Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Make It Monday: Treasure Map

Remember how much fun we had on Talk Like A Pirate Day? Sailin' the open sea, coming face-to-face with a sea monster, adventure, and treasure! It was quite the day.

I promised a tutorial on how to make an authentic-looking treasure map. After all, every pirate needs a real map to find the treasure, right?  

Start by taking a piece of paper and tearing it to resemble a map.

Using a black pen, draw your map. I started by drawing a big land mass. Then, since this was for a real hunt through our house, I marked the path that would lead to the treasure. Don't forget X marks the spot! After that, I added the details - compass, mountains, trees, lake, a danger zone, and the waves in the sea.

For some people, this step would be really easy. Just draw some random markings and voilĂ , you have a map. I am not some people. I have never been artistic. But more and more, I'm having to draw and create things for my kids. So, I drew a map. All by myself! . . . After a trial run on another piece of paper. After spending copious amounts of time, attempting to be precise. After tracing over everything a second time to darken my first hesitant attempt.

But I did it. And my kids love it! It's by no means perfect. My eyes are drawn to the mistakes immediately. But I'm learning to except it. You know, since I'm not good at drawing I've never really done it. I've never even been a doodler. If I'm not good at something, I don't enjoy doing it. It's that perfectionism trait. Doing things with the kids though has been teaching me not to be quite so critical of myself. I mean, they don't care if my circle is not completely round or if my measurements are not exact. Kids are genuine. They love unconditionally. They teach me all the time and help me to grow as a person.

Moral of the story - even if you think I can't draw, go ahead and try making a map anyway. I guarantee your kids will see only the excitement of a treasure and be oblivious to any mistakes.

And if you can draw, then just ignore the last three paragraphs. {grin}   

After all the details are drawn on the map, wipe a wet tea bag on both sides of the paper, making sure to wet it thoroughly.

Crumble the paper and allow it to dry.

Open the map. If desired, carefully burn the edges a little at a time in an open flame, blowing on the paper to stop the burning. Of course, use extreme caution. My kids were not in the kitchen as I burned our maps using a candle. Also, you will have some ash and a lingering smoky smell. You don't have to do this step, but it does clean up the edges of the map and make it look more authentic.

If you want, you can skip tearing the paper in the first step. When you burn the edges, you will have a similar result, but you will have to burn each section longer. You will make more ash and smoke and the edges of the paper will turn black and look burnt. I tried it both ways. I definitely suggest tearing the paper first and burning it, as well.

If your map doesn't look weathered enough, you can use a brown crayon or used coffee grounds to add some character. Use either option in a sweeping motion across the paper.

Finally, dab some cooking oil on a paper towel and wipe both sides of the paper, blotting off any excess. Not only does the oil preserve the map, it really makes it look more authentic.

And now you have a convincing treasure map and are ready for your very own adventure! Make a map for a birthday party or just for playing around the house. Searching for treasure is always exciting!

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