How to Make Paper Look Ancient Using Tea Bags

Updated February 21, 2017

Add a patina of age to any paper project by dulling a new white or ivory sheet to delicate brown that will make your drawing, altered book or even a scrapbook page look as though it were created many decades ago. This "antiquing" process can be done on most any paper and requires no chemicals or even paint. To make your paper project seem ancient, look no further than your morning cup of tea.

Heat a cup of water in the microwave or kettle.

Add a tea bag to the hot water, or several if you are doing many sheets of paper at once. Allow the bag to steep for at least five minutes and drink most of the tea if you desire, or just remove the bag from the tea and let the bag cool.

Squeeze the liquid from the tea bag with your fingers back into the cup. It should be slightly moist but not soaking.

Wipe the tea bag back and forth over the paper until it is an even light brown. If the bag begins to dry, dip it back in the teacup.

Apply an additional layer of tea around the edges and corners of the paper for a more realistic aged effect.

Lay the paper out on a sheet of newspaper to dry. Weight the edges with books or other small but heavy objects so the paper dries without crinkling.


Make another cup of tea using several tea bags and allow the brew to become very dark. Dip your fingers in the cooled tea and flick it randomly over the tea-stained paper to make dark spots on the page.


Tea-stained paper is not acid-safe, according to online resource Altered Book.

Things You'll Need

  • Cup
  • Kettle or microwave
  • Tea bags
  • Newspaper
  • Books or small weights
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About the Author

Patricia Hamilton Reed has written professionally since 1987. Reed was editor of the "Grand Ledge Independent" weekly newspaper and a Capitol Hill reporter for the national newsletter "Corporate & Foundation Grants Alert." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University, is an avid gardener and volunteers at her local botanical garden.