It’s always boggled my mind that despite all of the insanely talented graphic designers in the world, Kleenex has yet to hire someone to help them kick it up a notch in the aesthetics department. Sure, many home stores sell tissue box covers, but the ones in my price range didn’t quite do it for me either. Hello, champagne taste on a beer budget!

Anyway, I get it. It’s a tissue box; it serves a very practical purpose and isn’t meant to be centerpiece-worthy. And, yes, I’m sure I’m one of the few people on the planet who is this passionate about tissue boxes. However, at the end of the day, tissue boxes are on display, making them home decor in my book.

This DIY project was ultimately inspired by both my irrational distaste for standard tissue box patterns and the glorious online marketplace also known as Etsy. Because of Etsy, I’ve developed an infatuation with antique/vintage items in general, but more specifically, antique maps. I eventually decided that the only tissue box cover that I would be satisfied with was one decoupaged with one of my new treasures, an 1883 world map.

Mod Podge, a decoupaging essential, comes in several varieties, but for the purpose of this project, you’ll want to opt for either matte or gloss. Personally, I went for gloss. My taste is very eclectic in nearly all aspects of life, and my taste in home decor is no exception. I have a variety of things that are rustic and glam and everything in between, so I thought the high gloss finish would be a nice contrast to the old-world feel of the antique map.

In terms of the type of paper you use to decoupage, the options are endless and are certainly not limited to antique maps. Vintage illustrations, pretty scrapbook paper, and high fashion magazine ads are just a few ideas that come to mind. I purchased the map used for this project (along with a couple others) from mysunshinevintage, an Etsy shop that has thousands of antique maps and vintage illustrations for sale at extremely reasonable prices.

What you’ll need:

  • the paper good of your choice
  • a tissue box cover (I purchased this one from Amazon, as it is made specifically for paper machet and decoupaging)
  • Mod Podge
  • a 1 inch foam brush
  • a ruler
  • a pencil
  • scissors
  • an old newspaper or catalogue to serve as a protective surface

What you’ll do:

  • using a ruler and a pencil, measure your paper into five different sections, ensuring that each will fit on its respective surface once cut; cut with scissors
  • for the surface with the opening for tissues, place the tissue box cover on its respective piece of paper upside down; trace the oval portion with a pencil and cut accordingly
  • one surface at a time, cover with Mod Podge and allow to dry for approximately one minute; then, apply its respective piece of paper, ensuring that there are no air bubbles or wrinkles
  • repeat the previous step until paper is applied to every surface; allow to dry for about 15 to 20 minutes
  • next, apply Mod Podge to every exposed surface, paying special attention to the corners to ensure a good seal; allow to dry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes
  • repeat the previous step at least one more time; however, because this was my first decoupage project and I wanted to play it safe, I repeated the previous step four more times for a total of five coats
  • allow to dry overnight

As it turns out, decoupaging is easy-peasy. It is both relaxing and mindless in the best way possible. In fact, I did this project over a couple hours while blasting some of my favorite albums and engaging in some “me time.” Best of all, I love the personalized feel it adds to my living space.

P.s. If you look at photo #3 closely, you can see a mapped out route, in pencil, from London to New York City! How incredible would it be if this were done by the map’s original owner? One can only assume, but regardless, it made me appreciate the history behind this map that much more. I’m so happy I caught it while I was cutting away.