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How to Make Paper Look Old

Last Updated: August 25, 2023 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 39 testimonials and 95% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 3,119,265 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 to look old

Expert Q&A

Nicole Bolin

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • The paper looks more antique and refined when you burn it while it is still damp from staining. Thanks Helpful 10 Not Helpful 3
  • Make sure you don't use too much liquid; otherwise, your paper may tear. Thanks Helpful 8 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 6 Not Helpful 2

how to make a paper to look old

  • 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 70 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 14 Not Helpful 2
  • Don't let the paper soak for too long, or it will begin to degrade. Thanks Helpful 54 Not Helpful 21
  • 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 50 Not Helpful 24
  • Don't put your paper too close to a flame, or it will light on fire. Thanks Helpful 53 Not Helpful 28
  • If you are under 18, have an adult supervise you when you’re using fire. Thanks Helpful 23 Not Helpful 15

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
  • ↑ http://gomakesomething.com/ht/age/aging-paper/
  • ↑ http://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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how to make a paper to look old

So easy! And it totally worked. Thanks!

how to make a paper to look old

Or you can take a iron and keep pressing over it

how to make a paper to look old

Could you maybe post your results?

how to make a paper to look old

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 to look old

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 to look old

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

how to make a paper to look old

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 to look old

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 to look old

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 to look old

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

how to make a paper to look old

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 to look old

Will this work on photograph paper?

how to make a paper to look old

No any water to photograph paper will cause ink to run

how to make a paper to look old

Can we do this with ten page at once?

how to make a paper to look old

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

how to make a paper to look old

I like this idea

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how to make a paper to 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 to look old


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.


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 to 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 to look old


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:


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 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 to look old


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.


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.


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 to look old


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.


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!

Sharing is caring - PIN IT!

how to make a paper to 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 to look old

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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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

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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

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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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Feeling Nifty

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

By: Author Jasmine Dhillon

Posted on Last updated: November 20, 2020

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 to look old

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.

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 to look old

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!


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


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

Recommended Products

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Mod Podge CS11302 Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish, 16 oz, Matte

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how to make a paper to look old

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How to realistically age paper

Being very fond of both paper and antique details, I'm grateful that there are so many great paper-aging tutorials on the Internet.

The only element that I often missed was the fact that the paper didn't always look that realistic at the end. So I started studying old paper a bit more up close and I'm really glad I can share my results and ideas with you.

how to make a paper to look old

Now what is wrong with most paper aging tutorials? The idea of completely crumpling paper and then dyeing it. Most of the time aging paper doesn't get crumpled much in the middle (unless you speak of your kid-in-puberty who has a severe lack of understanding the concept "putting things in a folder"). Paper first of all gets torn and crumpled at the EDGES.

This tutorial shows you how I love to age my paper and my secret (not) paper edge aging tool.

If you don't want to waste any coffee, don't worry! We included some free printable old papers for you to download.

What you need:

  • plain printer paper
  • a container a bit larger than the paper (like a high edged baking tray)
  • a bad towel (it will stain)
  • instant coffee (don't be daft like me using fancy expensive coffee and go for the cheapest kind you can find)

how to make a paper to look old

Let's get started!

1. First dissolve the instant coffee in about half an inch of water in your container. You would want to use enough coffee to add color.

2. Soak a piece of paper completely in the coffee solution. Use your fingers to make sure every inch of the paper is merged into the water. Turn the piece of paper around and soak it again.

how to make a paper to look old

3. When you're sure the whole back and front surface of the paper is covered with the coffee mixture get the paper out and let the excess moisture drip off the paper.

4. Place the wet paper on the towel. You can leave the paper to air dry, or get your hair dryer to speed up the process. Using the hair dryer you can play around with the excess water on the paper to create interesting patterns.

how to make a paper to look old

5. Now repeat the process over and over again until you're happy: soak - dry - soak - dry - soak - dry - etc. You can also soak only parts of the paper (like, for instance, the edges) to create color stains.

how to make a paper to look old

When you're happy with the color and stains on your paper and your paper is completely dry it's time to tackle the edges. Chances are the edges are already a tiny little bit crumpled from your soaking action. Great!

6. Place your dyed piece of paper on the edge of a table. Let half an inch stick out over the tabletop edge. Place a bunch of books on top so that the paper won't be able to move.

how to make a paper to look old

7. Take your mini whisk and put the paper edge between the wires.

how to make a paper to look old

8. Now start sliding the whisk over the whole length of the paper edge, distressing the paper as you go.

how to make a paper to look old

From time to time, take the paper between your fingers and with the other hand start batting the paper right next to your fingers, this makes it tear in a natural way. (You're actually mimicking the natural distressing of the paper's edges but in a high speed instead of over the course of years).

The result:

how to make a paper to look old

And if all this seems like it is too much work, or too difficult, don't worry! You can just download some of our beautiful Old Paper Printables below.


