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How to Make Paper Look Old

Last Updated: February 19, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Nicole Bolin . Nicole Bolin is a Crafting Specialist and the CEO of Stencil, a DIY Craft Studio in Phoenix, Arizona. Nicole specializes in interior design and various craft and DIY projects. Nicole holds a Certificate in Interior Design from the New York Institute of Art and Design. She opened Stencil in 2017 to teach others to create DIY projects that fit their home and lifestyle. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 40 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 3,153,510 times.

Whether you’re looking to spruce up an art project or give a poem a better platform than printer paper, you might need to age a sheet of paper. While the internet has many aging methods for you to try, crumpling and spritzing is the top action to take. If this doesn’t give your paper the aged look you were hoping for, try the stain and bake method, use flame and heat , or bury the paper to give it that ancient, weathered look.

Crumpling and Spritzing

Nicole Bolin

  • Note that the liquid you use will give the paper a different look. Water won’t color the paper, but will enable further alterations. Tea will give a slight brown color, while coffee will give the sheet a darker color.
  • If you want to make darker, deeper creases, crumple the damp paper again. Be careful not to rip the page in half.
  • Alternatively, you can use a hair dryer to speed up this process.

Staining and Baking

Step 1 Choose and brew your solvent.

  • If using coffee, you can darken or lighten the color by using more or less coffee grounds.
  • With tea, the resulting shade of your sheet of paper will be affected by how long you leave the tea in the water. A longer infusion will result in a darker shade, while a short infusion will make for a lighter shade.
  • Let your liquid cool before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3 Preheat the oven to 200ºF (90ºC).

  • If you’d like to create a more vivid, spotty pattern, you can sprinkle coffee grounds on the paper, letting them stand for a few minutes.

Using Flame and Heat

Step 1 Take a sheet of paper over a sink.

  • As you move the flame along the paper’s edges, make sure you’re moving away from your hand to avoid potential burns.
  • If you want to burn holes into your sheet of paper, leave it above the flame slightly longer. The heat will eventually burn through, and a small flame will catch. Be quick to blow it out.
  • If the paper catches fire quicker than you can blow it out, drop it in the sink and douse it in water.

Burying Paper in the Yard

Printable template.

how to make a paper vintage

Expert Q&A

Nicole Bolin

  • The paper looks more antique and refined when you burn it while it is still damp from staining. Thanks Helpful 13 Not Helpful 3
  • Soy sauce works fine, although it may give a darker stain than you wish, so you can dilute it with water. It is best to use soy sauce with baking method. Thanks Helpful 9 Not Helpful 2
  • Make sure you don't use too much liquid; otherwise, your paper may tear. Thanks Helpful 9 Not Helpful 3

how to make a paper vintage

  • If you are using the Soaking Method, do not attempt to soak several pieces of paper at one time. The pages will stick together. Instead, soak your pages individually, using the same tea. Thanks Helpful 73 Not Helpful 20
  • When baking, do not use a baking rack or anything that does not have a solid bottom with no holes, otherwise, you will have lighter markings where the baking rack is positioned. Thanks Helpful 17 Not Helpful 2
  • Don't let the paper soak for too long, or it will begin to degrade. Thanks Helpful 57 Not Helpful 22
  • If there is writing on the paper, do not soak it in liquid if it is in ink, or it will spread and will become illegible. Use biro or pencil. Thanks Helpful 54 Not Helpful 24
  • Don't put your paper too close to a flame, or it will light on fire. Thanks Helpful 56 Not Helpful 29
  • If you are under 18, have an adult supervise you when you’re using fire. Thanks Helpful 25 Not Helpful 16

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet of paper
  • Teabag or coffee
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge brush
  • Baking sheet or pan
  • Paper towels
  • Candle or lighter

You Might Also Like

Age Paper Using Tea

  • ↑ Nicole Bolin. Crafts & DIY Specialist. Expert Interview. 9 September 2020.
  • ↑ https://craftcue.com/how-to-make-paper-look-old
  • ↑ https://gomakesomething.com/ht/age/aging-paper/
  • ↑ https://www.curbly.com/863-how-to-antique-paper
  • ↑ https://www.enkivillage.org/how-to-make-paper-look-old.html
  • ↑ https://offbeatbride.com/how-to-make-antiqued-paper/
  • ↑ https://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/pirates/mmap.html

About This Article

Nicole Bolin

To make a new sheet of paper look old, crumple it into a tight ball. Smooth it out and use a squirt bottle or your fingers to spritz the paper with tea or water until it’s slightly damp. Tear off the edges, remove small circles with your fingernails, and pinch small sections to make the paper look rough and old. Lay it out to air dry, or blow it with a hair dryer until it’s crisp and ready for use! Depending on the effect you’re trying to achieve, you may also want to stain the paper with tea and bake it in the oven, use heat to darken and yellow the paper, or bury it for a while. Read on to learn how long to bake your paper in the oven to age it! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Antique Paper

by DIY Maven on Nov 3, 2021

how to antique paper

In a world driven by digital dominance, the allure of the past often captures our imagination. One way to bring a touch of nostalgia into our lives is through the art of aging paper. Whether you’re a craft enthusiast, a history buff, or simply appreciate the aesthetic of weathered documents, aging paper can transport you to another time. This transformative process not only adds character but also imbues your creations with a sense of authenticity.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art of aging paper, revealing the techniques, materials, and steps required to achieve remarkable results. From antique-style stationery and historical replicas to vintage-inspired artwork and DIY projects, the possibilities are endless. So, let’s embark on a journey through time and unlock the secrets of creating beautifully aged paper!

Supplies You’ll Need for Aging Paper

  • A piece of paper you want to age. (I used regular 24 lb. laser paper. Of course, print your poem, passage of writing, and etc. to the page before you attempt to antique it.)
  • 1/4 cup of hot, black coffee. (Although I’ve only used coffee, I’m sure tea would work.)
  • A teaspoon or so of instant coffee. (I haven’t used fresh ground coffee or tea leaves, but they might work too.)
  • A baking sheet (cookie sheet) larger than the piece of paper you want to antique.
  • Sponge brush, or soft bristle brush.
  • Paper towels.

How To Give Paper an Aged Look

  • Pre-heat oven to lowest setting. For me it was 200 degrees.

Words are printed on a crumpled white sheet of paper.

  • Let stand for a few minutes, letting the coffee crystals “blossom.”

A person is wiping a piece of paper with words on it.

  • Slide sheet into oven. Keep a watch on your project just in case of flame ups.

Several paragraphs written on old brown paper

What To Do With With Your Vintage Sheet

Frame your antiqued poem or passage for a great-looking piece of cheap art; or use it to make your sweetie a heart-felt Valentine. Antiqued paper also looks great as a backdrop for photographs, serving as recessed matting. I’d only use copies of treasured photos for archival reasons, however.

Words are printed on a yellowing paper in a white frame.

Aged paper possesses a certain magic that enchants us with its unique charm. The patina of time adds depth, character, and a story to each page, breathing life into the past. Whether it’s a handwritten letter, a map, a vintage book, or a historical document, the yellowed edges, faded ink, and delicate creases create an aura of authenticity and nostalgia.

Looking for more paper crafts and inspiration?

  • Check out our collection of paper crafts
  • Make This: DIY Scandinavian Wall Hanging
  • How to: DIY Embroidered Monstera Leaf Wall Art (with Printable Template)
  • DIY Place Cards With Faux Calligraphy

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18 Comments

how to make a paper vintage

So easy! And it totally worked. Thanks!

how to make a paper vintage

Or you can take a iron and keep pressing over it

how to make a paper vintage

Could you maybe post your results?

how to make a paper vintage

Will it be fine if I write on the paper before this process instead of printing it? Or will the ink run of?

how to make a paper vintage

I love the look, but need it to laminated. Would that work at all? or would the laminating ruin the effect you have with the crinkles??

how to make a paper vintage

can you blow dry the paper instead of put it in the oven?

how to make a paper vintage

I just tried this and it works really great!! Other websites recommend buying parchment paper, but this really looks way more authentic. I baked on 175 degrees celsius. Don’t walk away because it bakes really fast.

how to make a paper vintage

I am thinking of using this as a piece in a multi-media work I am doing. I wonder how it would hold up to varnishing? Anybody have any ideas?

how to make a paper vintage

Thank you so much! This worked amazing! I did not wrinkle my paper because I am using it in a project and wasn’t sure I would like the wrinkles. I also used regular (finely ground) coffee grounds sprinkled on the top and it worked just as good as the instant.

how to make a paper vintage

i think that this is a great way to make paper look old! it is uniqe and great!

how to make a paper vintage

I love your technique of aging paper. This year I’m making my own valentines card and wanting to age the prints. Thank you

how to make a paper vintage

Will this work on photograph paper?

how to make a paper vintage

No any water to photograph paper will cause ink to run

how to make a paper vintage

Can we do this with ten page at once?

how to make a paper vintage

Wow! I never thought of doing this. It super cool! Thanks for sharing.

how to make a paper vintage

I like this idea

how to make a paper vintage

I must’ve done something wrong because my paper stuck to the pan. Any tips???

how to make a paper vintage

Oh no! Could there have been too much water left on the paper? Or perhaps it was in the oven too long?

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how to antique paper

Rose Clearfield

How to Make New Paper Look Old: Tested Techniques

How to Make New Paper Look Old Tested Techniques

Learning how to make new paper look old is a fun way to add vintage flair to a wealth of DIY projects.

The process is straightforward, quick, and very affordable. Most likely you already have everything that you need at home to transform brand new paper into antiqued paper, which means you can get started right away. Happy creating!

How to Make New Paper Look Old | https://www.roseclearfield.com

Why do I want to make new paper look old instead of purchasing vintage paper?

Most people reading this article already have a specific purpose in mind for their DIY antique paper. Additionally, most likely you also already know that you’d rather make it instead of buy it. If so, skip ahead to figure out exactly how you’re going to age your paper for your particular project.

DIY antique sheet music tile with tiger lily. Such a simple, beautiful piece of handmade home decor! #DIY #sheetmusic #tigerlily | https://www.roseclearfield.com

However, if you’re still on the fence, there are a few key reasons to learn how to make new paper look old for craft projects and other creative endeavors.

  • Full creative control. Aging your own paper allows you to create the exact aesthetic you want with the exact paper you want.
  • Cost. Making new paper look antique is extremely affordable. I spent exactly zero dollars to create all of the examples in this post because I already had everything on hand. You’ll spend money on genuine vintage papers or many high-quality printables. You’ll also spend money printing free vintage papers in full color.
  • No time wasted searching for vintage materials. While it does take time to make new paper look old, you won’t spend hours searching for just the right genuine vintage book, sheet music, or other material.

Making brand new paper look vintage or antique is simple, quick, and inexpensive. | https://www.roseclearfield.com

The basic process for how to make new paper look old

The process of making new paper look antique or vintage is very straightforward. After I walk you through the basic steps, I’ll go into more detail about the variations you can use to achieve different aged aesthetics.

