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How to Age or Antique Paper Using Tea

Antiques, Antiquing

Aged paper can help to give handmade greeting cards and scrapbook pages an antique look and feel. It can also be handy for crafty school projects, history class projects or a variety of other uses. Anytime you need old looking paper you can easily make your own. And the best part is it hardly costs a thing to do it! Here are some tips on how to age or antique paper using tea.


A piece of paper

Baking Dish (large enough for the paper to lay flat in the dish)

A couple of tea bags


An Oven

Optional: An iron

If you think about real antique paper usually it isn’t in great condition. It might be crumpled or torn – or even burned or charred around the edges. To make your antique paper look authentic you’ll need to beat it up a little to help make it look like it has been around for awhile.

Start by crumpling it up and then smoothing it out several times until you get a nice texture that you like. Smooth it out as flat as you can and lay it in the bottom of your baking dish.

Next, get out a mug, heat up some water and using a couple of tea bags brew some tea. You are going to use the tea to stain the paper, so you can choose how strong to brew it. Darker tea will give your paper more color while lighter tea won’t color it as much. Also, different types of tea will give slightly different colors so you can play around and experiment with different tea flavors to find a color you like.

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When your tea is brewed you should pour the liquid into the baking dish over your paper. You probably won’t need to use all of the tea – just make sure that the paper is covered. Leave the paper soaking in the tea to allow it to soak it up. This usually takes around 5 minutes or so. When the paper has soaked up the tea, blot up the excess liquid using a rag, sponge or paper towel.

Now you need to dry the paper. To do this you are going to bake it in your oven on a low setting to heat the liquid out of it. Keep your oven setting low and watch the paper to make sure that you don’t burn it. As it dries it should pull up from the bottom of the dish. Make sure the paper is totally dry before you try to remove it from the dish or you stand a good chance of tearing it.

When you have the paper dry and out of the dish you can use it just as it is, or you can keep working on it. You may want to char or burn the edges.

If the paper is really wrinkled or bent after drying you can iron it to flatten it back out using an iron on a low setting with no steam.

Use your paper however you want. Cut it up to use in greeting cards, add it to scrapbooking pages, write calligraphy on it or anything else that you want.