map making

treasure maps

My girlies are big into imagination, dress up & role play and over the years I've had the opportunity to fashion many a garment or costume into their latest characters. We've done the whole gamut from princess' to mermaids, brides & grooms, pirates & thieves. Lately the girls prefer to make their own costumes out of things around the house, whatever they can get their hands on - and that just suits me fine - little designers in training.

map drawing

But once in a while they ask me to help them when they are stuck or they need a little bit of mumma encouragement, I'm always willing to lend a helping hand. On this particular occasion they needed pirate maps for their treasure hunt. Originally they drew their own detailed maps on paper but soon decided that their paper wasn't old enough looking. This is where I come in ...and off to work the three of us went.

map soaking

First we soaked their map in clear water for about 30 seconds after which we then hung it to dry for about 20 minutes. While the paper was drying we made a coffee paint with 1 TBSP of instant coffee to 1/4 cup of water. The plan: paint the paper with the coffee paint to give it that brown leathery look. The smell of the "paint" was divine and I highly recommend having some extra coffee on hand for drinking purposes ;) After one coat of paint we hung the paper to dry and repeated the action until both the front and back were adequately aged.

map painting

coffee painted map

The next step was to crumple up the paper so that it has those fine wrinkles that you would expect to see with an aged map. Carefully unfold the paper and then place some distinctive folds (in the map) for effect, if so desired.

"x" marks the spot

The final step is completely optional but since I had just finished reading "the Girl Who Played With Fire" I was feeling cheeky so we burned the edges of the paper with a flame. Obviously this needs to be entirely done by an adult with kids at viewing distance only - safety first! I prefer to do this kind of thing outside where the burning smell can disperse easily. When everything was cool and dry we rolled our maps up, tied them with jute and off my pirates went to play. I'm not sure if they found any buried treasure but then again would a real pirate share that secret anyway?

the girl who played with fire...

Happy Map-Making Monday, xo

crumpled map