  • Collect or print out the new paper you want to look old. If you’re using ink-jet printed paper, give it a couple of coats of spray acrylic . Let it dry completely before proceeding.
  • Select an aging medium.
  • Set up your paper on old cookie sheets, so you can apply your aging medium without making a mess. If you opt to dry your paper in the oven, use an oven-safe cookie sheet or other pan.
  • Apply the aging medium using the application technique of your choice.
  • Allow it to air dry or dry it using an oven or heat gun.
  • If you’d like a darker vintage look, repeat the application and drying process.

Three of the most common mediums for creating antiqued paper: tea, coffee, and lemon juice. | https://www.roseclearfield.com

Aging mediums

There are three most commonly used aging mediums to make new paper look old. While there are other tactics, I stuck with these timeless methods.

  • Tea. Tea produces a light-medium antique aesthetic with air or heat drying.
  • Coffee. Tea produces a medium-dark antique aesthetic with air or heat drying.
  • Lemon juice. You have to heat dry lemon juice for the paper to turn dark. You also have to dry it for considerably longer than you need to dry paper treated with tea or coffee. I discuss this concept more in the drying techniques section below.

Setup for application and drying

Making brand new paper look vintage or antique is simple and extremely affordable! Create customized paper for your DIY projects with ease. | https://www.roseclearfield.com

I create all of my vintage paper on cookie sheets. When I let the paper air dry, I use super cheap super cookie sheets that are solely for craft purposes. They are trashed, and I don’t care if they get stained. When I dry the paper in the oven, I use mid-level baking sheets (aka not the high-end USA Pans I use for baking cookies and rolls).

Newly antiqued paper drying on flat drying rack to speed up the process. #DIY #antiquedpaper #crafts | https://www.roseclearfield.com

You can let vintage paper air dry right on the cookie sheets. To speed up the drying process slightly, transfer the paper to a flat dish drying rack or cookie cooling rack . I put the cookie sheet right under the drying or cooling rack to catch any drips.

Application options

There were two primary ways that I made my brand new paper look antique, which are as follows.

Getting ready to make new paper look antique or vintage. Brush tea on paper with a pastry or basting brush. | https://www.roseclearfield.com

Brushing or spraying

For a lighter vintage aesthetic, brush or spray on your aging medium. I used a pastry or basting brush and plastic spray bottle , as I had both of these items on hand. If you opt for a brush or spray technique, you will have to apply multiple coats of aging medium, unless you want a very light vintage look. It takes about three hours for each brushed or sprayed coat to dry.

Let the paper dry completely between each layer. Similar to watercolor painting, there is an extent to how much medium the paper can soak up at one time. When you want a darker aesthetic, apply multiple brushed or sprayed layers.

Setup for making new paper look old with super cheap cookie sheets! #DIY #howto #makenewpaperlookold | https://www.roseclearfield.com

For a darker vintage aesthetic, pour your aging medium over the entire piece of paper. Paper with poured aging medium takes considerably longer to dry. I’ve had poured papers take anywhere from 12-24 hours to dry. To be safe, I would plan to leave it overnight.

Drying techniques

There are two basic ways to dry newly aged paper, which are as follows.

Air drying newly vintaged paper is a great

Air drying is the easiest option for drying vintaged paper, as it requires no further effort. Unless you’re using a pouring application technique with coffee, it will produce a light-medium aesthetic. Air drying also takes considerably longer than heat drying.

Oven or heat drying

You can speed up the drying process for making paper look old and produce a darker aesthetic with the same number of coats by drying paper in the oven or with a hair dryer or heat gun. I set my oven to 350 degrees and used the following baking times for the above pictured papers (as listed below, left to right).

  • Coffee: 5 minutes
  • Tea: 10 minutes (added a second coat after 5 minutes)
  • Lemon juice: 20 minutes

Drying newly vintaged paper with a hair dryer or heat gun speeds up the process considerably and helps flatten the paper. | https://www.roseclearfield.com

It takes approximately 15 minutes to heat dry antiqued paper using a hair dryer or heat gun . I wouldn’t purchase a heat gun solely to make new paper look old. But it’s a good option if you already own one. Otherwise, a hair dryer is just as effective. I set the hair dryer on low with high heat. Using a setting above low produced a bit of a burned smell.

Hair dryer and heat gun drying help aged paper dry flatter. I also flipped my paper periodically while using the hair dryer and heat gun, which I think helped with the flattening process. Oven and air dried paper tend to require flattening before they can be used for DIY projects. I just let my papers hang out under some heavy books for a couple of days, which helped considerably. You can also apply a light iron to flatten your aged paper quickly.

The hair dryer and heat gun methods don’t produce darkened edges. Air and oven drying do produce this aesthetic.

Crumpling your brand new paper before antiquing it adds to the aged aesthetic. | https://www.roseclearfield.com

Do I need to crumple my paper to achieve an antique look?

A number of aging paper tutorials recommend crumpling your paper. I crumpled some of the papers you see here before aging them and left others flat. With proper aging medium and sufficient drying time, you will achieve an antique look with or without crumpling your paper. Crumpling adds to the aged look because it gives the paper creases and even tears. It’s up to you if you want these elements as part of your final aged aesthetic.

I create a lot of DIY crafts with sheet music printed on card stock , such as my just a note sheet music greeting cards . As such, some of the papers you see here are card stock. Not surprisingly, card stock rips a lot more easily when you crumple it. Take this factor into consideration when deciding how you want to age your paper.

Making brand new paper look old is a simple, fun process for creating customized paper for a wealth of DIY projects! | https://www.roseclearfield.com

Practice makes perfect

I hope that the tips I’ve outlined will help you achieve your desired look for your vintaged paper fairly easily. However, if you want to hone your technique and produce a really consistent aesthetic, it will take practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different aging mediums and drying techniques.

DIY antiqued paper is ideal for creating personalized DIY projects! #DIY #antique #craftprojects | https://www.roseclearfield.com

One final note about making new paper look old

If you’re using any type of inkjet-printed paper, I highly recommend applying a couple of coats of spray acrylic before applying an aging medium. Apply spray acrylic in a well-ventilated area, and allow it to dry completely before using the paper. Without spray acrylic, your ink will run. You do not need to coat laser-printed or commerically-printed paper.

DIY craft projects with homemade antiqued paper: greeting card, clothespin magnets, and glass magnets. #DIY #sheetmusic #antique | https://www.roseclearfield.com

What can I make with aged paper?

There are so many fun DIY projects and other creative uses for vintage or antique paper. They include, but are not limited to, the following.

  • Greeting cards
  • Holiday ornaments
  • Glass and bottle cap magnets
  • Clothespins
  • Paper flowers
  • Paper cones for food or flowers
  • Gift wrap and gift tags
  • Scrapbook embellishments
  • Art journals or junk journals
  • Seasonal and general home decor, including wall art
  • Wedding components: centerpieces, table numbers, etc.
  • Mixed media projects
  • Decoupaged trays
  • Furniture (i.e., tabletops)

A few of my own DIY tutorials that are awesome for aged paper:

  • Sheet Music Glass Magnets
  • Sheet Music Clothespin Magnets
  • Vintage Sheet Music Botanical Tile Coasters
  • Scrapbook Embellishments

Free printable vintage paper is a great way to get an antique aesthetic for your DIY projects without the work of making your own paper look old. | https://www.roseclearfield.com

I would rather print vintage paper than make my own vintage paper. Where can I find vintage paper online?

There are numerous free and for pay digital vintage paper resources online. The list below includes a small handful of the best free resources available.

I have a few of my own free printable vintage paper resources and will be adding more over the coming months!

  • 50 Free Vintage Dictionary Page Printables
  • Free Printable Vintage Hymns Sheet Music

A few of my other favorite resources for vintage paper:

  • The Old Design Shop Blog – Vintage Image Treasury One of the most impressive collections of antique graphics you’ll find anywhere online. Julie has an Etsy shop with more fantastic, very reasonably priced offerings.
  • Free Images – The Graphics Fairy A vast array of offerings including lots of holiday-themed collections and a great round-up of dictionary pages .
  • Antique Graphics to Print – Knick of Time Huge collection of antique printables – postcards, sheet music, advertisements, and more.
  • Vintage printables – Remodelaholic Another huge collection with Christmas music, graphics, maps, and more.
  • Vintage maps – Pillar Box Blue One of the best collections you’ll find of free, high-quality printable vintage maps.
  • Collage printables – Go Make Something Gorgeous printable vintage images includes stamps, postcards, seed packets, and gift tags.
  • Vintage maps – Picture Box Blue Another fantastic printable vintage maps collection with nearly a dozen US states maps.

To find for pay digital vintage paper, search Etsy . To find genuine vintage paper (i.e., sheet music, dictionaries), search eBay .

Chalkboard photo display with DIY antique sheet music clothespin magnets. Such a simple, fun way to personalize a message board! #DIY #clothespins #sheetmusic | https://www.roseclearfield.com

[Disclaimer: There are a few affiliate links in this post. Thanks for your support!]

Did you make new paper look old?

I want to see your vintaged paper and any projects you make with it! Tag your pictures #RoseClearfield on Instagram or Twitter or post a photo to my Facebook page .

Pin this post for easy access to the antique paper tutorial later!

How to Make New Paper Look Old

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2 thoughts on “How to Make New Paper Look Old: Tested Techniques”

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Thankyou for your easy to follow directions to age paper. I will be using my papers to make cards, tags, mini notebooks and junk journals as gifts for family .

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You’re very welcome! Enjoy!!

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How to Make Paper Look Old: (Easily!)

Written by Rebecca E. Parsons

This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission, you can find our privacy policy here.

How to Make Paper Look Old

Hey all my favorite crafters, it’s Rebecca E Parsons back today with a simple and easy technique tutorial – How to Age Paper! Have you ever wondered How to make paper look old? Then this post is for you!

How to Make paper look old

Below are some great Paper Aging Techniques using a household staple – Shoe Polish! I know nothing is safe when an artist gets an idea. But, Shoe Polish? Yes. Now you can raid the shoe shine kit for art supplies.

How to Age Paper

How to Make Paper Look Old Tutorial:

Aging Paper is probably one of the top five techniques we use here on The Graphics Fairy. The exquisite ephemera and images lend themselves beautifully to all sorts of aging and distressing techniques. I bet you have a few favorite techniques and more than a few tools to accomplish them with. Am I correct? WINK!

According to the Dictionary, “ Aging is the process of change in the properties of a material occurring over a period of time, either spontaneously or through deliberate action .” That is exactly what I will teach you below through a deliberate action known as Age Staining. Shoe polish is, by far, my favorite way to age, distress, and stain paper. Below, I am sharing all my experiments and tips with you for this amazing way to age paper with this waxy jewel. You can also learn several optional methods of Distressing Paper in my Paper Craft Series and in the Ancient Parchment Technique HERE !

How to Age Paper

Of course, this type of aged paper makes an exquisite technique for greeting cards, scrapbook layouts, junk journals, and all sorts of mixed media projects. I stumbled upon a blogger who uses shoe polish to age everything from tin to picture frames to decoupage images. Just like us, she loves to give an antique look to her work. So my wheels started turning about how to best teach you my favorite aging techniques.

