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Book related Tips and suggestions on how to make paper look old etc.

elderly lady in dressing gown on chair and reading a book





open book, quill and ink

This page is really for general tips
associated with books and libraries, however, the main feedback seems to
have been in ways to make paper look old.

There are several ways to make paper
look old, here are just a few.

– several of these suggestions put paper into an oven or uses naked
flames;  please watch
this process very carefully to ensure it does not catch alight. An adult
should always be present.

First make tea without milk and
sugar. Then take the teabag and soak the paper with it. If you are not
completely satisfied you can tear the teabag open and smear the contents
over the paper.To make it look burned, take a match and set fire to the
edges. Be careful to not burn the paper too much, otherwise there will
be nothing left of the paper!!!

A.GREYLING(9 years old)

Use water and cocoa powder!

1) Use a sifter and sprinkle cocoa powder
over the paper, in a baking pan.
2) Add the water directly over the piece of
3) Put in the oven at 400 degrees, with water
and everything.
4) take out after roughly 2-3 minutes.
5) Empty out water and let dry just a bit
before putting it in the microwave for a minute.
6) Turn on stove and put the paper on the
stove, but shake it around, which will produce some “burnt
stains.” (Will produce lots of smoke)
7) Optional: using a lighter, carefully burn
the edges. (SEE WARNING ABOVE)



Iron the paper on both sides (put a sheet of plain
printer paper over the paper to be aged. The more you iron the darker it
gets) then dampen it in water and lightly sprinkle tea over it ( if you
don’t have loose leaf tea just cut open a tea bag, coffee powder works
too but not as well.


Get a flannel and put some water and some coffee
into it.  Squeeze thoroughly and wait for some of the mixture to
drain through. Then rub against the paper and put in oven for 4 mins.

After that get a match, dampen the centre of your
paper so that it doesn’t catch a light, hold lighted match under the
paper and wait until the desired spot of the paper is to your standard.

Bob Marley

Aging paper to look older than it is –  I
have found soy sauce one of the best but depending on how dark or light
the paper has to be mixing soy sauce with water will give you the exact
tone you wish. Soy sauce comes in two strengths which is good and being
cheap can last for many many projects

1: Get the amount of sauce you need to do a A4
size piece of paper test the soy sauce on a spare or scrap piece first
to determine what shade you want.

2: Add water if too dark and if you are doing
Calligraphy work I also found lining paper which comes in many grades
from light to heavy is great for Calligraphy.

If you stain the paper first it will dry fast and
you can write over it without the ink bleeding.


Walnut Ink – Walnut ink
is made from black walnuts. It is usually sold in crystallized form, and
must be hydrated before using. Apply the wet walnut ink to the paper, lace,
fabric or other material. You can create various effects as you strive to
make paper look old.


1:  Get a square pan big enough to
hold your paper.

2:  Make coffee and tea with no
sugar or anything else. Mix those two.

3:  Pour the liquid into the pan.

4:  Lay paper flat in pan.

5:  Soak for about 1 minute.

6:  Remove, spread on a flat

7:  Put in microwave for 10

Done – effect: old, yellowish,

Jing Han

1. Put lemon juice around the
outside. (this goes browner when in the oven).

2.Make a cup of tea without milk or
sugar. Use the tea bag and the tea to stain.

3. Put in the oven for ten minutes.

4. take out and burn the edges
after damping down the middle part so it doesn’t catch alight.

5. Put in the oven again for five

You now have an old document.





  • First iron the paper on the
    reverse, then roll and put a rubber band around it . Now put the paper
    roll into a bin filled with rice. After 8 to 10 days it’s ready



  • A quick and effective way of making
    paper look old, is to “paint” The paper with a wet teabag
    until you get the desired darkness, put paper on a plate, and microwave
    for 1 minute. Then use matches to brown and char edges. To make old
    brown spots, hold a match about 2-3 inches below the paper until smoke
    spots start to appear. Also brown and char edges with matches, and then
    wrinkle paper by carefully scrunching it into a ball


  • Use
    a wet tea bag  and soak for about 1 or 2 minutes.

