How to age a paper with tea bags

Creating the appearance of aged paper is a craft idea enjoyed by primary school children and scrapbook enthusiasts alike. Use aged paper for historical effect on love letters, history presentations and for stage props. Old-looking paper can also contribute a romantic tone to wedding receptions or amplify the tone at costume balls. Creating the appearance of antique paper is very simple and requires items you may already have in your kitchen or can buy at the supermarket. The most popular method to create the appearance of aged paper is to use black tea bags.

Boil water in a pan or kettle or heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. The water will need to be hot to release the copper-brown colour of the tea leaves.

Dip a black tea bag in the cup or pot of warm water. Allow the tea bag to soak in the water. Watch as the copper-brown colour emerges in the water in a burst. If you plan to drink the tea, allow the tea to steep according to your preference. If you are only using the tea bag for paper staining purposes, getting the bag wet enough to release the tea will be sufficient.

Remove the tea bag from the water. Press most of the water out of the bag. The bag should remain damp but not soaking or it will tear the page.

Drag the tea bag across your paper slowly and gently. Repeat this step several times to reach desired effect. You may need to dip the bag back into the water and repeat this process until you successfully create the look that you want. Use additional tea bags for a darker colour.

Flatten the paper on a flat surface. Weigh the paper down at each corner so that it does not warp excessively. Some crinkling or waving of the paper will occur as it dries. If you prefer the crinkled look, crumple the paper while it is wet and straighten it out again before flattening and weighing down. The paper will dry in around 30 minutes to one hour.


Age staining with a tea bag is not acid free.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 Tea bags
  • Thick paper
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About the Author

Kristin Jennifer began writing professionally in 2010, with her work appearing on eHow. She has five years of experience working as an immigration specialist in Houston and New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in economics from Barnard College.