Age Paper Using Tea




This is my first instructable so bare with me as I attempt to put this fun and easy tutorial on the screen for you.

I made sweet tea today and had tea bags, so I decided to age some paper before tossing them in the trash.

This is how you achieve that old paper appearance to your craft and art projects.
I've even heard of people using tea bags to dye fabric.I'll try that and get back to you on it okay!

All you need is
tea bags
paper that you want to age. most any kind will work from drawing paper to card stock to stretched canvas
paper towels
and something heavy like a couple books

Step 1:

First all you do is make some tea!
I brew tea on the stove top using a small pan about 6-8 tea bags and almost enough water to fill the pot.
after it nearly comes to a boil, I drain the tea water, and sugar my tea.
I sat the pot to the side with the used tea bags in it.

Step 2:

Next you take a tea bag and dab it all over the paper.
Use the tea bag to smear tea on every inch of the paper.

Don't worry about the lines  we will get rid of them later.
The paper will be pretty wet and that is normal.

Step 3:

Now take one of your paper towels. I like to scrunch it in my hand, and use it to wipe off the excess tea.
The paper will appear darker than the white piece you started out with at first.
After you wipe off the tea you can repeat step 2 until you reach your desired darkness.

I have also let the paper dry and came back to it in a few hours and reapplied tea and achieved a darker outcome.

Step 4:

Now you want to put your aged paper under some weight until it dries. Otherwise it will warp as it dries and make for a very hard to use piece of aged paper.

I like to take a few paper towels and lay them over the aged paper and set a small towel over that. I then take a few books and sit them on top for a few hours.

It doesn't take too long to dry and the outcome its great!
Much cheaper than buying wood stain or other products and you get to feel good for recycling your used up tea bags! :)

Once you paper is dry you can paint, draw, color or do what elver else you like to it.

2 People Made This Project!


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14 Discussions


Question 1 year ago on Step 2

Erm...I'm sorry but I would like to ask if the paper will tear because of the excess tea


1 year ago



2 years ago

Can you print on this or should I print first then age?

2 replies

Reply 1 year ago

Oh! I was going to say print on it first but I guess both ways work :) The ink never ran for me


Reply 2 years ago

print on it, otherwise when u make it wet the ink will probs run. Just make sure it's dry before u print with it tho


1 year ago

Should I crumble the paper first then soak it or crumble it after

1 reply

2 years ago

Can I use this technique on pearlized card?


8 years ago on Introduction

I did this for wrapping paper for my brother one year. He loves music so I printed off some sheet music on A4 paper, aged it using tea and wrapped the CDs I bought for him using it. Because I needed quite a few, and was using loose sheets, I actually "made tea" with warm water in a large shallow baking dish and dunked each sheet, rolled the tea bag over various places and then hung them over a piece of string. I didn't actually notice much warping/rippling as it dried using that method, but I may be mis-remembering. I ended by scrunching the paper up, then flattening under heavy books and finally by singeing some of the edges/corners to increase the aged/lost manuscript effect.

2 replies

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Great idea with soaking the paper I'll have to try that! ohhh and I so am going to try singeing the corners of my next painting to see how that looks with the aged look. Thanks for the great ideas!


3 years ago

I've also had great success with using a lighter to singe and lightly burn paper props - the ashy charcoal burns in spots and burnt edges can make a magic piece of paper or old spellbook page look as if it has been around for a very, very long time and could not burn for some arcane reason or another. I'd recommend being outside or near an open window if you do this, though - I accidentally set my smoke alarm off while doing this once!


Heh, I remember making "parchment" by this method for grade school projects - old-timey journal pages - to impress teachers with ingenuity. Fun stuff...except cleaning up the inevitable mess!