How to seal paper from damage?

HELLO Country Crafts-Women and Crafts-Men!

Background: I had a square wooden box that goes over the Kleenex box. One day I got a crazy idea to glue (spray adhesive) an old paper oil field map (buried treasure!) to the outside of the box. Which I’ve done (see pic, work in progress). It turned out well, looks super cool.

The Problem: I feel like I need to somehow “seal” the paper so it doesn’t get ruined by dirty hands or splashed by water or something and ruin the map.

The Question: What would be the best way to “seal” the paper map? All I know is to spray with satin clear enamel which I’ve used before on brass and copper to prevent discoloration. I don’t know if that would work here, but I’m disinclined to try for fear of ruining the map without knowing.

I know this is a novice question; I’m an old welder and much more comfortable working with hot steel than wood or paper. And no wife to ask about such things (she run off to Dallas). Go easy on me!

Thanks for the advice, truly appreciate it!
Ole Dabe
West Texas, America


Hello! A collage medium would probably do the trick! Something like Mod Podge, the most commonly available brand. Their “hard coat” version dries without remaining tacky. We’ve many wonderful paper crafters and artists here who I know will have great advice!

I was going to suggest Mod Podge also. It’s brushed on, rather than sprayed. What you are doing is called decoupage (attaching paper to a surface and then sealing it.)
Welcome to Lettuce Craft!
Also, I think your idea of putting the map on the tissue box is clever! My dad was a geologist; he would have loved it.

Am easier solution is PVA glue, they dry clear. If you’re worried then test it first. But it will provide a nice protective layer-any you probably already have some

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THANK YOU Tara, Pam and Edel! Very helpful input from you all.
That’s exactly what I was needing to learn.

I stick out like a sore thumb at Hobby Lobby, but it’s time for a trip!

Thank you again.


Welcome! This project looks amazing! I love old maps, and what a great use for one! I hope we’ll see more projects from you. I’d love to see some of your welding projects!

Ditto that! I’ve been playing with metal materials for a while; it would be great to see some projects from someone with actual expertise in welding and soldering.

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You ladies are so kind! A couple people inquired about my welding projects. I had to dig a little to find something that wasn’t too “industrial” (and boring). This is an outdoor fajita wok I built this summer. The base is a wheel from a dump truck and the “pans” are disks off an old farm implement. The upper one raises and lowers to adjust heat. The upper (cooking) pan isn’t as dirty as it looks – it’s shiny, I just need to clean it up. And of course since it’s Texas I had to put a star on it. If you take the upper pan off, the hook thing swings around so a pot can be suspended above the fire. That thing will long outlast me. Nothing like breakfast burritos cooked over an open mesquite fire!

Sorry about the Dad bod business (okay… grandpa bod). At least it’s tan fat. Haha. I’m ready for winter to be over already.

Thank you again for the help with my map-Kleenex box project. It will be one of a kind.


Oh, your crafts are AWESOME! Very ingenious welded thingumy, impressive.
Best of luck sealing up that cool map box.
And welcome to an awesome crafty corner of the universe. This is such a great community to share your creations with, encouraging inspired folks all gather here to cheer each other on :slight_smile:

Ingenious is the word I was going to use, also. Sounds like a very versatile outdoor cooktop!