Aged paper using tea to dye

DIY: Age Paper With Me Using the Tea-Dye Method

I wanted to try my hand at aging paper for an upcoming journal collection. I need the pages to look old and weathered. I remember having a school project where I wrote and bound a book (I believe after reading The Diary of Anne Frank). The assignment required me to make the book look old, so I dyed the paper with tea. 

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

I used loose tea for this project because that's what I had on hand. I also used 20lb copy paper. I typically use sketchbook paper or other specialty paper for products in the store. Still, since this is a bit experimental, I decided to use the cheaper stuff.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Paper
  • Tea bags
  • Water
  • Deep pan to soak the paper
  • Baking sheet to dry paper in the oven

Let's get started!

1. Begin by steeping your tea bags in hot water for about 10-20 minutes. I started doing other projects and let the tea sit. So, I soaked mine for at least 20 minutes.

2. Now, pour your tea into the deep pan. Make sure you have enough tea to cover the paper. If you use a plastic bin to dye your paper, be sure your tea has cooled before pouring it.

paper soaking in steeped tea

3. Let your paper soak for as long as you would like. I let my first batch of paper sit for about 20-30 minutes while I did other things. After dyeing a few batches, I noticed the paper was the same color, whether I left it soaking for 20 or 5 minutes.

4. Preheat your oven to anywhere from 195 - 300 degrees while your paper soaks. The higher the temperature, the shorter the drying time. Just be sure to monitor your paper for safety actively and to ensure the paper doesn't burn.

5. Now, gently lift a sheet of wet paper and carefully place it on the baking sheet. If your baking sheet is big enough, add another sheet of paper. You will want to ensure the paper is a single layer without overlap before drying.

6. Place the baking sheet in the oven until the paper is dry.

tea dyed paper drying in the oven

7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set the dry paper aside.

8. Repeat this process with the remaining paper. 

9. If you have more paper to dye, add more tea to the pan. This way, you won't run out of liquid, and you can ensure a nice color on all of your sheets of paper.

tea dyed paper

That's it!

You have tea-dyed your paper. Was the process easy? What will you do differently next time? 

Be sure to leave your comments below.

Also, stay tuned for my upcoming posts with lessons learned and the result of my edge fraying test.


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