Easy and Inexpensive Paper Aging Techniques

Distress inks are lovely products, but they are fairly expensive. Especially if you get all the colors! Coffee and tea, walnut stain, and stamp ink pads are messy to the max. I know some people even burn the edges of paper, but that can be hazardous. So I am delighted to introduce you to the shoe polish method of aging and distressing paper.

Paper Aging

Honestly, I must admit that I am all thumbs when using the standard ink pad method of aging paper. I usually make a mess that needs repaired or redone. UGH! I truly have more control and ease as to where the product goes with these technique. The polish goes exactly where I want and smooths into the paper with creamy elegance. On the left is an example of a previous attempt to age a piece of ephemera. It’s okay. At the right is the same piece with the Shoe Polish Distressing Technique. WOW…that is some difference, isn’t it?

Before and After Distressing

Best of all, Aging Paper with Shoe Polish can be done with just a few ingredients. And you probably already have most of them.

Shoe Polish Technique Materials

Shoe Polish – Brown, Black, Neutral/Clear Shoe Polish Sponges Makeup Wedges Stencil Brush Old Rag Ink Blending Applicators

Shoe Polish Paper Aging Techniques

I have a few different ways of applying the shoe polish to share with you today. I hope you have a can or two of shoe polish and will join me. The best part of this is that you only need a few supplies. Here are the Step-by-Step directions:

How to Age Paper with a Makeup Sponge

These sponges do a great job with shoe polish on edges and across the paper for spots of age. Just rub it on, especially along the edges of the pieces of torn paper where it creates nice and dark aging. A Word About Drying – I found that the polish dries almost immediately. Now this is based on how much you apply, of course. I used small amounts (a little goes a long way). After just a few seconds (maybe 10-15) I found it was pretty much set and would not move or manipulate any further. It will not rub off! !!

Drag Over the Edge Method

  • Rub the makeup sponge in the shoe polish for a few seconds. You will quickly learn how much you need.

Makeup Sponge Drag on Side of Tag

  • Move the sponge and repeat this around the entire edge. It goes quickly.

The finished tag using the Drag Over the Edge Method to Age Paper. This gives a fairly crisp edge and stays on the edges.

Makeup Sponge Drag HERO

Rub the Edge Handheld Method

  • Rub the makeup sponge in the shoe polish for a few seconds. You don’t need very much for this method.

Makeup Sponge Rub on Side of Tag

  • Keep moving around the entire edge. It goes quickly.

The finished tag using the Rub the Edge Method to Age Paper. This is a little softer edge look with the color moving farther into the paper.

Makeup Sponge Rub Edge HERO

Rub the Edge on a Flat Surface Method

  • Place the paper on a flat surface that is protected. You can use a sheet of paper. I use a piece of cardboard inside a cellophane bag.

Makeup Sponge Rub on Surface of Tag

  • You can repeat this process for a darker look.

The finished tag using the Rub Around the Edge Method to Age Paper. This is the softest look of all for edge aging.

Makeup Sponge Rub HERO

TIP : I actually prefer makeup sponges to blend or rub the shoe polish on the paper in various places until the desired color is achieved. I use a circular or swiping motion with what is left on the sponge after doing the edges. A light coat can really change the appearance of a paper even one with ink already printed on it, which I love! This pink receipt looks beautiful with random areas of aging applied to the edges and the body:

How to Age Paper Pink Receipt

How to Age Paper with a Dense Shoe Polish Sponge

These little wonders do an amazing job with shoe polish on edges and across the paper for spots of age. TIP : The sponge is pretty dense and stiff and allows for a lot of control at the edges. As a control freak, I actually prefer them because they make me look like an expert paper distresser. Just load the sponge with a little polish and apply. I hold the paper in my left hand and gently scrape over the edges in a downward motion with the sponge to distress the edges. WOW! For me this is by far the easiest way to distress edges of paper!! And these small dense shoe polish sponges are my new favorite distressing tool. 

  • Rub the dense sponge in the shoe polish for a few seconds. You don’t need much.

Dense Sponge Drag on Side of Tag

The finished tag using the Drag Over the Edge Method to Age Paper. This gives a crisp color stain close to the edge.

Dense Sponge Drag HERO

  • Rub the dense sponge in the shoe polish for a few seconds. You don’t need very much for this method.

Dense Sponge Rub on Side of Tag

The finished tag using the Rub the Edge Method to Age Paper. This gives a very random look and feel to the edges.

Dense Sponge Rub Edge HERO

Rub the Entire Surface on a Flat Surface Method

  • Place the paper on a flat surface that is protected.

How to Age Paper with Dense Sponge Rub on Surface of Tag

  • You can repeat this is random areas for a darker look here and there.

The finished tag using the Rub the Body of the Paper Method to Age Paper. This gives an overall age to the entire piece of paper.

Dense Sponge Rub Body HERO

I love how this technique looks on the edges of a piece of paper that has been torn. It accents the fibers of the paper beautifully! You can see this below:

How to Age Paper with a Stencil Brush

I like this method for its subtle, wispy effects. You can actually see the brush strokes. TIP :  Too much polish can be a disaster . Gently rub in a circular pattern along the edge of the ephemera. Most of the polish will be on the scrap paper. TIP : Reserve the stencil brush specifically for this technique. Clean it with baby oil and store it with the shoe polish! I adore how this looks when the paper is torn, as you see in the top right image below.

Stencil the Edge

  • Place your ephemera down on a piece of waste paper to protect surface.
  • Lightly load your stencil brush (I prefer a tiny 1/4″ brush).

Stencil Brush Offload

  • Keep moving around the entire edge in a fluid manner.

The finished tag using the Rub the Edge Method to Age Paper. This offers a very soft rustic and jagged look to your papers. I love seeing the brush marks.

Stencil Brush Circle on Edge HERO

Drag the Stencil Brush on the Edge

  • Make sure to rub your loaded brush on the waste paper or paper towel before you go to the ephemera. You want just a tiny bit of shoe polish on the brush tips.

How to Age Paper with Stencil Brush Drag on Side of Tag

  • Repeat moving around the entire edge. It goes quickly.

The finished tag using the Drag the Edge Stencil Brush Method to Age Paper. This gives a more crisp and wispy look to the edges of your papers.

Stencil Brush Drag on Edge HERO

Cleaning Your Tools

How to Age Paper Clean Tools

I use Baby Oil and baby Wipes to clean my tools for these methods. The shoe polish contains wax and oils. TIP : Reserve the tools you use for working with shoe polish specifically for these methods. I store mine in a zip bag with the shoe polish. It is handy and my tools are always with the polish!

Other Possibilities

Junk journal pages.

Want to age the edges of your junk journal pages ? This is the way to do it. Use the Stencil the Edge Method above to achieve this look. Does it get any better than this?

Aged Paper of a Junk Journal Page

Ageing a Finished Project

After everything is glued down, you can apply shoe polish like paste wax over the entire surface to age and stain it! Wait a few minutes and polish it with a soft rag. Voila! The dark shoe polish rests in the nooks and crannies, accenting each piece.

TIP : Remember to scan any of the aged papers for use in future projects!

Hopefully you had fun exploring How to Make Paper Look Old! You might also like How to Make Glass Look Old HERE.   I also create Photoshop Elements tutorials and craft project videos over on The Graphics Fairy Premium Membership site . You can find even more of my books, art, and whimsical shenanigans on The Bookery

May joy be with you all,

How to Make Paper Look Old

You May Also Like These

easy kraft paper covers

Brenda Warner says

June 20, 2023 at 8:34 pm

I am a “newbie” I am making all these “Bits and Pieces” but can’t get started on one book.

Karen Watson says

June 22, 2023 at 11:52 am

Hi Brenda, That’s ok! Some people make all of the bits and pieces first and then when they have enough they make the book. We have a free tutorial here help you out https://thegraphicsfairy.com/create-a-junk-journal/ I hope that helps!

Carolyn Renz says

November 26, 2019 at 8:50 pm

I have used shoe polish liquid for many, many years. I was first told about it for the kitchen cabinets in a town house I had bought and then sold. What a difference a little shoe polish made in just blending and darkening; no need to refinish. Since then I did it on old frames…same good results. So….the other day when struggling to get enough darkness with Distress Ink, I pulled out the brown shoe polish liquid. I wasn’t happy with the results on the edges of the paper! and then today Viola! I found this site. Thank you! I’m looking forward to trying it. And I have a big box of the shoe polish left over from my husband, who died several years ago.

graphicsfairy says

November 27, 2019 at 12:26 pm

I am so sorry about your husband Carolyn, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your wonderful tip with us 🙂 Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Anna Comeau says

November 18, 2019 at 8:41 pm

Thanks for the tips,i have yet to try the shoe polish but I like the look ,I will have to try it now!!

November 20, 2019 at 9:22 am

Thanks Anna, give it a try 🙂 I hope you like the results!

November 15, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Do you know if you can run the paper through a (inkjet/laser) after applying the polish?

November 16, 2019 at 4:18 pm

We haven’t tried that yet, so I’m afraid we can’t advise you on that. Perhaps someone who has tried that will comment here and let you know.

Preethi Gudivada says

November 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm

Nice Technique and a good alternative to coffee staining. I could not stand the smell of coffee on all my Ephemera.

November 16, 2019 at 4:14 pm

We’re glad you found this one useful!

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A Guide on How to Age Paper and Make a Paper Look Old

Share with whom you care:.

Aging is a process most mortals would like to combat, but when it comes to paper there is an archaic elegance to it when it is made to look old. The question asked is “how to age paper?”

It appears more authentic and sparks a spurt of creativity when engaged with arts and crafts.

If you are creating a paper-based project or making a card from scratch for your loved ones, then this technique of aging paper will definitely let you mesmerize the viewers.

The best part about the process is you can use materials available at home, in your vicinity.

Tips to Make A Paper Look Old

It may be a tad but tardy, the process… but hey hard work only breeds success, right?

So let’s dig into the art of eternalizing old age on paper!

Related Articles

  • 6 Best Paper Cutters For Teachers And Parents

How To age paper naturally?

Head’s up: If you find reading a tad bit tiresome, then just skip to the bottom of this article. There are videos attached that will help you get a better idea of how to make a paper look old using various techniques.

You can read through the article to understand how easy it to make a paper look old naturally. We are going to cover some very important and unique tips to make paper look old.

There are various organic ways to make a paper look old, with the most commonly used methods being via tea or coffee. This is the most commonly used and convenient way to age white papers available in the market.

1. Mimic of an 18th Century Paper That Survived a Massive Fire

In order for this method to work, you must have an idea about the following things so as to avoid any creatively catastrophic events:

  • The texture of the paper while using tea/coffee
  • Blended color – dark or light
  • Using an incense stick to burn out the edges of the paper

Materials required:

A teaspoon of tea/coffee powder, painting brushes (preferably thicker ones), a white sheet of paper, incense stick, a palette or ¼ of a cup filled with water and a matchbox.

Optional: Blowdryer

Beginner’s Tip:

If you are doing this for the first time, then it might be more convenient for you to blend the coffee with water and paint a few strokes on a rough sheet of paper.

