How to make a treasure map with tea

Written by jenny harrington Google
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How to make a treasure map with tea
Colour your treasure map with tea to give it an aged look. (Ivan Mateev/iStock/Getty Images)

Create realistic-looking treasure maps for a pirate-themed birthday party event or treasure hunt. Use actual landmarks around your home, and hide a treasure of sweets or small toys for the kids to find using the map. Children can also make these maps as either an educational exercise on pirates or map-making or to stage their own treasure hunts with friends. Making new paper look aged and worn gives it an air of authenticity that is exciting for children.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pan
  • Cold tea
  • Paper towels
  • Blow dryer

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  1. 1

    Tear off the edges from a sheet of plain white paper. Make them as ragged as possible so they look well-worn and weathered.

  2. 2

    Draw your map on the paper. First draw any landmarks such as trees or buildings and give them pirate-themed names on the map, such as the "old spooky tree" or "thieves' hideout."

  3. 3

    Mark the map with the path to the treasure, then draw an X where you are hiding the treasure. Write down any clues such as "walk 10 paces from the tree" on the map by the corresponding path.

  4. 4

    Crumple the paper up into a tight ball then smooth it out flat again. This leaves creases behind that add to the aged look once it is stained.

  5. 5

    Lay the paper on a shallow pan. Pour cold tea into the pan until the paper is covered. Push the edges of the paper down if it floats so it stays submerged.

  6. 6

    Pour the tea out of the pan after five minutes. Carefully lift up the paper to avoid tearing it and lay it down on top a stack of three paper towels to dry. Alternately, dry it with a blow-dryer set on low.

Tips and warnings

  • Use coffee instead of tea to stain the paper. You can also blot the paper with used tea bags so the weathered look is more varied.
  • Draw the treasure map with lemon juice after tea staining the paper. The lemon juice is invisible until the paper is held over a hot light bulb or candle flame.
  • Use ink pens or waterproof permanent markers to draw the map. If using washable markers, draw the map after the paper is tea-stained and already dry.

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