5 Great Ideas to Make a Paper Look Old?

We all love doing a little journaling or crafting sometimes, right? And what better way to add a vintage touch to it than using aged paper? In this step-by-step article, you’ll get to know how to make a paper look old at home without much hassle.

You can add different textures to the paper by using various household things to age it.

Some of the most common ways to make a paper look old are crumbling, burning edges, tea spilling or coffee staining, or even coloring it with a little amount of brown paint.

Go through the whole article to gather more in-depth knowledge about these methods. I will also discuss some tips & tricks that might make your job even easier.

How to Make a Paper Look Old

Is It Possible to Make New Paper Look Old?

Aging paper and making it look old is a fairly new technique in the art world. It mostly comes in handy if you are into journaling or sketching. Aged papers can add a classic and vintage look to any art project.

Of course, you can buy readymade vintage brown papers from any stationary store, but making your own material is kind of the main fun of DIY projects .

There are a lot of ways to do it. You can simply crumble up a piece of paper and call it a day. The wrinkled paper would give off an old-looking vibe.

Or you can brush a bit of tea or coffee mixture to give that rusty antique look. Brown paint could also be an alternative to it.

Another great technique which is my personal is to burn out the edges of a paper. Ripping or burning the edges of the paper can help you achieve a worn-out look.

What You’ll Need

  • White stationery paper
  • Lighter or candle
  • Paper towels
  • Instant coffee or tea bag
  • Digging tools

How to Make Paper Look Old (Easy & Fast Ways)

How to Make Paper Look Old

In the following segment, I will guide you through the step-by-step process of these easy and inexpensive paper aging techniques.

Method 1: Ripping the Edges

Step 1: First, take any sample paper that you would like to experiment with. My recommendation would be to use an A4-sized stationary paper. Cut it in half to get the perfect-sized paper for your notebook or art journals. 

You can, however, use any sized or shaped paper if you want.

Step 2: Grab the piece of paper and hold it firmly with one hand. Now, pinch the paper near the edges with the other hand and start ripping it. Tearing papers apart can be really fun and satisfying, you know?

You can decide to rip all 4 sides of the paper or you can leave out two adjacent sides to give it an asymmetrical artistic look. Now go creative with this as it’s all up to you.

Method 2: Slightly Burn Edges

Step 1: Take the paper that you will be using and douse it in water. This is a very important step in this process. If you want to avoid accidentally burning the paper, don’t skip it. 

Step 2: Take a burning candle or lighter for this. You can choose whichever one you feel more comfortable with. However, a lighter will give you better control. Avoid using butane lighters as their flame is too intense for this purpose. 

Now, run the edges of the paper through the fire. Don’t hold the fire at any spot for too long. Otherwise, the fire will start spreading uncontrollably and burn the whole paper. 

Fire makes a unique and interesting pattern along the paper’s edges. The darkened look it creates gives an old vibe to the paper and makes it seem like the paper has been going around for quite a while. 

Step 3: If you want to further add more textures to make it seem like an aging paper, burn small portions of the paper at some spots.

Method 3: Crumbling Paper

Crumbling Paper

Step 1: Choose any paper which you want to appear older and crumble it with the palm of your hand. Be careful not to turn it entirely into a paper ball. Apply gentle pressure if you want soft, light crease lines. 

For finer creases and more texture, you will need to make the tighter. You can now unscramble it and leave it as it is. This crumbled-up look can make them appear as vintage papers. 

Step 2: If you want to add even more details, this step is important for you. Take a spray bottle and fill it with water. Then gently start spraying the water over your desired spots of the unscrambled paper. 

You can add a tiny bit of instant coffee or brown paint to the water to make it look like antique paper. Now that the spraying is done, lay out the paper over any flat surface. You can further alter the paper and add more damage marks . 

Step 3: Remember that the more aged you want it to appear, the more damage marks you should create. Try pinching the wet paper to remove small chunks of it, tear the sides a little, or poke the paper to distort it. 

The wrinkles simulate the passage of time and make it seem like the paper has gone through a lot. Now, if you want to add even more crease, cautiously crumble the damp paper again. Be careful not to rip the paper in half at this step. 

Step 4: Leave the paper to air dry once you are satisfied with the way it looks. If you are in a hurry, gently pat the paper with a paper towel to soak up the excess water. You can also use a hair dryer to make it dry faster .

Method 4: Stain Paper with Coffee or Tea

Stain Paper with Coffee or Tea

Step 1: Staining papers with tea or coffee is a really nice technique. It gives a very unique and rustic look to the piece of paper. First, choose the solvent that you would like to use and brew it. 

If you want to have a dark brown stain, go for coffee. For slightly lighter colors choose any type of black tea. With coffee, you can darken or lighten the color by adding more or fewer coffee grounds to the hot water. 

In the case of tea, add more tea bags and let them sit for a while in the hot water. A longer infusion will create a darker color. Now don’t go pouring your hot coffee or tea over the whole sheet. 