This will give you an insight into the sort of texture you want, how dark/light you want the gradience to be, and also how you should stroke the brush across the sheet of paper to avoid color disruptions.

Or else the sheet may have patches of comparatively darker areas that will tamper with the overall appeal of the paper.

  • Take the palette/bowl of water and mix the tea/coffee powder as per your choice. The mixture should not be thick as a paste but watery.
  • Use the brush to apply the mixture to the white sheet of paper. It does not necessarily have to be evenly spread but avoid using too much mixture on one spot or it might tear the paper.
  • Leave it for drying. You can also use a blowdryer to speed up the process of drying.
  • Optional: After the paper is completely dry and blended, you can go for another layer of coating to make it appear more archaic.
  • Now, light the incense stick using a matchbox. For small kids and children, this process should be conducted under adult supervision.
  • Slowly start burning the edges of the paper to give it a slightly burnt look.
  • Continue the process for all four sides of the sheet, and voila! Your mimic of an 18th-century paper that survived a massive fire is ready.
  • You can use a black pen to do calligraphy on this vintage sheet of paper for aesthetic purposes.

2. Antiquing a Piece of Paper:

Now, this method takes the process of antiquing to a modern yet deceptively sophisticated journey. This is yet another easy method to vivify a plain sheet of paper and frame the walls of your home with a personalized touch of grandeur.

  • A regular sheet of white laser paper. Print out the text (poem, quote, a passage etc.) that you would like antiquated.
  • ¼ cup of hot black coffee or tea
  • A teaspoon of instant coffee or tea
  • A baking sheet that should be larger than the piece of paper you would like antiquated
  • Soft bristle brush or sponge brush
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Crumble up the plain white sheet of paper. Now, smoothen it out and place it on top of the baking sheet.
  • Pour hot coffee evenly across the paper. Ensure that you do not pour too much or it might tear the paper.
  • Now, sprinkle the instant coffee powder over the paper.
  • Leave it on standby for a few minutes and let the coffee crystals blend in.
  • Now, use the paper towels and dab on the sheet of paper. Let it soak up in the remaining coffee-infused water.
  • Place the baking sheet into the oven. Keep an eye on the paper just in case it flames up.
  • Bake the sheet of paper for a few minutes, until dry. You will know it is dry when the edges start to curl up.
  • Your antiquated sheet is ready to be framed and treasured.

Well, if you still haven’t found that which you seek, then let’s polish up the game a little bit, literally.

For the next method to work, you would require shoe polish. There might be a lot of how’s and what’s encircling your mind right now. Let’s put all of those questions at ease by finding out how, in fact, can shoe polish be used to deceive modern youth.

3. Shoe-away the Distress: An alternative guide to age paper without an oven

You might have heard of distress inks, a collection of non-toxic, acid-free, and resistant to fading water-based inks. However, resorting to these dyes for artistic and aesthetic purposes might be a little hard on our wallets. Wouldn’t it have been easier if you could get the same distressing effect at the comfort of supplies available at home?

Well, here’s how you can.

  • Shoe polish (preferably black or brown)
  • Shoe-polish sponge
  • Stencil Brush
  • Sheets of paper
  • To begin with, take the shoe polish sponge and dip it in the shoe polish. Now, spread it across the edges of a rough sheet of paper. You will quickly and easily learn how to go about it.
  • Now that you know how to go about it, take the sheet of paper and dab the shoe polish sponge toward the edges of the paper after dipping it in shoe polish. Drag down the loaded edge of the sponge across the edge and try to stick to the edges.
  • Keep on doing this until all the edges are well polished.

The surface on which you continue the aforementioned process is akin to changing the texture of the paper being used. Thus, if you are:

  • Dragging the sponge toward the edges while holding the paper in your hand , will give it a softer edge as the color gets lighter as you move toward the paper.
  • On the other hand, if you are using a flat surface or a platform then the entire appeal of the paper would be softer, yet elegant.

4. How to make a paper look old without using tea or coffee?

The idea of aging paper using tea or coffee has long been in use, but if you are looking for other creative alternatives, or are trying to explore the limits of your creative acumen, then here are some more methods for you to explore.

How to make paper look old with coke?

One might be surprised to find out that apart from coffee and tea leaves, coke is a commonly used replacement for making paper look old and vintage. The process is simple and easy, and goes as follows:

  • Take a sheet of paper and keep it on a baking sheet.
  • Now, soak the sheet in coke by pouring coke over it. Ensure that you do not pour a lot or it might tear the paper.
  • Let it sit for some time.
  • Use paper towels to dab out the extra coke gently from around the paper.
  • Now, place the baking sheet into a preheated oven (at 200 degrees Celsius) and heat it for a few minutes.
  • Keep a watch till the paper is dry as there might be flame-ups. You will know when the paper is dry as it will start curling up.

How to make paper look old with iron?

Yes, you can also use iron to give a paper an archaic, ancient, and aesthetic appeal. Here’s how:

  • Take a sheet of paper and put the coffee infused liquid on it using a brush.
  • Ensure that you do not soak up a lot of paper.
  • Let it dry. You can also use a blowdryer for this process.
  • Now, heat up the iron mildly and straighten out the paper.
  • Ensure that you do not stay in one area for too long or it might damage both, your vintage paper and the iron.
  • Keep in mind that this process does not bring our darkened edges for aesthetic purposes, as in the case of an oven or incense.

Videos: Exploring another paradigm

If you would like to engage in the process of bringing in vintage into the modern, then here are a few YouTube videos that might help you boost your productivity.

Keep it simple. Keep it visual.

If you are looking out for easy-to-make and less time-consuming methods of giving a vintage appeal to plain and bland papers, then check out this YouTube video to simplify the process of your search.

lyteCache.php?origThumbUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2F17Z8Hw86f o%2F0

Want to go organic? Check out this latest creation.

It is understandable if the idea of vintage does not seem to encapsulate enough for you. But don’t worry. We have it all set for you. If you would like to make handmade paper to spurt your creativity and personalize your gifts, then check out this YouTube video to simplify the process of your search.

lyteCache.php?origThumbUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FsHbk9UAAXGE%2F0

tea is the key. Explore your design.

If you are trying to challenge your creative skills or just looking for something different… then here is how you can make the most of it. Make a vintage edition of your personal choice using tea dye-stained papers. Check out this YouTube video to simplify the process of your search.

lyteCache.php?origThumbUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FD4 wbqTS7MQ%2F0

Romanticizing the modern? Go vintage.

If you are more of a romantic and looking for a personal, intimate and authentic way to please your better half, then how about writing love letters?

This may sound like a cliche, a bit cheesy perhaps. But what better way to profess your Shakespearean love than quoting a romantic poem on a vintage sheet! Check out this YouTube video to simplify the process of your search.

lyteCache.php?origThumbUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2F3qyTLAsi6m0%2F0

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is tea-stained paper archival.

Yes, tea stained paper is archival and can be stored for some periods of time. However, due to the acidic content in the atmosphere it might erode over time thus making it harder to store the same for years together.

How do you age paper with lemon juice?

Tear the edges of the paper to give it a ragged effect. Now, pour lemon juice in a bowl and use a brush or a sponge to splatter it across the edges. It can also be dabbed on the entire paper. Do try using a couple of practice sheets to get a better idea of how it works.

How to make paper look old with fire?

You can use incense sticks to make paper look old. You can also use candles but with utmost precaution as paper is flammable and could easily catch fire. After dabbing the paper with coffee infused water to give it an archaic appeal, you can burn the edges of the paper to give it an authentic look.

How to make paper look old with colored pencils?

In order to make a paper look old using colored pencils, you need to master the art of using colored pencils or else it will not give the desired effect. Use gentle strokes of warm colors such as red, orange and yellow. For the final touch-up, use brown and black colored pencils. Finally, use a swab of cotton to blend in these colors thus giving the paper an ancient look.

Can you put printer paper in the oven?

Yes, you can put printer paper in the oven. However, ensure that you do not do it for over a few minutes altogether. Paper is easily flammable so keep in mind to watch the paper while it is being ‘baked’.

Where to buy vintage paper from?

There are various websites online – including Amazon, Blumchen and Chumbak – that sell stacks of vintage paper for comparatively cheaper rates. These are reliable and would provide you with a hassle-free option of antiquating paper.

Are vintage paper dolls worth anything?

Yes, vintage paper dolls are an antique collectible. Their worth mostly depends on how vintage they are, and the condition one gets them in. They are worth anywhere between $10 to $300.

What is a vintage paper doll?

Vintage paper dolls were a rage back in the 1940s and 1950s for little girls . Now, they are commonly found as antiques and collectibles in homes of hobbyists and even museums. They are paper dolls dating back to as old as the 17th century, and are worth over $300 in some cases.

How to make vintage paper without coffee?

A commonly used replacement for coffee powder when making vintage paper is tea leaves. Another common replacement is shoe polish.

Where can I buy vintage paper napkins?

Vintage paper napkins are easily available online on websites such as Thabisa, HNDMD, Overstock. Etsy and Ellementary. They are available in extraordinary designs and borders. However, they could be a little pricey. On the other hand, if you would like to visit a store and check out the options for yourself then there are various cutlery stores that also sell vintage paper napkins. You can Google the stores nearby and prioritize as per your convenience.

How do you age a poster?

Posters can be made to look old with the following process: • Put the poster on a baking sheet. • Pour ¼ cup of hot black coffee over it. • Sprinkle some coffee powder from the top. • Let it soak. • Use paper towels to dab the excess black coffee on and around the poster. • Now, preheat the oven at 200 degrees celsius and place the baking sheet into the oven for a few minutes. • Ensure that you keep a watch on the poster as the paper is easily flammable and might flame up. • You will know when the poster is dry as it will appear a little curled up. • You can also use various other replacements in case you do not have coffee powder, such as tea and even coke. • Avoid using shoe polish in this case as it might tamper with the material of the poster.

This Guide On How To Age Paper And Make A Paper Look Old has covered many of the tips and techniques that you would consider trying when you want to age a paper.

In case you have some other unique techniques that you think would be worth a mention in this article, you can always update the comment section.

We will try to include it when we next update this article on “A Guide On How To Age Paper And Make A Paper Look Old.”

Avni

Avni Deopura

Content Writer

An SEO Expert, a Prolific Content Writer, and a dreamer currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Master of Science in Psychology from St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Science. She is working as a  Content Producer  and  Social Media Analyst .

End of – “A Guide On How To Age Paper And Make A Paper Look Old”

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Artful Haven

6 Easy Ways To Make Paper Look Old Quickly And Without Much Hassle

We all love using old paper in our art journals and in this article, you’ll learn how to make paper look old in easy and non-overwhelming ways.

Paper ages over time and turns to brownish or yellow color. However, it takes ages for this, so if you want to make paper old by yourself, and you don’t have much time, you’re in the right place.

You won’t need a bunch of supplies for this, only a few things you already have. So, these are perfect for beginners who want to experiment and make wonderful old paper scraps.

What colors make a paper look old?

The simplest answer is: brown. And all its variants.

