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How to Antique Paper

by on Nov 3, 2021

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash.

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.
  • 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 tray.
    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. You can see the excess liquid 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.

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?

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

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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

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

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