Create Antique Paper


Most newspapers, when describing geocaching to their readership, refer to geocaching as “modern day treasure hunting”. In many ways they are correct, and I’ve met geocachers who thought at least partly, that they were Indiana Jones in search of a lost relic. After hearing this from several geocachers I began to think about creating a puzzle geocache that included a treasure map of sorts, including a big ole “X” marking the spot of the final location.

But how would I get the map to look like a real treasure map? I didn’t want something that looked like it had just been printed. I wanted the map to look authentic in hopes of adding a little “coolness” factor to the cache. After doing some research online I found a process called “antiquing” which takes a fresh sheet of paper and makes it look old and weathered. The process is very easy and I was very happy with the end result.

Supplies You’ll Need

  1. Create your map in it’s entirety BEFORE starting this process.
  2. An oven
  3. Instant coffee
  4. Paper towels
  5. Cookie sheet pan
  6. Lighter


  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees (F).
  2. Place a sheet of paper on a cookie sheet.
  3. Mix up some instant coffee and pour over the paper and cookie sheet. You’ll want both sides to be covered.
  4. If you want some really dark spots on the paper, rub some instant coffee directly into the paper.
  5. Place the cookie sheet into the oven for about 6 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and lift paper from cookie sheet and onto some paper towels you’ve laid out. NOTE: the paper will be hot!
  7. Once dried, I used the lighter to burn some of the edges of the map. Just light and quickly tap out.

Further Steps

Mine smelled like coffee pretty bad after this. So I put it in a shoe box with some moth balls and that removed the smell.
After I was happy with the end result I laminated the map. You don’t have to do this, but since I was putting it out in a geocache I wanted to give it a little more protection against the elements.

Of course you don’t need to get this fancy with your geocaches, but the devil is in the details and we’ve always noticed that when we take the time to go the extra mile people notice and really respond well to the caches.

Do you have any additional hints for making interesting geocaches? Leave us a message on our Facebook Wall or leave a comment below. Thanks and cache on!

  1. Mark

    Where’s a picture of the finished paper. We would love to see it.

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