How to Make a Pirate Treasure Map

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Tea
  • Felt tip pen
  • Baking sheet
  • Incense stick

An authentic looking pirate treasure map is easy to make. You can make one for a neighborhood treasure hunt or for cache-hunting. Your kids will enjoy making it and have loads of fun hunting for buried treasure. To create one that seems authentic, add a weathered look to the classic pieces that make up a map and make it specific to pirates. Have fun with this project on a rainy day or when you're planning your child's next birthday.

Add a skull and crossbones, compass and pirate ship to your map. Either add clip art to softcopy or draw them on a piece of paper using a felt tip pen.

Open a blank PowerPoint slide if you are creating a map online. Insert the images and resize them as you go. Save the slide and print it out. Let it dry for an hour so the ink doesn't run when you get the map wet. Print a three copies to make changes as you create the map.

Brew a cup of black tea. Let it steep for five minutes. Pour the tea on a baking sheet and immerse the map in the tea so it is completely covered. The tea darkens the map and gives it an aged look. Take the map out after a few minutes, let the tea drip off, then lay it out on a dark towel to dry. The map darkens as it dries. Handle the wet map carefully, as the paper is very fragile and can tear easily.

Use a waterproof marker to draw the detailed directions on your treasure map when the paper is dry. Go outdoors, take an incense stick and burn the edges so it no longer looks as a sheet of paper. Burn some small holes in the map with the end of the incense. Have a damp napkin handy to keep the burn marks from spreading too far.


  • Crumple the paper up when it's almost dry to give it a more aged look. Roll the map up when finished and tie with a scrap of cloth so it looks like a scroll, rather than folding it up. Use this same technique to make invitations to a pirate party.


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