How to Antique or Age a Map

A map that looks old and antiqued
A map that looks old and antiqued (Image: a fragment of ancient map image by alma_sacra from

Maps are interesting, even when they are fake. Many fantasy books include detailed maps of places that don't exist. Sometimes you may want to take an existing map, or one you have made up yourself, and age it so that it looks old and important. This is particularly fun with children when the map may show the location of hidden pirate treasure or other goodies. Adding the antique effect to a map or other paper drawing is simple and inexpensive.

Things You'll Need

  • Real map
  • Laser-printed map
  • Stationery paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Squirt bottle
  • Tea or coffee
  • Drying rack

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Place your real map or laser-printed map on a cookie sheet. If you are making your own map, select a higher grade of paper, such as stationery paper, instead of regular bond paper, as this will hold up better to your antiquing process. Do not use ink-jet printed paper, because the inks may run.

Fill a squirt bottle with tea or coffee mixed with water. The amount of tea or coffee you use will depend on how dark you want your stain. Start with a little bit of coffee or tea and add more until you reach the shade you like.

Squirt the back of the paper and place it on the cookie sheet right side up. Squirt the front until it is wet. Sprinkle bits of coffee grounds or tea leaves on areas you want to darken. Wipe off any bits after five minutes.

Rub along the edges with your fingertip to remove paper and make the edges uneven. Create thin spots or small holes in the paper as well. Place the paper on a cookie rack to dry. Turn the paper over when it starts to curl.


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