How To Create a Map in Minecraft

Maps make exploring new terrain a little easier. You can mark where you’ve been, where you need to return to, and sometimes find your way home. Minecraft is no different in this respect – the maps in the game are indispensable for keeping track of your surroundings.

How To Create a Map in Minecraft

But Minecraft maps work a little differently than other games, though. Instead of showing where you need to go via an in-game GPS or mini-map, it tells you where you’ve already been. The rare exception is maps looted from chests or obtained via trading.

If that sounds confusing, you’re not alone. Maps in the world of Minecraft take a little getting used to, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you got around without them.

Read on to find out all things map-related in Minecraft. Learn everything from what you need to craft them and how to actually make them to how to use them once you have them.

Making a Map in Minecraft

Minecraft uses a unique mechanic for its map feature. Instead of a static map lodged somewhere in your menu or a GPS mini-map planted in the corner of your screen, Minecraft wants you to go old-school.

Imagine those cartographers who ventured into the wilderness to map new, unexplored lands throughout history. In Minecraft, you’re the cartographer. Instead of having maps instantly available to you, you need to craft them yourself and explore the terrain to “draw” the map yourself.

Required Materials to Make a Map in Minecraft

There are two main components needed to craft maps in Minecraft. You need paper, and you need a compass.

Paper (9 Sugar Cane)

Even if you just started playing the game, chances are that you’ve come across sugar cane in your explorations. They like water, so you’ll find them in different biomes near lakes, rivers, etc.

You craft paper in multiples of three with a one-to-one ratio: one sugar cane makes one piece of paper. But when you use the crafting table, you’ll use three sugar canes for three pieces of paper.

  1. Place 3 Sugar Cane in a row in your crafting table.
  2. Drag the resulting pieces of paper into your inventory.

Do this three times, and you’ll end up with nine pieces of paper. You only need eight pieces of paper to craft a map, but you can use the extra ninth piece for a different project.

Compass (4 Iron Ingots + 1 Redstone Dust)

You’ll also need to craft a compass if you don’t have one already. Both Iron and Redstone Ore are plentiful near the bottom of the world, so it’s time to grab a pickaxe. Just make sure that the pickaxe is an iron one or better. It’s the only way you’ll be able to mine redstone for the compass.

You will need at least four Iron Ore and one Redstone Dust. Redstone Ore usually gives you 4-5 pieces of Redstone Dust. Once you have all the components, you have a two-step process ahead of you to make a compass:

Step One – Crafting Ingots

First, you’ll need to smelt four iron ore blocks into ingots.

  1. Open the furnace menu.
  2. Add a fuel source to the bottom box.
  3. Add your Iron Ore to the box above the fuel source.
  4. Wait for the furnace to smelt your iron ore.
  5. Drag your new iron ingots into your inventory.

Step Two – Craft a Compass

Now that you have all the necessary components, it’s time to craft a compass for your map:

  1. Open the crafting table menu.
  2. Place the Redstone Dust in the center of the grid.
  3. Add the iron ingots in the spaces surrounding the Redstone (above, below, left, and right).
  4. Drag and drop the new compass into your inventory.

Crafting a Map in Minecraft

You’ve gathered, mined, crafted, and smelted your resources. Now, you’re ready to make a map. Head to your crafting table and follow these steps:

  1. Open the crafting menu.
  2. Place the compass in the center box in the crafting grid.
  3. Place one piece of paper in each of the empty boxes surrounding the compass, totaling nine paper slots.
  4. Take your empty map and put it in your inventory.

How to Use the Map

You crafted an “empty map” and are ready for your next adventure. But hold on, the map is blank, and that’s not helpful to you at all. Remember that unique Minecraft mechanic that allows you to create the map as you explore? It’s time to fill in that map of yours.

To use the map, equip it from your inventory. Once you do, right-click as if you were using a crafting table. You’ll notice lines appear on that previously blank piece of yellowed paper. Your map is coming together right before your eyes.

Wander around, and you’ll find that your map fills in the details of your surroundings. You can even see yourself on the map. Just look for the little white marker.

Once you use the map, it won’t be called an empty map anymore. Instead, the game assigns it a number so that you can differentiate between filled maps and empty ones.

How to Expand the Map

Did you know that you can expand your map up to four times? Each time you expand a map, you get a bigger map with more areas to fill as you explore the landscape.

To start from a “Level 0” or a newly crafted and filled map, check out the process below:

  1. Go to your crafting table and open the menu.
  2. Place your current map in the middle box of the crafting grid.
  3. Place eight pieces of paper in the empty boxes surrounding your map.
  4. Place your newly expanded “Level 1” map into your inventory.

As mentioned before, you can repeat this process up to four times. Each time you expand a map, you may notice blank areas when you equip it. Don’t worry! Those areas fill in with surrounding details as you explore the world.

You can also use a cartography table to do this, and then you will only need one piece of paper rather than eight.

Additional FAQs

Do Maps Work in the Nether?

You can use maps in the Nether, but you’re only going to get a mess of orange and grey lines. You can, however, use maps in the End. They function just like they would if you were in the overworld.

How do I mark places on a map?

Marking locations on a map can be very helpful if you want to remember the location of your base or some other structure. Thankfully, Mojang made it pretty easy to mark your maps. Take a banner and give it a name in an anvil. Then if you hold your map and press the “use” button while looking at the banner, the banner will appear on your map with its name written beneath it.

Chart Your World

Maps are one of the coolest features in Minecraft. They encompass one of the most fun aspects of the game, exploration. If you use your maps effectively, you can create a giant map of all the land you’ve explored in your Minecraft world.

What do you like to use maps for? Have you made a map of your Minecraft world? Let us know in the comments below!

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