Making an Aged Map

making an aged map

We had so much fun making an aged map from a photocopy of a photo of the paper mache map we made of Great Britain for our Vikings and Anglo-Saxons unit studies. In fact, making an aged map like this one can be done using a photocopy of any map you have on hand.

Making an Aged Map in Steps

Take a photo of the map you wish to use

We used the paper mache map we had made and painted. Removing the village and the ship burial, I took a photo of the entire map. I blew it up to A4 size and printed it out multiple times. You could just as easily use a map online or photocopy from a book. I liked the idea of using a map we had actually made, but really any map at all works just as well.

paper-mache map showing offa's dyke and Sutton hoo and an Anglo-Saxon village
Our papier mache map showing an Anglo Saxon village, the burial at Sutton Hoo and Offas Dyke

Print the Map as Large as Possible

I printed my photos out onto A4 quality copy paper. Quality matters here because a flimsy paper will fall apart. Tear the edges around the map to give them a tatty, uneven look:

Making an Aged Map

Dunk the Photocopied Map into a Bowl of strong Tea

Boiling the kettle, I stewed a handful of teabags until the solution was good and strong. We placed each paper map into the tea solution, covered and left for a few minutes to absorb the tea. The timings will all be different depending on the type of paper you use. Mine took a few minutes each. I did agitate the paper because I am incapable of leaving well alone. It didn’t do any harm and I think probably helped to encourage absorption:

map soaking in tea

Dry on a Towel

I put them on our paper making sheets so that as they dried they wouldn’t stick and I pressed down to soak off excess water with a towel:

maps drying on a towel

Leave to dry

I left them to dry completely overnight. Because I was going to draw on them, they needed to be completely dry otherwise the ink would run.

Making an Aged Map

Draw the Grid

And viola!  Homemade aged maps.  Took less than five minutes and cost almost nothing (paper, ink and tea) 😇 I was chuffed with them.  Next, I marked a grid and put in X, Y co-ordinates and added a key. I did this because I wanted to use them for a bit of living maths I had planned. But you can add anything you want: landmarks, map scale, compass rose, longitude and latitude… Because I was using them for some co-ordinate graphing activities I only needed the grid, co-ordinates and a key:

Making an Aged Map

I was really pleased with how they turned out and we had great fun learning how to use Co-ordinate graphs.


  1. This looks amazing! Your kids are very lucky to have you adopting such a thorough and hands-on approach!
    Where did you get the template for the map from? I’d love to try this with my own!

    1. The template was a photo of the paper mache map we made. I free-handed the paper mache one which is why it is not very perfect 😉. Feel free to enlarge it and clip it from the post x

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