A QUICK Pirates of the Caribbean Map build


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How it started:
I went looking for a decent map to get my wife for the holidays...as she's a HUGE Johnny Depp fan. Especially Pirates of the Caribbean. I didn't really find ANY for sale that I thought were very good, but I did find a few good builds here on the RPF! Then that got me thinking I should just make my own.

However, I had a few limitations right out of the gate...
If I was going to make my own, that meant I didn't want to still end up spending a fortune on materials, etc. And where was this going to go once I was done with it (we have quite a few things at home already...not a lot of space)?

So this led to a few parameters:
I decided the scale would be no more than 13" for the largest dimension, both because I already have a printer that maxes out at that and so that it could be hung on a wall at home without too much disruption. This also ended up very helpful for image size v. resolution in the end, anyhow.


Here are my materials:

First, the IMAGE.
I sourced all the images I could from this very helpful thread: http://www.therpf.com/f9/pirates-caribbean-mao-kun-map-117484/
And whatever I could find on google.

PRINTING substrate.
I wanted this too look as authentic as I could make it. It was a bit of a toss-up between trying some type of parchment to get the aged effect v. canvas that would still give it a nice feel, and really be more flexible. I went with Canvas. A 13" x 20' roll of Epson brand.

For this, I actually ordered a 17" x 24" bamboo placemat from Amazon:


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The first thing I did was work on the image...
Using a few of the files from the RPF and a few from google, it was a little challenging.

The only GOOD image of the entire map was scanned from a book and had the center gutter in the way. The best resolution pic I had was of the Fountain of Youth version and only the center part (that Jack cuts out of the larger map)...and I didn't really want the round shape.

So I actually ended up combining maybe 3-4 images to make my "combo" map of the version seen in At World's End and On Stranger Tides. The result was a pretty decent background and actually better, and better resolution the closer to center of the map you look. I ended up feathering an "unmask" filter on the outer parts to sharpen it a bit there too though. And other than that, a few adjustments to the colors, some dodge & burning, and Photoshop pretty much pulled this part together. The hardest part was lining up the various circles (which seem to be black no some versions and red on others). I also used a feathered-edge erase tool on some of the layers to blend them into each other better.

Loading the Epson canvas into my Epson printer via the roll feeder on the back was a whole diff. story. Kind of a nightmare, but beautiful print quality made it all worth it. I opted to actually print at 12.5" wide just to be sure I didn't lose any image.


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So next I tackled the bamboo placemat...

I literally cut the fabric edge/trim off by just snipping the thread at the ends and pulling. The mat came backed with a fabric/rubber material for anti-skid, which I left on until I was ready to mount the canvas to that side.

The only real downside to this bamboo was that it seemed awfully glossy. I'm not sure if it was just the bamboo's natural finish, or if there was some kind of clear-coat applied. Either way, I decided to take a palm-sander to it and roughen it up before painting. It was relatively flat, so no big deal.

I painted the non-fabric side with black, satin finish spray-paint (Krylon). Took about 3 coats to even out.

I peeled away (very easy) the fabric side after paint was dry so that all that was left was a mesh netting the bamboo was actually attached to.


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Next I decided I wanted some sort of "tie" on the back of this thing. I found some black twill that was only about 3/4" wide and seemed nice for the scale of this map. I also decided it could double as a way to hang the thing on the wall when it was all done.

I only used about 12" of it and tucked the ends through the bamboo pieces, centered left-to-right about 3-4 piece in from both sides. And about 1/4 of the way down looking at the back. Then I kept the 1" - 1.5" sticking through to the mesh/net side and just made sure it was laying flat before the next step.

Next I used Super 77 spray adhesive and sprayed the entire mesh/netting AND the back of the printed image on canvas. (At this point nothing has been trimmed either. There's still white around my image, and the bamboo is plenty bigger than that.) I waited about a minute and place the canvas image-side up on the sprayed netting, centered left-to-right and covering the exposed twill coming through from the other side.

Then I put down some craft paper over the whole thing, and used a print-making type roller to burnish everything down.


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So now everything was stuck together, but still not trimmed.

I decided the band saw would be the best way to cut it dow.
At first I started to just cut this down to its rectangular outline created by the image...but then decided purposely straying into the image a little here and there was a nice touch. Makes it look a little more authentic too.

Once the map was trimmed, I took a Sharpie "Magnum" black marker to the newly exposed edges. I use these to touch up wood-frames too, and they seem to have a true black (as opposed to some regular sharpies looking slightly purple in the light. Luckily no bleed into the canvas too.

I decided then that I should distress the image a bit too, to match the slightly rough edge. (The image itself has color variations, ink stains, etc...but other than those instances, I did not do anything to the image on the computer side.) So I actually grabbed a rougher grit sanding block and hit the canvas in a few spots. It worked great, just scuffing the ink off in a few spots. I was also a nice was of treating a few areas that were lower-res quality in the first place, as a distraction.

Then I got crazy. I actually lit up the Braun hand-held torch and hit a few of the dark spots. Luckily it held up, so I hit a few edges too. Here the canvas did start to shrink up a little, but nothing major. It still stayed glued.

I also took the sanding block to the back in a few spots so it wasn't super-clean either.


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I think it's finished size is about 12.25" x just under 16"

Took about a day to work on building the image. Maybe 1/2 a day to assemble.

I did go back after looking at it for a day and re-trace some of the circles in the image with a template and a red & black sharpie. This made them a bit sharper. I also sprayed a matte fixative over the whole thing.

We hung it up above a signed theatrical poster for POTC we have in a hallway / stair landing in our home. Looks pretty cool. Hangs in an interesting manner where it's not flat, but rather in a weird kind of wavy position. I'll have to add a photo.

Only thing I would have changed was the twill on the back. Works great for hanging the map, but otherwise doesn't really function properly as a prop/replica. Should have been 2 pieces both coming from the same slot in the back...in the middle. This way you could roll it up and tie the two pieces around it. Oh well. :rolleyes
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