How to Antique Paper

by on Nov 3, 2021

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.

Supplies You’ll Need for Aging Paper

  • 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 Give Paper an Aged Look

  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.
    Words are printed on a crumpled white sheet of paper.

  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.)
    A poem on a page covered in brown liquid on a sheet pan.

  4. Sprinkle instant coffee over your paper.
    Brown stuff on the bottom of a silver tray.

     

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

  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.
    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.

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

created at: 03/28/2013

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15 Comments

    1. Sahanya

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

  1. Anonymous

    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??

  2. Cathy

    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.

  3. Julia

    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?

  4. Rebecca

    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.

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