However, I love using the lightest brown possible instead making my paper totally dark.

You can lighten your browns with water if you’re painting with acrylics, watercolor, and even an ink pad (must be water-soluble).

Also, you can sometimes add some yellow to the brown. This results in an interesting vintage vibe.

How do you make paper look old without an oven?

All of the techniques I’m sharing here don’t include the oven. It’s just tiring to use it, at least for me. I like making things simple and these tutorials are as simple as they can get.

Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through that link, I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Supplies you’ll need to make paper look old

Here’s what you’ll need to try all these techniques for aging paper:

  • Plain stationery paper or old mail papers you don’t need. If there’s some text on it, it’ll look even better
  • A round brush
  • Distress ink 
  • Tool for applying the ink: make-up sponges work fine, or if you have an inking/blending tool , even better
  • Brown watercolor
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Water 
  • A lighter or matches

All the ways you can make paper look old

Here are the 6 easiest ways to make paper look old and create a vintage look for your art journals.

How to make paper look old with distress ink

Distress inks are fabulous for creating this old paper effect. And they come in many colors so you can really experiment with them.

Tim Holtz Distress Inks in vintage colors are perfect for making paper look old.

Crumple the paper but be careful not to tear it.

Use a blending tool or a make-up sponge and apply the ink with light pressure all over the paper. The crumples will be visible and this creates a lovely texture on the paper.

applying distress in to paper

Finally, ink the edges. In other words, distress them to get an even better look.

old paper look with distress ink

How to make paper old with distress ink and water

Now that you’ve tried the first technique with ink, you repeat the process and then take a round brush and add water to the paper. 

This will smear the ink a bit and create an interesting effect.

You need to be careful not to add too much water if you’re using thin paper. It might tear.

Then leave it to dry completely before using it on your page.

old paper look with ink and water

How to age paper with acrylic paint

If you have brown acrylic paint, you’re good to go.

However, if you don’t, you can make it by mixing red and green, or blue and orange.

Then, add a lot of water to the mix to make the color as light as you can.

Crumple the paper. When you do that, apply the watered-down paint on the paper slowly while being careful not to tear the paper with too much water.

old paper look with acrylic paint

How to age paper with watercolor

This technique is really easy, especially if you already have a lighter brown watercolor . If not, you can mix blue and orange or red and green until you get a brownish color.

Crumple your paper and start painting it. Again, be careful with the amount of water. 

If the paint is too dark, add more water to the mix until it becomes a really light brown.

old paper look with watercolor

How to make paper old with a lighter

First of all, I want to warn you that using a lighter or matches must be safe. Ok? 

Prepare a jar of water in case things get out of control.

Then take a lighter and slowly burn the paper by moving the lighter all the time. This should take a few seconds. The moment the paper starts to burn, blow into it to put the fire out.

Repeat this in the areas you want to burn. Edges are the easiest to burn so start there. If you burn the paper inside the edges, you’ll just create holes.

burned paper edge

How to create old paper with tea

I’ve seen people do this using the oven or big dishes and stuff. I’m too lazy for that and often don’t have time.

First, crumple the paper heavily.

So, what I do is make a cup of tea and after a few minutes use the tea bag to slightly go over the paper. I also dab it on the paper so it can release some of its color.

This way, your paper will look slightly damaged and everything is subtle. I love that.

painting paper with tea

How do you age an edge of paper

This is pretty easy. You can do this in two simple ways.

  • Use a brown ink pad and go over the edges lightly. You can do this directly with the pad or dip a make-up sponge with ink and then go around the edges. Work lightly and add more ink here and there.
  • Use brown acrylic paint and a kitchen sponge. Take very little brown with the sponge. This is important. Then go over the edges lightly while holding the paper in the air. Just scrub the sponge on the edges and it’ll leave a fine, brownish mark.

Tips for creating old paper

  • Always crumple the paper before using anything else because it’ll create a great effect and make it look even older
  • Don’t use too much water on thin paper so you don’t tear it
  • Let the paper dry completely before using it for art projects
  • Use brown colors whether it’s watercolor, acrylics, or inks
  • If you’re making smaller paper scraps, don’t cut them with scissors but tear them. It adds to the old paper look
  • Distress the edges of the paper to make it more interesting. You can do this with an ink pad, or even with a small amount of brown acrylic and a kitchen sponge. 
  • If you don’t have time to wait for the paper to dry, use a heat gun to dry it quickly
  • Combine two or more techniques for aging paper. For example, you can paint it with watercolor and then burn the edges r distress the edges.
  • When you age paper with a lighter, set it on low, just to be safe

What can you do with all the aged paper?

diy old aged papers

Oh, the possibilities are endless. But here are some ideas you can use:

  • Tear it to paper scraps and use them to collage a background
  • Use it as a background itself
  • Layer it below other images or elements
  • Tear them into very small pieces and create big letters with them
  • Journal on them with a nice pen or ink and put that on your page
  • When they’re dry, stamp on them
  • Doodle on your old paper with a black pen and then use it on your page
  • Write poems on it and use it in a project or frame it

Want more ideas for using old paper? Check these articles below.

13 Easy Collage Art Ideas Anyone Can Do (With Designer Tips & Tricks)

Simple Flower Doodles: Step By Step Tutorial for Art Journaling Beginners

11 Creative Ways To Redo Bad Art Journal Pages And Fix Mistakes

If you liked these tutorials, pin them to your favorite Pinterest board by clicking the image below.

hwo to make old paper pinterest

how to make a paper vintage

HOW TO AGE PAPER – 6 EASY TECHNIQUES TO MAKE PAPER LOOK OLD

Inside: how to age paper - techniques to make paper look old

I love craft materials with a vintage and aged look especially paper. Waiting until paper gets to look old on its own can take a very long time so other than buying it in the craft store the best way to have aged paper is to make it yourself .

how to make a paper vintage

WHY AGE PAPER

Although making your own craft paper supply can be time consuming using different techniques and materials to age paper yourself is a good idea for several reasons:

  • Age any paper you want without depending on the selection the store has.
  • Control the color and hue of the paper.
  • Decide if and what texture to add to the paper.
  • Make large number of aged paper.
  • Cost effective and very cheap.
  • Use materials you already have at home and in the craft room.

WHAT TO DO WITH AGED PAPER

When you use aged paper in your crafts you automatically give it a vintage look or a Shabby-chic look. These craft project feel comfortable, cozy, and homey. The look is vintage and worn (the look of old cracked china and furniture that’s been lightly sandpapered). This paper will look great on heritage scrapbook layouts, steampunk projects, art journal pages, card bases and more.

You can use these papers for many types of crafts:

  • Background for scrapbook pages
  • Vintage and shabby chic card bases
  • Wrap mini album covers
  • Mat for heritage photos
  • Collage papers for art journals
  • DIY embellishments like flowers and other punched shapes

how to make a paper vintage

HOW TO MAKE PAPER LOOK OLD

If you want to give a pristine white paper a browned, unevenly-colored aged appearance and parchment-like texture you need to use an aging technique. All techniques will give the paper a sepia tone color in different degrees that is typical of old papers.

The first step before each of the following techniques is to scrunch the paper and then open it flat. All the wrinkles created will give the paper the used and old texture you want as well absorb the liquid or paint better.

There are many techniques to change the look of your paper to old and used but the most popular are:

  • Coffee and tea dye
  • Distress ink
  • Coloring the paper with spray or paint

In order to make it easier for you to master all the different technique I made a printable guide to download.

Click here  to get it sent to your email right away!

how to make a paper vintage

AGE PAPER WITH COFFEE

I'm not a coffee drinker but this aroma filled powder can be much more than just a beverage, it can be used to age paper and give it a brown antique look. There are two ways to achieve this effect:

PAINTING WITH COFFEE

Instead of using ink or paint use one of the most common ingredients in almost every house - coffee.

  • Then take about 1/4 cup of hot coffee, spoon onto the paper and spread evenly on the paper.
  • You can then add a bit more color by taking dried coffee and sprinkling over the wet paper.
  • Remove the excess liquid with a paper towel and put into the oven to dry. Put the oven on the lowest temperature and leave for about 5 minutes keeping an eye on it the entire time.

DIPPING IN COFFEE

Dipping paper in coffee is also known as coffee staining is a technique that slightly changes the color of the paper. This effect is less bold then painting a paper with coffee.

Here's how to do it:

  • Make coffee with boiling water and 3:1 ratio of coffee.
  • Fill a container large enough to hold your paper like a baking tray with coffee.
  • Submerge the paper in the liquid.
  • Hang the paper on a clothe line or put it on a rack with paper towel underneath to absorb the excess liquid.

how to make a paper vintage

AGING PAPER WITH TEA

Tea staining will give you a lighter color and more subtle result than coffee. You can use the tea bag itself to stain the paper directly or dip the paper in the tea. You can dry the stained paper in the oven or in a sunny place.

Here's how to make paper look old with tea:

  • Put one tea bag in a cup for light color and two bags for darker color.
  • Use any type of tea but black tea is the best.
  • Pour the hot water over the tea and allow it to steep for about 5 minutes.
  • Another option is to dab one of the tea bags over the paper. Holding the tea bag by the top, blot it down onto the paper. Continue doing this until you've covered as much of the paper as you want. If the tea bag starts to dry out, dip it in the mug of tea to wet it again.
  • Dry the paper outside or in the oven.

MAKE PAPER LOOK OLD WITH INK

Distress Inks are a great way to give a paper a vintage look because they easily blend and spread on paper.

  • Use more than one shade of brown ink like Vintage Photo and Walnut for this technique. The lighter colors you apply the lighter your paper color will be.
  • Spread the inks on the paper using a sponge or a blending tool in circular motion.
  • Start from the edges of the paper and blend the colors moving towards the center.

GIVE VINTAGE LOOK WITH SPRAY

Another technique is to spray the paper with sprays. Make sure to use ink sprays or other types of spray that are transparent and not opaque so the paper will show through and not be covered by the spray.

Here's how:

  • Spray the page with a combination of at least two shades of brown.
  • An optional step is to spread the spray more with a baby wipe.

how to make a paper vintage

AGE PAPER WITH PAINT

To achieve an aged effect with paint you would need a few shades of brown and to work in stages. This technique might also require a little practice and knowledge of using a brush.

Here's how to do this:

  • Apply at least three different shades of brown acrylic paints.
  • Add the paints while moving the brush in all directions.
  • Work in layers: add light colors on dark colors and dark colors on light colors allowing the brush strokes to show.
  • Keep working until you're happy with the result.
  • Let it completely dry.

FINISHING TOUCHES TO THE PAPER

To finish the paper you can add a few more final touches:

  • Burn the edges of the paper.
  • Ink the edges with a dark ink.
  • Add stamped images or text.
  • Wrinkle again to add extra texture.
  • tare the edges to enhance the used old look.

So many fun techniques to try. I hope you'll try at least one, because the effect is worth it!

Do you have other techniques or ideas to distress or age papers? Share in the comments!

