How To Age Paper For All Your Crafty Needs

In this post, I would like to discuss some ideas on how to age paper. This is especially if you have old photo’s you want to scrapbook, or even if you want to give your layout or artwork an antique to age paper

What Is Aged Paper?

If you want the paper you are using for a particular project to look worn, old or antique, there are ways and means to make the new paper you are using for a project look old / damaged / antique.

The paper above has been aged by staining with a tea cup and some black coffee (see below).

For instance, sometimes using a brand new crisp sheet of cardstock just doesn’t suit the old photographs that you want to use on your scrapbooking layout.  There are loads of great ways to get an aged or distressed look to your layouts.

There are also a number of manufacturers producing printed designs that recreate a distressed look, but it is much more fun and cheaper to create your own. Here are some examples of aged paper that you can purchase online. If you are interested in any of them, simply click on the picture.

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Ideas On How To Age Paper For Any Artwork


how to age paperThe easiest way to distress or age paper is to simply crumple it up.

Take the page with both hands and crunch it up into a ball.  The tighter the ball, the softer and finer the finished crumples will be.

Next open out the paper and smooth it down.  You can then create different effects by either applying glaze for a shine, or inking lightly over the crumples to create a piece that looks 100 years old.

If you want a smoother result, try ironing the sheet with a dry iron set to medium heat.


You could also spritz the paper with tea, coffee or water for a stained effect. This is an instant way on how to age paper.

If using coffee to age the paper, use a tablespoon of coffee in a cup of hot water and then use cotton wool to dab the coffee onto the paper. You can also use leftover coffee from a coffee machine.

Tea can be brewed as normal, but the color will come out lighter on the paper than coffee. Make sure your paper is 100 percent dry before you write on it or use it on your scrapbooking layout or it may tear.

You could even try making a tear or hole in the paper to make it look worn.


Another idea on how to age paper is to lightly sand the surface of the paper with fine sand paper to remove bits of the finishing of the paper here and there.  Paper or cardstock with a white core will work better for this technique.  You can also combine sanding and crumpling.


If you look at old newspapers or documents you will notice that the edges are never straight and flat.  You can recreate this effect by using the tearing to age paper

If you tear the paper towards you, the core of the paper is revealed, and you can highlight the edges with  inks or chalks.

If you tear the paper away from you, the edge will be cleaner and sharper.  You can also try curling these edges inwards for an authentically aged effect.


Most old documents are yellowed with time.  You can achieve this same effect by using the direct to paper inking technique.  Do this by applying the ink pad directly to the paper, obviously using tan or brown ink.  Start by using a light touch of ink here and there, and darken  if necessary.

Other colours can also be used for this technique, and white is also excellent for a soft cloudy finish.

Using a thick makeup brush to apply the ink in a swirling fashion will also highlight the texture of the paper, or any embossing shapes in the paper.


Try burning around the edges of the paper. You can burn small holes into the paper. Make sure to work over a sink, so if you set the paper on fire by accident, you can just switch on the to age paper

When creating the aged effect, don’t use a brightly colored card, but if you have to and you want the layout to look aged, you can apply walnut or brown inks to tone the colors down produce effects that occur naturally over time.

You can also burn around the edges of a page like you see in the example on the left.


If you have any journaling (writing) that you need to add to the project, then calligraphy is a great way to make your artwork seem ancient.

Calligraphy is not that difficult to learn, and just takes a bit of practice. You can read more about Calligraphy here.

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