This can instantly tear the paper and turn it into mush. Let the liquid cool down a bit and then drizzle it over the paper as needed. 

Step 2: Select a piece of paper and place it over a baking sheet or cookie sheet. Now, preheat your oven to a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius). By preheating it at this time, the oven should be prepared by the time the paper is ready to be baked. 

Step 3: Take some of the liquid in a cup and pour it on the baking sheet. Don’t pour it directly over the paper. Now spread out the mixture with a small sponge brush. Use gentle brush strokes to cover the whole sheet. 

Step 4: If you are looking for a uniform texture, spread the liquid evenly. Otherwise, get creative and make various patterns with your brush. You can even sprinkle some ground coffee over the paper to add interesting textures. 

This will leave dark brown spots over the page and make it look rusty. Now take a piece of paper towel and dab the paper slowly. Let it absorb all the excess liquid but don’t let the paper dry completely. 

Step 5: Now that all is done, modify the paper as you wish. Tear the paper’s edges, curve jagged stripes, make small dents, or maybe even press it with a fork to leave imprints. Do whatever you feel like and start experimenting with it while the paper is still dry. 

The next thing to do is to place the paper inside the already-heated oven. Depending on your oven model, it will take around 4-7 minutes to dry. Keep a close look so the paper doesn’t start burning. 

When the edges of the paper start to curl up, that’s your sign to take it out of the oven. Leave it out to cool down a bit. After 10-15 minutes your antiqued paper will be ready.

Method 5: Burying Paper

Step 1: Dig a hole

Burying paper is one of the simplest methods to age paper. Take your desired piece of paper and make a crumbled ball out of it. Sprinkle the paper ball with a little bit of water. Now, simply dig a hole in your backyard and place the paper there. 

The moisture will hold onto the soil and let it smudge the sheet. If you don’t have a backyard, you can try this with your plant pot also. 

Step 2: Fill the hole 

After placing the paper ball, cover the hole again. Make sure that the paper is completely covered with soil so that it can damage and wear out the paper properly to give it a rusty look. 

After 3-14 days, the paper should be ready to retrieve. The amount of time you need to wait depends on how old you want the paper to look. If you want a slight aging, waiting 3-5 days would suffice.

How Do You Color Paper to Make It Look Old?

Keep in mind that the liquid you use will change the appearance of the paper. Water will not color the paper, but it will allow for more modifications. Tea will give the sheet a subtle brown hue, but coffee will give it a deeper tone.

Other than these, you can use regular paint to add an antique look to the paper. Choose the shade of brown that you think would suit you most and brush the entire paper with it. Crumble the paper to add textures and crease lines. 

Some people also use shoe ink to color paper and make it seem old. It adds a worn-off look to the paper and makes it look aged.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: what does lemon juice do to paper.

Lemon juice on its own doesn’t do anything to regular paper. But if you combine lemon juice with a heat gun, you can create a burnt look on paper. Dip a cotton ball in some lemon juice and dab it onto the paper’s edges. 

Next, turn on the heat gun and apply it over the areas covered with the juice. The more heat you apply the darker it will turn. This technique is pretty simple. Practice it a few times and you’ll get the hang of it.

Q: What Paint to Use to Make Something Look Old?

To make something look old or vintage, using shades of dark brown, earth-toned colors are perfect. Use different shades of these colors and work in layers. Such as, adding details with dark brown over a lighter shade of brown would enhance it even more. 

You can also try it the other way around. Leave some brush marks behind to add texture. Another easy way to achieve a classy antique look is to use chalk paints. If your painting feels a bit too “new” for you, add a layer of chalk paint over it to achieve a dusty, earthy look.

Q: How to Age Paper with Ink Already on It?

Aging papers that already have ink on them can be slightly tricky. Conventional methods would not work in this case. First, you need to take the paper and dip it into mild hot water. Then apply glycerin or olive oil over it. 

Place the paper in the oven at 100 degrees for 10-15 minutes . This way you can protect the ink while giving the paper a burnt, aged look. It will also prevent the ink from fading or cracking over time.

Why Do I Want to Make a New Paper Look Old Instead of Purchasing Vintage Paper?

Although making your own craft paper supply can seem tiring and time-consuming, it is really worth the effort. This way you can turn any paper of your choice into antique-looking paper. You won’t have to depend on what the store has in its collection. 

You can even customize the color, hue, and texture of the paper according to your liking. These methods are super inexpensive and can be done at home very easily. You can make a large batch at a time and store them. to be cost-efficient.

Final Thought

Crafting with vintage materials can be really fun if you are into it. But getting these vintage materials on hand can be quite a hassle. Either you have to wait till these materials get old or you will have to buy them at a high price. 

But if you can create your own antiqued paper at home, that solves all the problems. So, follow the steps that were discussed here if you want to give ordinary papers an aged look. So, go and explore what you can do with these beautiful vintage papers.

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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