Introduction: Wooden Wall Mounted World Map


I was browsing pinterest and came across some wooden world maps to put on your wall. Looked all nice and stuff, but the prices varied between $800 and $1400, money that I didn't want to spend on it and it would leave out the satisfactory feeling you get when building something great.

So about a year ago I just finished studying, and still looking for a job I thought it was the right moment to start this project.

I started this project with a small research in to the realm of map making. The nature of maps is that they are a less accurate version of a globe. A lot of different projections exists, and the projection I choose is definitely not less acurate than any of the other projections (just so there will be no discussion of the projection used).

As the map couldn't approach the reality of a spherical planet I decided to use a projection which lets the viewer see the earth as if it was still a sphere, making landmasses closer to the poles more compressed. I found a nice AutoCAD file of this projection somewhere on the internet (for refences sake, I believe it was this one).

Having found the map I wanted to use I had to decide on the scale of the art piece. I wasn't sure were I would live a year from then, so I just took the biggest available full plates of wood that I could still transport (244 x 122 cm).

When I moved in to this house I realised that the only place where this piece of work would do right was on a concrete wall. Since my neighbours (and my drill) did not like the idea of drilling ~80 holes in the wall I had to construct an extra wall to mount the continents on. I also did want to make it demontable and without visible screws in the continents. Glue was not an option, so I went with magnets.

Step 1: Materials


- 8 mm plywood 244 x 122 cm

- 40 10mm 120N neodymium magnets (I used these)

- 40 5mm 52N neodymium magnets (used these)

- sanding paper

- wood lacquer (or what ever finish you want)

- ~80 steel screws (has to be magnetic so don't use stainless steel)

- Bison kit

For the extra wall:

- 12 mm MDF 244 * 122 cm

- 2x 12 mm deal (wood?) 7 x 240 cm


- AutoCAD

- A0 plotter

- Carbonpaper

- Machinal fretsaw

- fretsaw

- Pencils

- (Electrical) Screwdriver

- Hammer drill

Step 2: Planning and Drawing

First you have to decide what projection you want to use. Mine is based on the idea that the viewer looks over the curvature of the earth, so the landmasses closer to the poles are slightly more compressed compared to the landmasses close to the equator. In my opinion this does more right to the size of the continents.

I found this map.

I uploaded my edited file in which the continents consist of groups rather than a number of polylines. I tried to make a plan with the least wood loss (but to make sure all the continents follow the same orientation on the wood to be a bit consistent with the grain in the wood).

Step 3: Drawing and Cutting

After plotting the entire world map on the right scale I placed the carbon paper under the shorelines of the continents and islands and copied all the parts on the wood.

After copying I started cutting the boards. I bought a mechanical fretsaw for the biggest parts, and used a normal fretsaw for the smaller islands and more detailed shorelines.

Step 4: The Extra Wall

The crosswall

consists of MDF 12mm in 4 panels of 64 * 120 cm. I painted the panels in the colour the wall already has (Blueberry Dream).

The back of the panels is fixed with a wooden board of 12mm * 75mm * 2000mm. I had this board serrated under an angle of 45 degrees though the length of the bar to make an edge to fix the wall to.

One piece of the board was fixed to the panels; make sure this board is 100% straight from the top of the panels, as there will not be much change to change it later.

I placed all the screws under the continents, and had to keep their location in mind when applying the magnets. The only slightly visible screw is under Iceland, But since it was only one of two screws on that panel I had to place it there because of practical reasons.

One piece of the serrated board was drilled in to the wall with 6 6mm screws (much better than 80!).

The other board (12mm * 50mm * 2000mm) was placed approx. 12 cm from the bottom of the panels to give some extra stability, but was not fixed in to the wall.

Step 5: Applying Magnets

As I said before, I wanted the map to be demountable (I will most likely
only life here for a couple of years). So I did not want the entire piece of work to be a fixed statue.

Using magnets had another benefit, as it left some room between the wood and the background, which gives the entire piece more depth.

I made some estimated guesses on the amount of (10mm) magnets needed to carry the weight of the continents.

· Australia 4

· North America 6

· South America 5

· Africa 6

· Eurasia 13

Other larger magnets were used for Britain (1) and Madagascar (2).

The smaller magnets are used for the islands (Iceland, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand etc.).

I tried to find some common lines and distances on the map to make a mesh of magnets, but that seemed to be rather impossible.

In the end I glued the magnets in place with Bison Kit. After letting in dry for a couple hours I applied a bit of paint to the bottom of the magnets, I determined the location on the background and pressed the wooden part against the map, leaving small dots of white paint where I had to drill in the screws. This turned out to be a rather efficient method, rather than measuring and hoping that everything will be in the right place.


First I only used 9 magnets under Eurasia, which, after someone touched the continents, turned out to be too few. Malaysia and Cambodja broke of in the bowl of sausages that was just placed there for the lunch (sorry.. no pics of that sad incident). I placed 4 more screws and now it feels stable enough to touch it.

Step 6: Painting

you can use whatever finish you desire. I used satin finish to leave the wood as natural as possible, but also to protect it from changing colour due to UV.

Step 7: (Almost) Finished Product

This is the (almost) final product. The last part that still has to be made is Greenland. I still need to cut that out, but the fretsaw is still at my parents place and last months has been quite busy. Will post the final pictures in the coming month!