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how to make a paper vintage

40 comments on “ HOW TO AGE PAPER – 6 EASY TECHNIQUES TO MAKE PAPER LOOK OLD ”

I love this blog post! I have been trying to age paper for years and this is the best advice I have found.

I purchased souvenirs before from some museums, like the I have a dream speech, declaration of independence, etc. and they have them printed on this sturdy paper that has a very crisp and crunchy feel & sound, not so much the look, the look is a tan brown. Does anyone know how to get this effect and what type of paper to use in the first place. It is very neat, it rolls and stays rolled too. Thank you.

It isn’t an “effect,” it’s a specific type of paper, called parchment. You can find it at art stores and online. You can do aging techniques to other types of paper to get the look, but you won’t get the texture and sturdiness unless you use the right kind of paper to start with, which doesn’t need aging, other than maybe roughening up the edges to make it look more hand-made. Parchment paper typically comes in white or tan.

I use tea or coffee mixture, bingo marker ink (colours are great) scrunch up my papers, dip in mixture, let liquid drip dry a little, scrunch a little again, toss balls onto large cookie sheet, place in low oven until dry, then iron out pages, this way I get about 24 or more pages at a time. Then whatever color pages are, I rub edges with corresponding colour ink pads.. I also use used dryer sheets, paper towels, coffee filters and paper napkins..

I keep seeing the comments about “Matte Gel Medium” is that Mod podge or something different?

Gel medium is not Mod Podge. It’s an acrylic medium that can be used like Mod Podge to glue and seal.

Great techniques. Be aware that the tannins and acids in coffee and tea will accelerate paper destruction so don’t do this with anything you want to last a long time. Otherwise it’s beautiful!

I read that adding baking soda will reduce the acidity and help preserve the ink.

Thanks for the telling how this was done new to all this. My husband died May 23 2020, I want to make a junk journal,and put love letters in it that he wroteme through the 19 years we had together , again thanks Linda Alderman.

What an amazing idea!

I found mine to curl up to where I couldn’t use them,!,

They curl because of the moisture. When the paper is still wet place in a towel and under something heavy. That will prevent the curling

I iron my papers while they’re still a little damp. The random dyed marks from the paper having been wrinkled still show, and ironing gives the paper a yummy crunchy sound and texture

I have over 500 pages printed out on genealogy all ready. I am going to make my own hard covers and make a book for each surname. My question is, can I make the pages look aged after I have printed on them already? I would hate to have to reprint all that information again…

If you use a wet technique I believe the ink will smear. Try using Distress ink instead to protect your printing. Another thing you cn try is to seal the paper with gel medium. But try that on a page you don’t need just to check if i works.

going to try this as I always have coffee and tea. I have some Hibiscus tea that is red. That shoud be interesting.

Can I modge podge the paper after I age it with coffee? I’m going to use seed book page’s cut in strips and put on blown out goose eggs.

Yes, but I recommend gel medium instead it’s less sticky and dries clear.

Can you print on the paper after putting it in the coffee?

Yes as long as it is completely dry

Very interesting ! About 10- 15 years ago I had burnt the edges of paper to make a painting ! Now it has withered with time . I could have protected with glass frame but esthetically it did not appeal to me! My question is what quality of paper should be used & how to protect the painting made with it . Thank you for paper aging technique !

I always use cardstock and I don’t protect it at all. If you want you can cover it with a thin gel medium as a protective layer.

Really nice , I have used the techniques doing my journal . Here- https://lovejournaling.wixsite.com/journalwithme

It was OK it worked well thx!!

Great Sara!

Wow.. and every day I toss out left over coffee. Now it has a purpose! Thanks Einat!

You’re welcome Bonnie!

Nice technique of tea staining

Thanks! And it’s so easy too 🙂

Years ago I aged heavier paper by coating it unevenly with a solution made with interestingly colored soil gathered on my travels. (Clay comes in many shades). Once the mud was nearly dry I rinsed the paper off and let it dry out. Once dry I coated the both sides sheets with Matte Gel Medium and used them in mixed media pages for a travel journal. It was fun to have a tiny bit of local Earth from each place visited embedded within its page of the journal.

What a great idea!

I like to use stamp inks and beauty blenders. I take ink and water it down slightly and put it on the bottom of a coffee cup to add stains on the paper

That’s great!

That is so clever!

טוב לראות אותך שוב!

Thanks Einat

Thank you Lori!

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Einat Kessler

how to make a paper vintage

Hello crafty friends! I'm Einat: creative professional,mixed media artist, scrapbook and paper designer, altering enthusiast and class instructor. Click here to learn more about me and my creative journey Contact me: [email protected]

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CraftCue

How to Make Paper Look Old: 5 Techniques That Actually Work

The following article suggests various ways to make paper look old by using tea bags, coffee, lemon juice, and other things available in your house. Read on...

How to Make Paper Look Old

The following article suggests various ways to make paper look old by using tea bags, coffee, lemon juice, and other things available in your house. Read on…

The old, brownish, crumpled look on the paper lends it an aura of something traditional, something unique, and something which has stood the test of time. A paper with an old look can be used in a variety of ways such as to make greeting cards or for scrapbooking. It is a preferred choice of people who are fond of creating some vintage designs. Consider any one of the options listed below.

With Tea Bags

Prepare tea as usual, and afterwards, take out the tea bag. Next, keep the paper that has to be stained on a flat surface. Now, take the tea bag and smear the paper with it. If the tea bag becomes dry, dip it again in tea for some more time, and repeat the process, till the entire paper gets a yellow tinge. In the end, keep the paper aside and let it dry. Remember to keep it under some weight otherwise it can become distorted. When the paper is completely dry, it will have the perfect old, light brownish look that you want.

There is another method of making paper look old with tea bags. Take a shallow pan which is slightly more in size than the paper. Add water to the pan and soak the paper in it. Next, add around eight to nine tea bags to the water. Keep on cooking till the paper gets the right color and look.

With Coffee

Start with making a strong black coffee. Put around six times more coffee than you normally do. Next, take a flannel and dip it in the coffee. Squeeze out some of the coffee from it and now rub it against the paper that needs to be stained. Follow by keeping the paper in an oven for about four minutes. Next, dampen the paper a bit. Now, take a match and hold it right under the paper. Keep the lighted match under the paper, till the time you get the burnt look.

Burn the paper to make it look old. Hold the paper on top of a candle flame. Make sure that there is a difference of at least an inch between the paper and the flame, otherwise it may catch fire. Move the paper back and forth over the flame. This method gives a kind of dark, damaged look to the paper. To make the paper appear even more appealing, dampen its edges a bit and burn it with a lighter. See to it that the edges do not catch fire.

Use Lemon Juice

Take a lemon and squeeze out its juice. Next, apply this lemon juice on the paper that needs to be stained. Take a heat gun and with it, heat up the paper. The paper will soon start getting a brownish, old look. In case, you want a darker color, continue heating.

With Crumpling

Take the paper and crumple it. Next, flatten it and again crumple it. Repeat the same process a couple of more times. In the end, take an iron and flatten out the paper again. The paper will get a unique old, crumpled look with this method.

One last advice on this paper craft activity before I sign off – if you do not get satisfactory results with any of these methods initially, do not get disheartened. Keep practicing till you get the desired effect on paper that you are looking for!

Crumpled paper

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Feeling Nifty

How To Age Paper with Tea/Coffee For Vintage DIY X-mas Art

By: Author Jasmine Dhillon

Posted on Last updated: January 19, 2024

Categories Christmas Crafts , Crafts & DIY

Learn how to age paper in this quick and easy tutorial using tea or coffee.

how to make a paper vintage

Learning how to age paper with tea was something I learned when I was a kid. And I remember it being very easy to do. The inspiration came back to use this age-old technique in my DIY vintage Christmas art I wanted to make this holiday season.

In the tutorial below, you’ll learn how to age paper with simple tea and coffee. It only takes 5 minutes, which works out well if you’re coloring many sheets. You’ll also see how I used the gorgeous aged paper to make my DIY Christmas art.

Coloring the paper in this project reminded me of my how to stain/color canvas using gift wrap tissue paper tutorial I did a couple years back. It’s another nifty way to color paper and canvas.

If you’re looking for more paper crafts, then check out these super cute 75 craft ideas with paper (for adults and kids ).

First let’s go over some common questions around aging paper.

How do you make paper look old with tea?

The first method is steep your tea bags in hot water for 1 minutes. Then use the tea bags directly on paper (tutorial below). You can also use a paint brush dipped in the tea steeped water for an extra precise look.

If you want a blotchy look, dab the tea bag in the same area a few times to get a darker color in some areas. To get a smooth, even coloring, use a sweeping up and down motion (like you’re painting) to spread out the stain more evenly.

If you want a darker stain, you can always add another layer or two.

Another tip is to add some extra tea on the edges/sides of your paper. This will naturally make the paper look more vintage and aged.

Once you’re happy with the look, leave laying flat to air dry.

age paper without oven

Alternatively if you don’t want to bother staining the paper yourself, you can fill a cookie sheet with steeped tea water then lay the whole sheet in the water for 2-3 minutes. Then take it out to air dry.

How Can You Age Paper Fast?

The longest part of this project is letting the paper dry once you’re done staining it.

If you leave to air dry, it may take a 2-3 hours to dry (depending how wet the paper is). But if you’re in a rush, you can quickly dry your paper by baking in oven for 2 minutes at 200 degrees. Just be careful and keep a close watch on it so it doesn’t start to burn or over-dry ( which will make the paper brittle and crack).

How do you color paper with coffee?

Another way to stain paper is to use coffee instead of tea. To do this you’ll need to diute 2 tsp of instant coffee in 1/4 cup hot water. Once dissolved, use a paint brush or paper towel to paint on the coffee liquid onto your paper.

Alternative you can pour the coffee in a cookie sheet, then soak the whole sheet for 2-3 minutes. Take your paper out to air dry.

Is Tea Stained Paper Archival?

Short answer is no. Your paper will no longer be archival quality because black tea contains a substance called tannic acid. Although it contains very small amounts of tannic acid, it’s enough to remove the archival and acid free quality of the paper. Something to be aware of if you’re hoping to create a heirloom piece that you’d like to remain intact for generations.

If you do want to preserve your aged paper for generations, one option is to seal it. I’ll show you how I sealed mine on canvas in the project below.

Aged Paper Ideas And Projects

You can use aged paper in a variety of crafts. Some ideas are scrapbooking, in art journals, card making, in canvas mixed-media art and even some home decor DIY’s- which is what I did.

I wanted to make a DIY Christmas canvas art with my favorite holiday song – Silent Night. So I printed out the lyrics here .

how to make a paper vintage

So I first printed the lyrics music sheet above on a normal inkjet black and white printer. It came out black & white so I wanted to age the paper for a vintage look.

how to age paper with tea coffee

Next I aged the paper (instructions in the tutorial below). Once the paper was aged and dry, I cut it to the size of my canvas.

how to age paper

Next I used some Matte Mod Podge , and I applied it with a sponge brush onto the entire canvas surface.

how to mod podge aged paper

I then placed my aged paper ontop of the glued canvas and pressed down to remove all the air bubbles.

how to mod podge paper on canvas

Once the paper was in place, I used the same sponge brush for a layer of Mod podge overtop the paper.

how to mod podge paper lyrics on canvas

I let the first layer dry ( 20 minutes) then repeated this 2 more times, and let it fully dry.

