If you love to travel as much as we do, a map of the world can be inspiring in more ways than one. Senior Designer Laura E. loves to pack up her suitcase and go exploring—and when she’s at home, she loves tracking down and painting desktop globes. Below, she shares tips and tricks for creating vintage globes into your own personal works of art.

I would live on the road if I could. But since that’s not really an option, I can at least surround myself with travel icons—like maps and globes—that inspire my wandering spirit.

I wanted to share my hobby, so I gathered some globes and invited some artist friends. I couldn’t wait to see how they would transform their thrift store finds.


  • Globe (find them in thrift stores, at flea markets or on Ebay)
  • Dish soap or mild cleaning solution
  • Krud Kutter
  • Paint (spray, acrylic—whatever you’re most comfortable with)
  • Brushes
  • Liquid paint pens (for small details and lettering)

A painted globe makes a great accent piece for any room of your home. And this can be a really affordable project: I scoured thrift stores and vintage markets around KC, scooping up old globes for $20 or less.

To ensure your paint adheres well, you’ll want to give your globe a good cleaning—who knows what kind of dirt and grime it’s picked up over the years? Simple soap and water typically works, although any kind of grease build-up might require a stronger cleaner. Let it dry completely before you get started.

There are so many options for designs:

  • Add words, designs or patterns to the maps of continents and countries. Highlight the places you’ve gone—or dream of traveling to. Capture the climate, landscape or spirit of a place. Or just fill an outline with icons or images you love.
  • Repaint it to match your color scheme.
  • Treat the globe as a spherical canvas and add a favorite travel quote.

Maybe, like Sara C., you’ll want the stand to be a different color. Most globes can be removed from their stands, so it’s easy to spray paint them with regular high gloss spray paint from the hardware or craft store.

You could paint your entire globe a single color first like Lynn G. did here, and then add details, or you might want to paint portions of your globe different colors. (The stand makes a convenient, built-in easel.)

Livy L. used the existing outlines as a starting point, and added a sweet succulent pattern inside the continents. Sam L. layered a background, patterns and a phrase for her lettering solution.

The results: Fabulous painted globes of all sizes, perfect for any room or office space. Bet yours will be just as awesome—have fun coloring your world!

What’s your favorite travel-inspired art project? Have you painted a globe, decorated a map, decoupaged a suitcase? Share your creations with us on Instagram @think.make.share or on our Facebook page.



Leave a Comment

  1. 1.29.17 | Reply
    Debra Pringle wrote:

    I love this idea and I plan to try it. I’m also desperately trying to locate the Hallmark Dream Globally puzzle you created, but I can’t find it at any of the Hallmark stores or online. Can you help me find one?

    • 1.30.17 | Reply
      Laura E. wrote:

      Hi Debra, I am so glad you are excited about the puzzle, and painting your own globes!
      Unfortunately, the puzzle will not be in the market until August. I know this is frustrating; Our timing of the puzzle being mentioned on the show didn’t coincide with the release of the puzzle. It should be in stores and online around August 1st though. I really hope you enjoy it!


  2. 5.31.17 | Reply
    Norma L. Cruz wrote:

    Hello Laura!
    Where can I buy one of these beautiful decorated globes?
    Looking forward to your reply.
    Warm regards,

    • 5.31.17 | Reply
      Think.Make.Share wrote:

      Hi, Norma! We’re so glad you love the painted globes! The globes are not a product that we sell at this time, but we do encourage you to make your own with the tips Laura has provided!

  3. 5.31.17 | Reply

    I have a globe and I’m going to try this I think this is a really cool idea

  4. 6.9.17 | Reply
    Paulette Bryant wrote:

    I love it! You have set my mind to reeling with ideas! These are all gorgeous and there is no way I could choose a favorite. Keep the ideas coming!

  5. 12.3.17 | Reply
    Jackie wrote:

    learned lots here. I am having travel theme wedding and have a fab idea! I’m going to paint a globe and let guests sign it – instead of a guest book. What do you think? would it work?

  6. 10.1.19 | Reply
    Hannah wrote:

    Hi! love this idea. I want to make something similar but as a gift for a friend. what should i use to seal it once I’m done?
    Much appreciated!

    • 10.3.19 | Reply
      Kelly C. wrote:

      Try a coat of matte varnish or mod podge to seal it!

  7. 3.22.21 | Reply

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