect frame for it.

I love being able to move my DIY "Pray Big" farmhouse sign all around the house. For now I think it's perfect right here.

pressed tin sheep metal cake stand olive bucket boxwood greenery art

More olive buckets with greens, and a pressed tin lamb figurine I picked up at a local thrift shop.

vintage Chatillon 25 pound household scale

And last but not least here's my chippy vintage Chatillon farmhouse household scale. I believe it's from the 1940's. I bought it a few years back from either Etsy or Amazon. 

vintage Chatillon scale red white 25 pound No. 3 burlap tin box greens

At one point I contemplated painting the whole thing white, but right now I like the pop of red in the otherwise neutral palette.

I am so loving my DIY farmhouse shelves, having fun styling them for the winter months ahead. I think the Galena sign adds just the right touch, don't you?

If you're interested in more DIY map coordinates decor, just check out my pillow project!

Before and after map coordinates pillow


Well, that's it for today, friends!

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my

DIY Map Coordinates Sign Upcycle

and that I've inspired you in some way. 

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Leave a Comment!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

That was a great way to re-use the sign, Kathleen! Your shelf vignette is so pretty! Stay warm!

My thrift store addiction said...

Such a fun idea, Kathleen! Looks great!

Kathy said...

I agree that your sign is a perfect touch for your vignette. Now I have to stop and think about where my favorite place would be; I have several vying for top spot! Stay warm!

Pinky57 said...

That's a lovely Idea, I'm thinking you could also do that with HOME and your coordinates for your home.

Kippi O'Hern said...

I am a sign lover and this one is fantastic! I am going to make one like this too! Happy Crafting, Kippi #kippiathome

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