Introduction: Fake Metal Pipe Map Holder

About: The number of projects I do and the number of Instructables I have written are not equal. I'm hoping to change that.

I wanted a cool way to hang my scratch map in my room. I didn't want to build a frame for it, and buying one would've been a waste because the map part needs to be exposed to scratch it. I decided to hang it! The map had some weird dimensions, so out of cheapness, I made a metal pipe glorified curtain rod that can be used to hang a map, a print, or anything else lightweight.


  • PVC pipe
    • The size is up to you. I used 3/4 inch because I had it on hand.
  • PVC elbows
    • I bought 3/4 inch elbows that had threads, so I could screw them directly into the flanges.
  • Metal flanges
  • Hammered Metal Paint
    • These come in different colors. I chose the hammered dark bronze color to fit my color scheme.
  • Curtain Clips
    • You want to make sure you get a size that fits around your pipe and has a clip for your map/art. These can be found in most stores. I got lucky and found a cheap bag in a Tuesday Morning discount store.
  • Poster backing
    • This can be cardboard, foam, or nothing; depending on what you're hanging.

Step 1: Cut Your PVC Pipe

Measure twice, cut once!

Measure your map, add about an inch or so to cover the part hidden inside of the elbow, and then add however much overhang you'd like for aesthetics. Cut your pipe.

Gather your pieces.

The PVC section of my local store usually has a messy organization of attachments. With luck, I was able to find an elbow with threads, so I could screw directly into the flanges, which I took with me to the store to double-check. Alternatively, you would have to add a threaded coupling and a smaller piece of pipe between, but that doesn't look as good.

Dry fit the pieces together.

I say dry fit because you may feel inclined to glue everything together. That's fine, do whatever you want. I never glued mine because it wasn't necessary. Just make sure you dry fit them first and pay attention to your curtain rings. Mine were solid circles, so I had to take my pipe apart to put them on.

Step 2: Prepare and Paint

Prep your pipe.

Your PVC might have numbers and info printed on it. Rub some acetone on it, and it should come right off. If your paint is dark enough, this might not matter, but it doesn't hurt to clean a little before painting.

To sand or not to sand.

Sometimes the trick to spray painting PVC is to lightly sand it first so that the paint can adhere to it and not scratch off as much. If you want this to truly look like metal, you will have to either LIGHTLY sand or don't do it at all. Otherwise, you'll get lines, which is great for fake wood grain, but not so much for metal. I didn't sand. I placed my rod up high, so I wasn't worried about hands touching and scratching it.

Paint it.

With my rod assembled, I flipped it over and painted the crevices first. A tiny section of PVC threads were exposed, so I hit that first too. Eventually, I covered the whole thing, including lightly painting the flanges, so that everything would match.

Protect it.

This isn't a required step, but since I didn't sand, I sprayed a clear coat over the whole thing to protect it a little more.

Step 3: Mount Your Map

Back your map/art.

I wanted my map to be thicker and more flat before hanging it. I decided to mount it. This can be done with either foam board or cardboard. I got lucky and saw a discount bin of backed posters. It was cheaper than buying the material, so I bought the ugliest poster, trashed it and used the board behind it. Just make sure it's big enough.

Glue it.

I spread out a coat of Mod Podge on the board, rolled out my poster, and pressed all the air bubbles out. I let it dry.

Cut it out.

After it was dry, I carefully cut off the excess cardboard. I set a guide on the edge of the map and ran a rotary cutter against it.

Step 4: Hang and Assemble

Mark your holes.

I held it up on the wall and marked where I was going to place it. The flanges have holes, so I just lined them up and marked them.

Slide on your rings.

I figured out how many rings I wanted, pulled the elbow off my pipe, slid them on, and then pieced it back together.

Hang it up.

I lined up my holes and then screwed it into the wall. I only used one screw on each side because none of this was very heavy.

Clip your map/art.

I clipped the two ends of my map, centered it to the map, and then worked my way in.

Now leave your house and travel, so you can scratch it off!

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