Once dried you have a beautiful DIY Christmas sheet music art piece! It would make a gorgeous vintage addition to your Christmas holiday decor!

DIY vintage sheet music art

Below is another DIY I made by aging a printed book page from the Harry Potter book. I made this for my sister in law who loves this series. I ended up painting Hedwig the owl over top of the paper to make it extra special. Which is another idea you can do with your aged paper.

The sky is the limit with this craft!

Harry-potter-book-page-art-watercolor-hedwig-print

How To Age Paper with Tea/Coffee Tutorial

How to age paper.

how to age paper

Learn how to age your paper with tea, a super fast and easy method anyone can do.

  • Black Tea (or instant coffee granules)
  • paper towel

Instructions

how to age paper with tea coffee

  • Lay your paper down flat on a solid/flat surface. You might want to put a piece of cardboard underneath so that the tea doesn't stain your table.
  • Take your tea bag right out of the bowl (be careful if its hot) and squeeze out some of the excess water by dabbing it a couple times on a paper towel.

age paper without oven

  • When your paper is done, leave it to dry for 2-3 hours. If you want it right away you can dry it in the oven for 2-3 minutes at 200 degrees (keep a close eye so it doesn't burn).

age paper tea

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How To Make Paper Look Old – Techniques For A Vintage Effect

Creating a vintage look on paper adds a touch of nostalgia and authenticity to various creative projects. Whether you’re working on a scrapbooking endeavor, crafting invitations, or simply looking to add a unique aesthetic to your writing, learning how to make the paper look old can be valuable. You can transform new, pristine sheets into weathered and aged parchment by employing simple techniques, evoking a sense of history and charm. In this blog post, we will explore a range of methods to achieve that vintage effect, from tea and coffee staining to ink aging, burning edges, and wrinkling.

 paper look old can be valuable

Additionally, we will provide techniques for enhancing the vintage look further, such as ink blotches, quill pen writing, and distressing. Prepare to embark on a journey of creativity and nostalgia as we delve into making paper look old.

Table of Contents

Choosing the Right Paper for an Authentic Paper Old Look

Choosing the Right Paper for an Authentic Paper Old Look

Before diving into the techniques of aging paper, it’s crucial to start with the right foundation. The choice of paper plays a significant role in achieving an authentic vintage look. Understanding the characteristics and options can help you successfully create the desired effect.

Paper Characteristics

When selecting paper for a vintage look, consider the following characteristics:

  • Look for paper with a slightly rough or textured surface. This mimics the feel of aged paper and adds to the overall vintage aesthetic.
  • Opt for the heavier paper to replicate the thickness and durability of ancient documents. The thicker paper also enhances the tactile experience.
  • Off-white or cream-colored paper is often the best choice for a vintage effect. Avoid bright white paper, as it can appear too pristine and modern.

Selecting Appropriate Paper Types and Textures

Different paper types can contribute to the vintage appearance. Consider options such as:

  • Parchment paper has a natural antique look and is commonly associated with historical documents.

Parchment paper

  • Handmade paper often features irregular edges and fibers, adding to its vintage charm.

Handmade paper

  • Opting for recycled paper adds an eco-friendly element and contributes to a weathered and aged appearance.

Opting for recycled paper

Exploring Aged Paper Options Available In Markets

If you prefer a hassle-free approach, various retailers offer pre-aged paper that mimics the look of old documents. These options come in different styles and can save you time and effort.

Aging Techniques for Creating a Paper Vintage Look – Step-By-Step Guide For Different Techniques

Now that you’ve selected the right paper, it’s time to use various aging techniques to transform it into a vintage masterpiece. These techniques involve simple yet effective methods to simulate the effects of time and wear on paper, providing an aged and weathered appearance.

Tea Staining Method

Tea Staining Method

The tea staining method involves using brewed tea to stain the paper and give it a yellowed, aged look. Following a few steps, you can achieve varying degrees of discoloration, adding depth and character to your paper.

Step-By-Step Guide

  • Prepare a strong cup of black tea by steeping several tea bags in hot water.
  • Let the tea cool down to room temperature.
  • Place your paper on a flat surface or in a shallow tray.
  • Dip a sponge, brush, or cotton ball into the tea and lightly dab it onto the paper.
  • Gradually build up the color by applying multiple layers of tea, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next.
  • You can add character by lightly crumpling the paper before staining if desired.
  • Once the desired effect is achieved, allow the paper to dry completely.

Coffee Staining Method

Coffee Staining Method

Coffee staining is similar to tea staining but offers a different tone and intensity. Applying coffee to the paper can create a darker, more sepia-toned effect reminiscent of antique documents and photographs.

Ink Aging Method

Ink Aging Method

With ink aging, you can give your paper an aged appearance using specific inks and techniques. This involves selectively applying ink to mimic the natural fading and discoloration over time.

  • Select an ink color resembling aged paper’s natural discoloration, such as sepia or a muted brown.
  • Dip a brush or sponge into the ink and lightly apply it to the paper, focusing on areas that naturally fade or darken over time, such as edges and creases.
  • For a more realistic effect, vary the intensity of the ink by applying it in different concentrations and shades.
  • Allow the ink to dry completely before handling the paper.

Burning Edges

Burning Edges

Burning the edges of your paper can create a worn and weathered look as if it has been exposed to fire or other elements. This technique requires caution and careful control to achieve a realistic and controlled burn effect.

  • Take a lighter or a candle and carefully hold the flame near the edges of the paper.
  • Move the flame along the edge, creating a controlled burn effect.
  • Be cautious not to burn the paper too much or let the flame directly contact the paper’s surface.
  • Adjust the amount of burning according to your desired level of weathering and aging.

Wrinkling and Crumpling

Wrinkling and Crumpling

By intentionally wrinkling and crumpling your paper, you can mimic the creases and folds naturally occurring over time. This technique adds texture and depth, making your paper appear well-used and aged.

  • Gently crumple the paper into a loose ball, careful not to tear it.
  • Smooth the paper and repeat the crumpling process several times, creating different wrinkles and folds.
  • Apply pressure or place heavy objects on the paper for more pronounced wrinkles.
  • Once the desired level of wrinkling is achieved, carefully flatten the paper using your hands or placing it between heavy books.

Writing with a Quill Pen

Writing with a Quill Pen

Consider writing with a quill pen to enhance the vintage aesthetic of your aged paper. This traditional writing instrument adds an extra layer of authenticity and charm to your vintage-inspired projects. In this section, we’ll explore the writing process with a quill pen and some writing techniques and tips to help you achieve a beautiful, historic-looking script.

Using a Quill Pen

  • Choose a quill pen with a pointed tip for better control and precision.
  • Consider using a goose or turkey feather for a more authentic look.
  • Trim the tip of the quill to create a sharp point.
  • If the quill is too stiff, gently heat it over a flame or hot water to make it more flexible.
  • Use ink compatible with quill pens, such as calligraphy or fountain pen ink.
  • Pour a small amount of ink into a shallow container or an inkwell.

Writing Techniques

  • Hold the quill pen at a 45-degree angle to the paper for optimal ink flow.
  • Experiment with different hand positions to find what feels comfortable and allows for smooth writing.
  • Apply light pressure to the pen while writing to create thin, delicate lines.
  • Avoid pressing too hard, as it may cause the ink to blot or smudge.
  • Write slowly and deliberately, allowing the ink to flow smoothly.
  • Use controlled movements to create consistent letterforms.

Writing Tips

  • Before working on your final project, familiarize yourself with the quill pen by practicing strokes and letterforms on scrap paper.
  • Developing a steady hand and achieving the desired results may take time.
  • Ensure the ink has the right consistency for smooth writing. If it’s too thick, dilute it with a few drops of water. If it’s too thin, add a small amount of ink.
  • Experiment with different lettering styles, such as calligraphy or historical scripts, to match the vintage theme.
  • Research historic fonts or scripts for inspiration.
  • Clean the quill pen regularly with water to remove any dried ink residue.
  • Store the quill pen in a dry and upright position to prevent damage.

Distressing Techniques for Old Paper Look – Step-By-Step Guide

Distressing techniques add character and a weathered look to your paper, enhancing the vintage aesthetic you’re aiming for. Whether you want to create the appearance of wear, tear, or age-related damage, these step-by-step techniques will help you achieve an authentic vintage look for your paper.

Scratching and Scraping

Scratching and Scraping

  • Use a small, sharp object like a craft knife, sandpaper, or even a nail to gently scratch the paper’s surface.
  • Create random lines, scratches, or patches of roughness across the paper.
  • Vary the pressure applied to create different depths of scratches, imitating the natural aging process.
  • Focus on worn and torn areas, such as corners, edges, and creases.
  • Be careful not to tear the paper excessively or create unrealistic, uneven patches.

Water Damage Effects

Water Damage Effects

  • Dip a sponge or brush into water and lightly dampen the paper in specific areas where water damage would typically occur, such as the edges or corners.
  • Allow the water to sit for a few seconds to create a water stain effect.
  • Blot the excess moisture with a paper towel, gently pressing down to create uneven and faded patches.
  • If desired, repeat the process to intensify the water damage effect.
  • Let the paper dry completely before continuing with other distressing techniques.

Fading and Discoloration

Fading and Discoloration

  • Use a soft brush or sponge to apply a diluted solution of tea or coffee to the paper.
  • Lightly dab or brush the solution onto the paper, focusing on areas that naturally fade over time, such as the edges or areas exposed to sunlight.
  • Allow the solution to dry on the paper.
  • If the effect is too subtle, repeat the process with additional layers until the desired level of fading and discoloration is achieved.

Adding Stains and Spots

Adding Stains and Spots

  • Create a mixture of tea or coffee and water in a shallow container.
  • Dip a sponge, brush, or cotton ball into the mixture.
  • Lightly dab or flick the mixture onto the paper to create scars, spots, or stains.
  • Vary the intensity and size of the stains to make them look more natural and random.
  • Allow the stains to dry on the paper.

Preserving and Displaying Aged Paper – Maintaining Your Vintage Creations

Preserving and Displaying Aged Paper

Once you have successfully aged your paper to achieve a vintage look, preserving and displaying it properly is essential. By following a few key preservation techniques, you can ensure the longevity of your aged paper and create a visually pleasing presentation. This section will explore the steps to preserve and display your aged paper effectively.

How To Handle a Vintage Paper with Care?

  • Before touching the aged paper, ensure your hands are clean and free of oils or lotions.
  • This prevents the transfer of dirt, moisture, or chemicals that could damage the paper.
  • When handling or storing aged paper, choose acid-free materials such as archival-quality folders, sleeves, or envelopes.
  • Acidic materials can cause yellowing, deterioration, or discoloration over time.

How To Store A Vintage Paper?

