How to make paper look old

The paper can be used for all sorts of things.  Whether you’re looking too neat up an art project or give a poem a better look than printer paper, or a high school history project you need to age a sheet of paper.

The internet has many methods on how to make paper look old.  Crumpling and spritzing is the topmost famous method.  If this doesn’t give your paper the desired aged look, try the stain and bake approach, use flame and heat, or bury the paper to give it that ancient, wear away look.

The timeworn, brownish, crumpled look on the paper gives it a feeling of something traditional, something distinctive, and something which has endured the test of time.

how to make paper look old

A paper with an old nostalgic look can be used in many ways such as to make greeting cards or for preserving personal or family history in the form of a scrapbook.  It is a favored choice of many people who love creating some vintage designs.

The look, feel and smell of an old manuscript can make you think of the olden days like the Celtic parchment, the Papyrus of Egypt, and the early Rice Paper of China.

There are many easy ways of making the normal paper appear old and it does not require expensive things and at the same time, you can be creative.

Pointers on how to make paper look old

You can find numerous tips on how to make paper look old, here are the easiest ways to achieve this using everyday items you can find in your kitchen.

1) Walnut ink

Walnut ink can be made from black walnuts. You can always find it in crystallized form, and hydrated before it is used. Brush the liquid walnut ink on your paper, fabric, lace, or any other material you have. Numerous effects can be created by using different variations to make your paper appear old.

2) Lemon or Lime

For the burned look on paper, use lemon or lime juice and a heat gun. Drop the juice onto the edges of the paper, then apply heat. As you apply heat the burns marks get darker.

3) Paper burning

Another useful tip on how to make paper look old is to burn the edges of the paper. Use a stick of incense or candle. With your finger pinch the burnt edges. Wet the inner part of the paper before burning it. Use a wet Q-tip, your finger, or paintbrush to do the wetting.

This will stop the paper from burning beyond the borders because the wetted inner part will stop the flame from extending beyond its borders.

4) Paper sanding

Use sandpaper to softly shine your paper to give it a frayed look. Sand it the same way you, sand wood, using the directional move, rather than a circular one.

5) Paper tearing

Don’t cut the paper, tear it instead. Hold up your paper while you tear, it will give a unique look. when you hold it away from you, you will produce another look. Color the edges of the paper using some decorative chalk, tea bags, walnut ink, or any similar thing to attain an old look.

6) Candle waxing

Using a white candle write all over your paper. Cover as many areas as possible. Squeeze the paper until the wax cracks. Paint the surface to form random cracks. Iron the paper to remove the wax. Place it between two paper towels and pad it with a newspaper on the two sides before ironing it with a very hot iron.

7) Paper crumbling

An effective tip on how to make paper look old is to crumble up your paper. Flattened it out and crumble it again. Repeat this process as much as you can before making using the paper in your layout, iron the finished paper, this will give it a very unique look. You can achieve a different look by placing the thick paper in a bucket of water before the crumbling process.

8) Paper Selection

The different paper gives you different outcomes. The usual printer paper has some waterproof qualities and does not soak up the coffee or tea stains easily. This leads to a pale result. Watercolors or blotting paper gives a more satisfactory result.

We often use multipurpose textured paper for artworks, taken from a drawing pad. This works perfectly for aging the paper because it absorbs the stain quite well.  There are different methods of making a paper look old.

Methods of how to make a paper look old

Crumpling and Spritzing Method

Step One: Take a sheet of paper and crumple it into a ball. The more you squeeze the ball, the more creases your paper will have

Step Two: Uncrumple the paper and spray it with water, tea, or coffee. After you have uncrumpled the paper sheet, fill a spray bottle with your desired liquid. Then, spray the paper until the created spots and lines which are to be colored are damp.

The liquid will give the paper a different look. Water won’t color the paper but will enable further changes. Tea will give a faint brown color, whereas coffee will give the sheet a darker color.

Step Three: Now that the paper is damp, it will be easier to shape it. Tear off edges, create small circles with your fingernail, or tiny wrinkles. Damages to the paper should be of different shapes and sizes, the older you want the paper to look, the more damage you need to incorporate.

Step Four: Time to air dry the paper. Place the paper sheet on a smooth surface, such as a marble slab or table and let it dry. You can use a hairdryer to speed up this process.

Staining and Baking Method

You can make great antique parchment manuscripts for your homeschooling crafts by using tea or coffee stains.

Step One: To age the paper, you can choose coffee for a darker color or tea for a lighter color. The strength of the color depends on how much the coffee and tea are brewed.  Before moving on to the next step let the liquid cool.

Step Two: Position the paper on a baking or cookie tray. The paper should fit inside the tray easily.

Step Three: Preheat the oven to 200ºF or 90ºC

Step Four: Pour the liquid onto the baking tray. Pour the liquid from the corner of the baking tray, not directly over the paper. Pour as much liquid to cover the paper with a thin film.

Step Five: Use a sponge brush to spread the coffee/tea liquid. You can be creative with the designs you create. You can spread the coffee/tea liquid evenly around the tray if you want a more uniform look. Else, you can spread it irregularly to create more bright patterns. You can also sprinkle dry coffee on the paper to create spotty patterns.

Step Six: The paper should not be swimming in the coffee/tea liquid. Just make sure there is no unabsorbed liquid in the tray.

Step Seven: At this point, before you put the tray inside the oven you can add a few touches to make the paper look even older. You can create imprints with a fork, tear the paper, or make small holes with your fingernails.

Step Eight: Put the paper tray on a middle rack of the oven. Once the edges of the paper start to curl up the process is complete.

Step Nine: Remove the paper tray from the oven. Give the paper tray 10 to 15 minutes to cool down.

Flame and Heat Method

Step One: Always perform this method of flame and heat near a sink, in case you accidentally light the paper on fire. In the flame and heat process, the texts on the paper should be written after the aging process to avoid losing some of the material due to the burning of the paper.

Step Two: Use a candle or lighter.  Use whatever is available to you. Shun using a butane lighter as the flame is too strong for this type of work.

Step Three: Move the flame along the paper’s edges. The flame should be at least one inch below the edges of the paper Keeping the paper still move the flame along the edges, going back and forth along the perimeter of the paper. After the process is complete the paper will give the impression as if its been around for a very long time and has been damaged by time and weather.

Step Four: To give the paper a more aging look burn small spots into the paper. Be careful not to burn the paper by keeping the flame at least an inch below the paper. Once the spots reach the desired brown or black color remove the flame.

Covering the Paper with mud method

Step One: Dig a hole in your patio. This hole should be just deep enough to fit a tennis ball.

Step Two: Crumple the paper into a ball and put it inside the hole. Sprinkle the crumpled paper with a bit of water. Before covering with mud smudge the paper with dirt

Step Three: Finally cover the hole with dirt. Make sure the paper is deep enough and is completely covered. The heat, dirt, and water will wear out the paper over time,

Step Four: Retrieve the paper after three to 10 days. The longer you keep the paper inside the soil the more aged will it look.

Harriet Wetton

Written by Harriet Wetton

I love to write on multiple things but here i will try to teach you how to do everything easily and perfectly.

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