DIY Magnetic Map for Travel Magnets: A How to Guide

Leah Projects, Travel Tagged Tags: , , , 0

DIY Magnetic Map

Travel is and will always be my number one love when it comes to how I spend my hard earned cash. My husband and I choose to spend our travel money on experiences at the destination rather than expensive souvenirs. We will never be that couple you see hauling a giant statue to ship home as a memory of our trip. But, I do love to have some way of commemorating where all our adventures have taken us. This, for us, comes in the form of the humble magnet. No matter how remote, we have yet to find a place that doesn’t sell cheap magnets. I love how reliable and small this souvenir is. No worrying about bringing an extra empty suitcase to fit all your purchases. The unpretentious magnet will fit in the smallest of spaces including your jeans pocket.

Until I created this DIY magnetic map, our magnets had taken over our refrigerator and we were running out of room! My husband had the brilliant idea of creating a map that would display all our travel souvenirs with their corresponding countries. Once our son is older, this will also be a great teaching tool for him. I really can’t wait for him to get as excited about experiencing new cultures and landscapes as I am. I think this will be an awesome way to help him learn how big and beautiful the world is.

Creating this DIY magnetic map was not as easy as I thought it would be initially. Sadly I had to look up what materials attract magnets as I clearly did not pay much attention in my 11th grade physics class. So it turns out there are several materials that attract magnets. However, galvanized steel ended up being the easiest to get my hands on. You should be able to find this at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s no problem.

The main challenge was finding the correct size as our Home Depot does not do custom cuts of steel. If your local hardware store doesn’t do this either, you’ll need to buy steel cutters to get the size you need. Alternatively, simply buy a map that is the same size as the pre-cut sheet of steel. In retrospect, I would recommend the latter as our map was a beast at 32×50 inches. On the flip side, I love that the map is big enough to handle larger magnets. So overall, I think I’m still okay with our choice.

DIY Magnetic Map

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Rand McNally Signature World Map 32 x 50 inches (or similar world map) – get it here
2 sheets of galvanized steel pre-cut to 24 x 36 inches – I found mine at Home Depot

DIY Magnetic Map

Steel cutters

Multi-surface adhesive – I used this one
Electrical tape (optional)


  1. Use steel cutters to cut 6 inches off of the 36 inch side of each piece of steel.DIY Magnetic Map
  2. Apply adhesive to each piece of steel, focusing particularly on the corners and edges. Follow instructions on adhesive package that you are using. For Aleene’s you’ll need to wait 2 minutes before applying the steel to the map.DIY Magnetic Map
  3. Place adhesive side of steel on the back of the map. You will be placing the 30 inch sides together and centering the steel on the back of the map leaving the white borders on either side uncovered.
  4. Optional step: place electrical tape over all steel edges for safety.DIY Magnetic Map
  5. Allow to dry overnight.
  6. Start filling that map with magnets!

DIY Magnetic MapDIY Magnetic Map

Please check out this post for how to make an inexpensive frame to hold your magnetic map. This will make the map both more aesthetically pleasing and safer as you won’t be dealing with sharp edges.

DIY Magnetic Map

Please comment below with how your own magnetic map projects went!

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