My wife and I love old things, but we also love making things, so we decided to make an old thing.
You can too!
We started with the top of a fairly new pallet skid. It was a little cracked up on one side, but that just added to the charm. We sanded it with a belt sander to get rid of the roughest edges, then stained around the outside. The inside will be covered with the poster, so no need to stain there.
Step 2: Applying the Poster
We found a nice, new map poster we liked of the continental United States. It cost about $8. It''s a glossy print, which is important because the next step gets it all soaked. Non-glossy prints might have the ink run. We burned around the edges with a lighter to make it look a little more like an old thing that's survived.
We then made a mix of white glue and water, about 50/50. You can use Modge Podge if you like, but this worked for us. We just put a nice thick coat all over the middle of the wood, making sure the entire area the poster would be in would be covered. We centered up the poster and pressed it onto the wood. We had to reposition it a couple times to get it as straight as we wanted, but that really wasn't a problem.
The FUN part was next. We soaked some tea bags in hot water, then dabbed/smeared them all over the poster to help give it more of a weathered, antique finish. Everywhere except out home state (Missouri!) This made everything a shade or two darker, except the state we wanted to highlight. We let the tea stain soak in for just a couple minutes, then took the rest of our glue mix and painted over the center of the map, covering Missouri. The picture above was taken after the tea stain had dried.
When Missouri was covered, we took a bit of the stain we used on the wood and added THAT into our glue mix, about 4-5 tablespoons of stain into about 1/4 cup of glue mix. You might use more or less as suits your taste. The mix was kind of chunky, as water and oil based mediums don't want to mix, but that's what we wanted. We didn't want to blend the glue and stain, we wanted a random mixture. This glue/stain was applied all over the poster in a relatively even coat, again avoiding Missouri. A little extra went around the outside edges to make sure they stayed tacked down. The poster got very wrinkled, but most of the wrinkles went way as it dried.
Step 3: Hang As You Like and Enjoy!
We hung our creation with picture wire and screws driven into the back of the wood. You may want to use saw-tooth hangers or maybe even just screw or nail it right into the wall.
This piece measures about 27" tall and 40" wide and looks great downstairs on the wall across from the fireplace.