Workshop Wednesdays: Make A Treasure Map

13 April 2011

Drawing pirate maps

The challenge I faced last week was, how do you keep five little boys occupied? My son turned six. His birthday tea had a pirate theme. At least that was the plan, although on the day my son decided he wanted to dress as a dinosaur.

One good idea I came across was to draw their own pirate, treasure maps on Ye Olde Pirate Parchment paper. It was just as well I made quite a bit of the paper, because the boys loved it. They happily sat there scribbling out 'treasure' maps for the best part of a half hour.

Paper beforeFor this, all you need is some white paper, cold leftover tea or coffee, and er that's about it. When I'd planned on using some paper myself to make a map for a treasure hunt (abandoned idea as garden not big enough) I'd practiced using watercolour paints with a set of artists brushes from the pound shop (12 brushes for 99p).

Now, to make the parchment paper. First, you need to tear around the edges of the paper you're using. You don't want any straight edges. Then, have a cup of tea or coffee, and plus an extra cup to use for the project.

Although I used coffee, I've since found that most people recommend using tea. This might have given a darker, more mottled look to the paper. You could experiment a little with both.

Paper in coffee

First, I tried using an old ice cream container to soak the paper in. But this really isn't big enough and you have to keep moving the paper around. Next, I used an old oven tray. I expect a baking tray would work well too.

This way the paper could lay flat, and I could just leave it. After three or four hours soaking in the cold coffee and the coffee grinds, I took the paper out and left it on a plate to dry. I did this just in the mornings, and again in the evening, over the course of a couple of weeks.

The end effect is good. The paper looks dirty and aged, and has a slightly brittle but rough quality. One effect that I wasn't expecting was that the torn edges all came out a dark brown colour. This was a bonus as it saved me having to try and singe the edges with a match. I hadn't been looking forward to doing that!
Finished paper

What do you think?

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