How to Age Paper

How to Age Paper

How to age paper for arts, crafts, etc. How to make paper look old.

Have you ever wanted to make paper look old and yellowed? It’s really not difficult at all, and the results are very worthwhile. I will include instructions for two methods.

Coffee Method

You need:

  • A strong cup of coffee
  • A wide and flat container slightly larger than the piece of paper; a baking pan would probably work
  • Some grains of instant coffee

Optional: For a wrinkled texture, make sure you crinkle the paper into a ball before completing any other steps. After you have wrinkled the paper, flatten it out before proceeding to step one.

  1. Make a cup of very strong coffee that is much stronger then what you would probably like to drink.
  2. Pour a small amount of coffee into the container, enough to cover the bottom in a shallow layer.
  3. Immerse your paper into the coffee.
  4. After about ten to fifteen minutes of letting the paper soak in the coffee, carefully lift the paper out. Use good judgement. The paper cannot be left to soak too long or it will begin to break down, but if you don’t let it soak long enough, then the paper might not be of sufficient darkness.
  5. Place the soaked sheet carefully (don’t rip it!!) on a flat, dry surface.
  6. Optional step one: When it is partially dried, get some instant coffee and sprinkle a few grains onto the paper, in a very scattered manner. When you do this, make sure that you actually drop the grains onto the paper. Don’t smear them! (If you do, it’ll look like someone just smeared some instant coffee onto the paper…) Doing this properly emulates the look of foxing.
  7. Optional step two: When the instant coffee “melts” onto the paper a bit, gently blot the excess grains of coffee away with a napkin or tissue. Remember – Don’t smear!
  8. Let it dry. If you’re in a hurry, use a hair-dryer.
  9. When the paper is done drying, it is finished.

Warning: Coffee is not acid-free. This method is not appropriate for papers you would like to last many years.

Tea Method

You need:

  • A strong cup of tea
  • A large, wide, and flat container bigger than the piece of paper you want to age, or a baking pan
  1. Make a strong cup of tea.
  2. Follow steps 2-9 of the Coffee Method, using the tea.

Warning: Tea is also not acid-free. This method is also not suitable for papers you would like to keep for many years.

For a way to age paper that is more suitable for the long run, try using the tea method, substituting the tea with a manufactured acid-free walnut ink.

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5 Comments
poo, posted this comment on Oct 27th, 2008

the log the log log the log the log log

Hilary, posted this comment on Oct 27th, 2008

poo your stupid why do you say these things like omg i am so hot

Frank Kim, posted this comment on Nov 22nd, 2008

For a more archival-safe method, I suggest Walnut Ink.

anonymous, posted this comment on Mar 4th, 2009

this was ok…i was looking for something that talked about BAKING the paper

Lana, posted this comment on May 27th, 2009

Thanks for the help. I am aging a world map. A bit bigger than a baking sheet. I think I can get a great result. Thanks alot! I can’t wait to see the final result.

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