Sunday, 1 April 2012

Tutorial - How to Make Paper Look Olde Worlde

This is a tutorial on how to make your paper look and feel really old.
I start with plain copy paper... the sort you put in the printer. (I tend to do a batch of 10 sheets in a session and keep them for when I want to use them).
I do the process in my kitchen on the counter and cover the worktop with waxed paper. (coffee doesn't harm your worktop, the wax paper has a purpose later).
Mix up my witches brew of three or four large teaspoons of coffee into a cup and a paintbrush.
Paint the coffee over the surface of the papers... I do about 4 sheets at a time.  
Dry them with my hair dryer... I could use my heat gun but the hair dryer was up one flight of stairs and the heat gun was down two flights... both work equally well.
Turn the papers over and paint the coffee onto the other side. Wash, rinse and repeat until you have the desired depth of colour... I normally do it twice each side.
You can see what happens to the wax sheet below the papers... it gets sort of wrinkled and rippled... and it is soaked in coffee so when you place your dry sheets onto it you get a wonderful aged effect staining your pages.
See how the marks add to the effect?
By now you should also be noticing the other wonderful effect you are getting when you dry the papers... yep, they are stiff and crinkly and feel olde worlde... (I have used tea to dye papers and the colour is less deep and you don't get the crackly effect to the paper).
Now your papers are dry and the colour you want... you can add some spritzes of colour or drop ink onto..
and your cup that the coffee is in?  Plonk it down on the saturated wax paper and then make coffee rings on the edges of the papers.  
Now I take them all downstairs to the scrap room and rough up the edges, gently screw the page up into a ball, ink the pages and fold and unfold them, sand over spots to wear them thin and generally just have fun with stamps.

NB 1.  I have never attempted to put this paper in my printer... because of the crackle I think it would protest.  If you want to print on your paper then you are better off using tea to stain it and ironing it dry.. then you can place it in the printer without any problem.
NB 2.  The papers will smell of coffee... if this is not something you want, then place the papers into a zip up baggie with 2 tumble dryer sheets and leave them for a couple of nights... this removes the coffee odour.


  1. this ie great! and easy! can't wait to try it. i love that you thought of everything, including, sanding the edges, folding the papers, and even the coffee smell - very kool!
    ps: does it make a difference if you let the papers air dry?

  2. Another great tutorial, Annette - thank you!

  3. Thank you for sharing this wonderful tutorial--I'm excited to try it!

  4. It actually looks like you get better coverage with your method than I do with mine (when I soak mine in coffee for a day or so). I never use a dryer on mine, but that may be why mine don't pop and crack like yours.

    Could you put your paper through the printer before applying the coffee, or would it mess with the ink?

    Thanks for sharing this! I love watching others make something similar, yet so much different from what I make.

  5. Thanks for sharing this fantastic method ...great tutorial.

  6. Love it and love your books too

  7. Just what I was looking for, I am making a spring themed picture and want to include an old ritual song performed during the equinox but wanted it too look really ancient and tea just wasn't dark enough but your way looks perfect. I am going to try this tonight once the boys are in bed xx

  8. Brilliant!So glad I checked this out. Thanks so much for sharing all this! Great tute! Julie Ann xx from WOYWW#43

  9. I am also from South Africa and just love aging stuff. I like the creases and stains.

  10. Great idea and lovely clear tutorial, THANK YOU.

  11. I'm planning to use this method to make placemats for my wedding, but I'm worried they will stain the white tablecloths. Do you have any insight on this?

  12. I used to do this with my
    fourth grade class and we had the best bulletin board ever with all their work. They wrote diary entries of their journey across the country by wagon train. It was amazing how authentic it looked.

  13. I use to dye the paper with coffee and just love the odour, especially when the sheets are put together in a book (journal). I mostly make the papers in winter when the heating is on. The sheets dry literally in a minute over the radiators.

  14. Thank you for such a great tutorial on this technique. Will have to try it soon! Guess I can share my coffee for a good cause LOL. Best, CG

  15. Great tutorial. Thanks for posting.

  16. Det må prøves....så hurtigt som muligt

    Tak for ideen

  17. This technique will be nice on book pages before I cut them up for crafts. Thanks for inspiration. Geat for Tags and bookmarks too.


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