Rolled Treasure Map Pirate Party Invitation

31 May

Inspired by this, the first thing I did to prepare for Sam’s pirate themed birthday party was to decide on the cake.  After debating a pirate ship, a pirate face or a message in a bottle cake, I  finally settled on a treasure chest.  A treasure map invitation was a natural complement to the cake theme.

Building on my mother’s coffee paper staining technique we used for my own childhood projects, here’s how I made these fun rolled treasure map invitations for Sam’s party:


  • printer paper
  • pirate fonts and images (downloadable here)
  • tea bags (one tea bag will cover about 3 invitations)
  • hot water
  • raffia (or other string)

Step 1

Download these great free pirate fonts and images from FontSpace if you don’t already have some of your own.  I used Rapscallion (Ryan Splint) and Treasure Map Deadhand (GemFonts).  Make sure you play around with all of the letters, numbers and symbols, plus use the shift and control keys, so you have access to the jolly roger and other pirate images available.

Step 2

Decide on the pirate language for your invitation.  I drew inspiration from these pirate lingo resources:  The Pirate’s Realm and Language Realm.

Then print out the invitations.  Remember to print out extras in case you rip or burn a few copies during Steps 3 or 4.

Step 3

Get your tea bags, hot water and printed invitations ready.

Dip a tea bag in the hot water and either wipe the paper with the bag or firmly press the bag into the paper.  I preferred pressing the tea bags into the invitation so that the color came out nice and dark.

Note:  the color fades a few shades when the paper dries.  Also, if you drag the tea bags with too much pressure, the bags will rip.

Step 4

Once the invitations are dry, crumple and crinkle the paper as much as you like.  (It looks even better when you do this step when the paper is wet, but it’s much more time consuming since you have to be meticulous about not ripping the paper).

For a really authentic look and feel, burn the edges of the paper.  I tried this for the first few invitations, but after nearly burning the house down, I abandoned the idea.

Step 5

Roll the finished invitations and tie them with natural or brown raffia.

A few things to think about when making your invitations:

  1. Make sure to build drying time in to your schedule.
  2. A fun variation would be to create an actual map using well-known landmarks and an X to mark the spot of the party.
  3. You could hand deliver your invitations in a bottle filled with sand and seashells.
  4. If you mail the invitations in an envelope, they will flatten out somewhat in the mailing process.

An invitation in a bottle like this one from Chica and Jo would have been totally cool, but since I needed to mail out the invitations and wanted to avoid having them opened for inspection by an over-zealous postal worker, I opted to stuff our homemade treasure map invitations into manila envelopes.  To spruce things up, I sealed the envelopes with a skull and crossbones sticker and added a jolly roger image to the clear mailing address labels.

That didn’t mean Jane didn’t have a sticky good time trying to tape up some bottles in case we used a few for party decorations.

Did I say tape up a bottle?

{Don’t let your toddler try the self-taping technique at home …  you’ll need a lot of olive oil and some vaseline to peel off the tape without the ouch factor}

If you don’t have the time or patience to create your own pirate party invitation, don’t despair – download The Outlaw Mom’s Free Pirate Party Invitation Printable here

Yo ho ho.
lil luna link party button

3 Responses to “Rolled Treasure Map Pirate Party Invitation”


  1. Ahoy, Me Hearties! | Candy In Disguise - August 19, 2011

    […] Treasure Map:  The Outlaw Mom describes a great way to make authentic looking pirate map invites using paper and some tea […]

  2. Yo Ho Mateys « Let Them Eat Cake - July 19, 2011

    […] Treasure Map:  The Outlaw Mom describes a great way to make authentic looking pirate map invites using paper and some tea […]

  3. Pirate Themed Birthday Party « The Outlaw Mom - June 12, 2011

    […] read about my inspiration for Sam’s pirate themed first birthday party and how to make your own pirate party invitation – now here’s how our party turned out and some ideas for your buccaneer […]

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