How to Antique Paper

created at: 03/28/2013

I saw Martha "antique" paper a few years ago, and although I don’t remember her technique, I do remember that it was complicated. I played around with the general idea, though, and came up with an easy way to get the same aged look.

What You'll Need

  • A piece of paper you want to age. (I used regular 24lb 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 larger than the piece of paper you want to antique.
  • Sponge brush, or soft bristle brush.
  • Paper towels.
  • An oven.

How To Do It

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

2. Crumple up your piece of paper into a ball, then smooth it out and place in your baking sheet.

3. Pour hot coffee over your paper. Spread coffee over/around your paper with a sponge brush. (I puddled a little too much in the lower left corner in the picture below.)

4. Sprinkle instant coffee over your paper.

5. Let stand for a few minutes, letting the coffee crystals "blossom."

6. Using a couple of paper towels, dab the coffee up so none is pooled on the baking sheet or paper.

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

8. "Bake" sheet for about five minutes or until paper is dry. You can tell it’s drying when the edges of the paper start to curl up.

What To Do With It

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.)

Speaking of paper... have you seen this fun oak leaf garland tutorial?

created at: 03/28/2013

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Anonymous on Jan 05, 2015:

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??

Dottie on Nov 23, 2014:

Or you can take a iron and keep pressing over it

Anonymous on Nov 23, 2014:

So easy! And it totally worked. Thanks!

Oracle on Mar 17, 2014:

@Amanda: Keeping ink from bleeding.

Laser printed and laser copier printed inks do not run when wet.  (The toner is plastic which is melted onto the paper.)

Ink jet printed paper can be made permanent by ironing it.  I use the cotton or linen setting and iron both sides.  (The ink is dye, which can be set with heat.)

Anonymous on Mar 08, 2014:

I think the ink is printed onto the paper once it's dried.

Amanda on Mar 08, 2014:

How did you keep the ink from bleeding when you wet the paper?

zandra.depusoir.79 on Nov 14, 2013:

wow that is very neat and give it an awesome look.

Anonymous on Nov 12, 2013:

an easy way to do this is to dip paper in coffee or coke and let it darken until you have the appropriate. Then layer the paper with paper towels inbetween and place a book on top. This allows you to write on it later(i use this method since I use it for calligraphy projects). Then after you write on it, add water to dampen the paper, crumble it, uncrumble it and allow it to dry. Then you can burn the edges(optional). 

Anonymous on Sep 10, 2013:

will it work for like projectes of u need to write on it later?

Camper girl on Apr 20, 2013:

I like to do this sometimes when camping! Stick the edges of paper near coals for about 3-5 sec. And then turn around and around until you get the around edges crispy brown. Looks really cool!

Rachel on Apr 05, 2013:

Hey, just wanted to tell you thanks. I tried it out on a printed photo but I either did it wrong or the paper and ink combo just didn't work with the water, so it looks like it's from the Titanic, lol. Really cool looking though! Your process worked great with my drawing though :D

Erika on Mar 25, 2013:

 I did it a little different. I crumpled the paper. Then I took a tea bag and made it wet. I rubbed the paper with it and let it dry. I printed my text and tore the edges. Then I repeated the process with the tea bag only on the edges and when it dried, they were a little darker than the middle, which gave a nice finish. I let it air dry.

Anonymous on Feb 15, 2013:

Do they come out crispy and crack or are they able to be rolled up

nina on Jan 10, 2013:

We just used this method for my daughters school project and it was perfect. i had the oven at 400 for about 4 minutes.. Looks fantastic. Thank you

Anonymous on Jan 03, 2013:

This is Great buttt..... watch out! If you use too much instant coffea the smell will be really strong... But after a couple of hours they will be fine :)

DIY Maven on Dec 19, 2012:

@Anon--200 degrees.

Anonymous on Dec 18, 2012:

What degree should you set the oven?


Anonymous on Nov 20, 2012:

you can also burn a few holes using a lighter if you really want to go all out.

Michelle on Nov 16, 2012:

The soy sauce definitely worked better than the coffee. The paper came out darker and thicker. Thanks for all the ideas

DIY Maven on Oct 19, 2012:

@The Girls...that's great! Thanks!!

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