Bacon (9 years old)

  • I discovered while experimenting for a project that if you soak paper in just enough lemon juice to get
    your paper wet and to slightly cover the bottom of the pan for about
    ten minutes and put in the oven at 350 for about ten more minutes the
    paper looks old and it gives the edges a slightly charred look.


  • Soak paper in pan big enough to hold
    it and add 9 tea bags (less if you like) to the water.  After
    soaking, cook until given the look you desire.          

Lauren and

  • First, you put the paper facedown on
    a metal cookie sheet with rims. Pour coffee on top (be sure you don’t
    leave any white spots) and put in oven. Once most is evaporated, take it
    out and dump the rest of coffee out. Bake it for a few more minutes till
    its crispy then take it out.

David McNeill

  • Spread milk all over the paper
    and put it in the oven at 360 degrees for a half a hour to a hour.


  • If you tear a small hole close to the side of
    the paper and burn it with a match then smother it quickly it will
    make a very authentic look.

Nash Evans

making paper look old by burning

an eye on the paper during these processes in case it catches light!

  • Dab the edges of the paper with
    water, then use a lighter or candle to char the edges.


  • Rip the sides
    of the paper then wipe over with a wet tea bag.


  • Put fire around the edges.


  • Soak paper in coffee.


  • Make 1 pot of dark coffee with no
    sugar or milk. Combine it with 5 or more teabags and then leave the
    coffee to settle for about 2 hours to 2 hours and a half. Then take a
    paintbrush and paint over the paper with the coffee and tea and then let
    it dry over night between 2 white pieces of paper.

Roselyn Chang

  • You
    can make coffee, then, let it cool off, but not for too long, it
    can’t be cold! Then, pour it on the paper, and let the paper dry, to
    get an really historic looking paper.

by Lauren E. Reichart

  • Another method on a similar note has been received
    from Harjit Saimbhi –

1. make a coffee, with no milk

2.pour on the paper which is in a tray

3.pour out the coffee

4.get a hairdryer and put it on full blast

5.dry evenly

Hey presto, old paper


  • If you want to make a document look old, gently wipe
    it over with an old wet tea bag, then leave to dry. 

  • Alternatively, you can burn the edges of the sheet to
    give it that old “charred” effect.
                                Thanks to Andrew for sending us this one.


    If you want to add those little brown age spots,
    sprinkle individual grains of instant coffee onto the paper whilst damp, these will spread
    giving the really authentic looking mark.


  • Also, ripping the edges all the
    way around can help to give it an aged look. 

Courtesy of

  • A hint to making a paper look old
    would be to drip lemon juice on the edges of the paper and put it in the

  • Ashleigh

  • After
    soaking it in tea put in the dryer for 1 minute or 30 seconds to make
    it look crumpled or crumple it by hand.

  • Annalyn Donaldson


  • I heard that using an iron will help
    age paper as well.

George Rye


  • Another way to make paper look old is
    to put it over a candle.  But that is very dangerous as it could
    turn into a pile of ash! (you end up with dark spots too.)

  • Michael

  • I put my paper into a cookie
    sheet and soaked it in tea for 10 minutes or so. After, I put
    another cookie sheet, slightly smaller, on top of the paper so
    it wouldn’t warp. Then what worked well was putting the cookie
    sheet over the stove (covering 2 flame…things) 5 minutes and
    one side of the paper and 5 on the other and it dried it nicely.


Again be
very careful when putting the tray on the stove or over a

May also
not be suitable for some ovens.

  • Soak a piece of paper in tea or coffee,
    then use a very blunt knife to scrape the half dried paper on each side until
    there is a hole of desired size, then put some aluminium foil under the hole
    and cover with tea/coffee, soaking until the area around the hole is desired
    color. Repeat on other side of paper.


  • Use magnate of potash in a very weak
    dilution, that’s if you can obtain it.




  • If you are looking for alternative words or are at a
    loss for the right word to fit a thought a Thesaurus is invaluable.  This is a
    collection of synonyms on a grand scale.


Can you think of a good tip you would like to see
here (or anywhere else for that matter)?

Send it to us at june@hintsandthings.co.uk and we will add it,
mentioning your name of course.