How to Make an Antique-Looking Map

Written by katherine marko
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How to Make an Antique-Looking Map
Antique-looking maps add decorative charm. (old map image by Victor M. from

Handmade maps with antiqued looks are interesting when framed and make one-of-a-kind souvenirs from travelled destinations. They may also take the place of wallpaper and add character to offices, dens or guest bathrooms. There are various techniques to antiquing maps, such as baking them slowly in a low-temperature oven or painting them with a yellow varnish. They will also add Old World charm to wooden trays or table tops by gluing them to the surface and sealing with lacquer. Children may also enjoy antiqued maps during treasure hunts or while playing pirate games.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Map
  • Household Spray Bottle
  • One Black Tea Bag
  • Four Cups of Hot Water
  • Funnel
  • Pot
  • Towel

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  1. 1

    Pour four cups of clean tap water into a pot and heat on stove until boiling. Add a black tea bag to water and steep well until darkness is achieved. Remove the tea bag and set aside to allow water to cool.

  2. 2

    Fold map in half and then fold again. Bunch the paper map slightly with hands and crumple gently to create creases. Lay a clean towel flat on a clean and dry surface. Unfold the map and lay on the towel pressing down with hands to lie evenly.

  3. 3

    Remove the spray nozzle from the spray bottle. Insert the funnel into the spray bottle. Pour the cooled and steeped tea through the funnel and into the bottle. Insert the spray nozzle back onto the spray bottle.

  4. 4

    Spray the map evenly with the tea saturating the entire map. Lift the map and fan gently to dry. Spray the map again and continue the process until the desired effect has been achieved. 10 spray saturations should achieve the desired effect. The tea will pool in wrinkled areas and may take longer to dry. However, the wrinkled area will dry darker in colour than the rest of the map, which creates an authentic look.

Tips and warnings

  • If a uniform shade throughout the map is desired, keep the map flat and do not fold or wrinkle. Use a fine-hair paint brush to saturate the map evenly.
  • To create an antiqued and worn look, tear the edges of the map prior to spraying with cooled steeped tea. Saturate the edges heavier to add more colour.
  • Experiment with a test map to determine the required shade.
  • The wet and saturated map may buckle and wrinkle. To avoid wrinkles provide tension on each side of the map until it is dry.

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