  • Store your aged paper flat to prevent creasing, bending, or warping.
  • Place the paper in acid-free folders or archival-quality boxes to protect it from light, dust, and humidity.
  • Store your aged paper in a cool, dry environment to minimize the risk of mold, mildew, or insect damage.
  • Avoid storing paper in basements, attics, or areas prone to temperature fluctuations or high humidity.

What Are The Methods Of Framing and Displaying An Old Paper?

  • If you display your aged paper, use UV-protective glass or acrylic frames to shield it from direct sunlight.
  • UV rays can cause fading, discoloration, and deterioration over time.
  • Consider matting your aged paper before framing to buffer the paper and the glass.
  • Matting helps prevent the paper from sticking to the glass, preserving its integrity.
  • Choose frames that complement the vintage aesthetic of your aged paper.
  • Consider frames made from wood, metal, or distressed materials to enhance the overall vintage look.

At The End – Regular Inspection is Necessary

Regularly inspect your aged paper for signs of deterioration like discoloration, fading, or brittleness. If you notice any issues, consult a professional conservator for advice on restoration or preservation techniques. When handling the paper for display or exhibition, wear clean white cotton gloves to minimize the risk of oils or dirt transferring onto the delicate surface. These practices help preserve the condition and longevity of your aged paper.

The same preservation and handling techniques apply to self-made vintage paper as well.

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How to make vintage paper

Materials Needed: (Ideal) 243 year old paper (Realistic) Any other paper (Realistic) Coffee (Realistic) Baking sheet or tray (Realistic) Hairdryer (optional) (Ideal) Fancy quill pen (Realistic) Regular ballpoint pen

Brew a large, strong batch of coffee.

Pour the coffee into a tray and submerge the paper for up to ten minutes.

Take the paper out, allowing the excess liquid to drip off.

You can dry the paper with a hairdryer, or bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes.

Tip: To add interesting textures, smear leftover coffee grounds on the paper or add extra drops of coffee to a dried surface. The paper must be completely dry before writing on it.

Bonus Activity:

America’s forefathers used the Declaration of Independence to outline their desire for freedom from England. What’s a message that’s important to you. Who would you send it to?

Try to write it using your best handwriting. Add your signature to “certify” the document.

The certified copy of the Declaration of Independence in the Gilcrease collection was penned by Silas Deane, an American diplomat. His original signature appears along with Benjamin Franklin’s. The two men sent certified copies like this one in an attempt to gain support from European nations during the Revolution, and this is the only copy known to have survived. In 2016, a preservation scientist visiting Gilcrease identified a fingerprint on the document, connecting it and the handwriting to Silas Deane. Learn more.

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How to Make Old Paper with Coffee: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making old paper with coffee is a fun and creative way to give a vintage look to any document. Whether you're working on a school project or creating a unique piece of art, this technique can add a touch of authenticity to your work. With just a few simple steps, anyone can create old paper with coffee.

To start, you will need a few basic materials such as coffee, water, a baking sheet, and some paper. The type of paper you choose will determine the final result, so it's important to experiment with different types to find the perfect fit for your project. Once you have everything ready, you can begin the process of making old paper with coffee.

By following a few easy steps, you can create paper that looks like it's been around for centuries. This technique is perfect for adding a unique touch to historical documents, creating a vintage look for scrapbooking, or simply adding some character to your everyday writing. With a little bit of patience and some creativity, you can create beautiful old paper with coffee.

Materials Needed

Coffee types.

To make old paper with coffee, you will need coffee. Any type of coffee will work, but it is recommended to use dark roast coffee for the best results. Dark roast coffee has a stronger color and will give the paper a more aged look. You can use cold coffee or hot coffee, depending on your preference. If you are using hot coffee, make sure it is not too hot, as it can damage the paper.

Paper Types

The type of paper you use will also affect the outcome of your project. White copy paper or printer paper is the most common choice, but you can also use paper towels or parchment paper. If you are using paper towels, make sure they are plain white and not patterned. Parchment paper will give your paper a more textured look.

Other Supplies

In addition to coffee and paper, you will need a few other supplies to complete this project. You will need a sponge brush to apply the coffee to the paper, a baking sheet to dry the paper, and an iron or hairdryer to flatten the paper once it is dry. You will also need a tray to hold the coffee and a waterproof surface to work on.

Overall, making old paper with coffee is a simple and fun project that anyone can do. With just a few basic supplies, you can create beautiful, vintage-looking paper that is perfect for scrapbooking, journaling, or any other creative project.

Preparation Process

Brewing the coffee.

To make old paper with coffee, the first step is to brew a strong pot of coffee. You can use regular coffee grounds or instant coffee, but it's important to make sure the coffee is strong enough to create the desired effect. If you're using regular coffee grounds, use about 1/2 cup of grounds per 4 cups of water. For instant coffee, use about 6 tablespoons per 4 cups of water.

Once the coffee is brewed, allow it to cool to room temperature. This will prevent it from scorching the paper and also make it easier to work with.

Preparing the Paper

To make the paper look old, wet the paper with water and crumple it into a ball. Then, smooth it out and lay it flat on a surface. Next, use a brush or sponge to apply the brewed coffee to the paper. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the paper with the coffee.

After applying the coffee, you can add creases, wrinkles, or crumpling to the paper to create a more authentic aged look. You can also experiment with different strengths of coffee or different application techniques to achieve different effects.

Once the paper is completely coated with coffee, allow it to dry completely. This can take several hours, depending on the thickness of the paper and the amount of coffee used.

Overall, making old paper with coffee is a simple and effective way to add an aged look to any paper project. With a little bit of experimentation, you can create unique and authentic-looking aged paper that will add character and charm to your next project.

Aging Technique

To achieve an antique look, the aging technique is an excellent option. This method involves using coffee to stain and age paper, as well as manipulating the paper to create creases and crumples. Here are the three main components of the aging technique: coffee staining, heat aging, and creasing and crumpling.

Coffee Staining

Coffee staining is the first step in the aging technique. To coffee-stain paper, brew a strong pot of coffee and let it cool. Then, dip a brush or sponge in the coffee and apply it to the paper in a random pattern. For a more even look, you can also soak the paper in a tray of coffee. Let the paper dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Heat aging is the second step in the aging technique. To heat age paper, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Crumple the coffee-stained paper into a ball, then flatten it out and place it on a baking sheet. Bake the paper for 5-10 minutes, checking it frequently to make sure it doesn't burn. The heat will cause the paper to darken and become brittle.

Creasing and Crumpling

Creasing and crumpling is the final step in the aging technique. To create creases, fold the paper in half, then in half again, and so on. To create crumples, crumple the paper into a ball and then smooth it out. You can also tear the edges of the paper to create a more worn look.

By using these techniques, you can age paper with coffee and create a unique, vintage look. It's a fun and easy DIY project that anyone can do with a few household items. Whether you're creating a scrapbook, writing a letter, or just want to add some character to your paper, the aging technique is a great option.

Drying Process

After the paper has been soaked in the coffee mixture, it needs to be dried properly to prevent any damage. There are different ways to dry the paper, including air drying, using a hairdryer, or ironing.

Air drying is the simplest and most natural way to dry the paper. You can lay the paper on a flat surface, such as a table or a countertop, and let it dry naturally. It is important to avoid any direct sunlight or heat sources, as they can cause the paper to warp or curl.

Using a Hairdryer

If you need to dry the paper quickly, you can use a hairdryer. Set the hairdryer to the lowest setting and hold it a few inches away from the paper. Move the hairdryer around the paper in a circular motion to ensure even drying. Be careful not to hold the hairdryer too close to the paper, as it can cause the paper to wrinkle or burn.

Ironing is another way to dry the paper quickly and evenly. Place the paper between two sheets of parchment paper and iron it on a low heat setting. Move the iron in a circular motion to ensure even drying. Be careful not to leave the iron in one spot for too long, as it can cause the paper to burn or stick to the parchment paper.

Overall, it is important to choose a drying method that works best for you and your paper. Remember to handle the paper with care and avoid any direct heat sources to prevent damage.

Application Ideas

If you're looking for ways to use your newly made old paper, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Scrapbooking

Old paper adds a vintage touch to scrapbooks. You can use it as a background for photos or cut it into shapes to use as embellishments. Old paper also pairs well with other vintage elements, such as lace, ribbon, and old photographs.

Vintage Documents

If you're interested in vintage documents, old paper made with coffee can be used to create convincing replicas. You can use it to create old letters, maps, or even certificates. The possibilities are endless.

Greeting Cards

Old paper is perfect for creating unique, vintage-style greeting cards. You can use it as a background for your message or cut it into shapes to create a collage. Add some ribbon or lace for an extra special touch.

Old paper is a great addition to any journal. You can use it to write your thoughts or create collages of your favorite memories. It's a great way to add a touch of vintage charm to your journal.

Overall, old paper made with coffee is a versatile material that can be used in a variety of crafting and DIY projects. Whether you're scrapbooking, creating vintage documents, making greeting cards, or journaling, old paper adds a unique touch of vintage charm to any project.

Additional Tips and Tricks

For those who want to take their old paper-making skills to the next level, there are a few additional tips and tricks that can help improve the final product. Here are some ideas to consider:

Experiment with different types of paper: While coffee-stained paper looks great on its own, it can also be used as a base layer for other types of paper. Try layering it with vellum or tracing paper for a unique effect.

Use different types of coffee: Different types of coffee will produce different shades of brown, so experiment with different roasts and blends to find the perfect color.

Add some texture: If you want to give your paper a more rustic feel, try adding some texture. You can do this by crumpling the paper before staining it or by using a toothbrush to flick coffee onto the surface.

Try different staining techniques: While the traditional method of dipping the paper into a coffee bath works well, there are other techniques to try as well. For example, you can use a paintbrush to apply coffee to specific areas of the paper or use a spray bottle to create a more even coat.

Let it dry naturally: While it can be tempting to speed up the drying process with a hairdryer or oven, it's best to let the paper dry naturally. This will help prevent it from curling or becoming brittle.

By following these additional tips and tricks, anyone can create beautiful and unique old paper using coffee.

Making old paper with coffee is a simple and effective way to add a vintage look to any project. By following the steps outlined in this article, anyone can create unique and authentic-looking paper that is perfect for scrapbooking, journaling, or any other craft project.

One of the great things about using coffee to age paper is that it is a natural and non-toxic alternative to some of the harsh chemicals that are often used in paper aging techniques. Additionally, it is a cost-effective option that can be done with materials that are readily available in most households.

While the process of making old paper with coffee may seem intimidating at first, it is actually quite easy to do. By experimenting with different brewing methods and paper types, you can create a variety of different looks and textures that will add character and depth to your projects.

Overall, making old paper with coffee is a fun and creative way to add a touch of nostalgia to your crafting. Whether you are a seasoned paper crafter or just starting out, this technique is definitely worth trying out.

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COMMENTS

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    Method 1 Crumpling and Spritzing Download Article 1 Crumple the paper. [1] Take a sheet of paper in your hand and crumple it into a ball. The tighter the ball, the more creases your paper will have. [2] 2 Uncrumple the paper and spritz it with water, tea or coffee. After uncrumpling the sheet of paper, fill a squirt bottle with your chosen liquid.

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