How to Stain Paper With Tea Bags

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Whether making ancient scrolls for a school project or creating eccentric invitations for a party, using aged-looking paper can turn your craft into something that looks authentic. Stain paper with tea bags to make aged paper that looks just like an antique document or a piece of ancient papyrus.


Staining Paper With Tea Bags

Soak three to four black tea bags in a bowl filled with 4 cups of hot water for 15 minutes, then remove the tea bags. Allow the tea water to cool completely. Dip a sheet of heavy duty stationery, scrapbooking paper or watercolor paper quickly into and out of the tea water, and lay the paper on a sheet of wax paper to dry completely. As the paper dries, the stained color naturally darkens towards the edges of the paper. Dip a watercolor paintbrush into the tea water, and apply a second layer of color directly to the edges of the paper and anywhere else that you want more color. Allow the paper to dry again for a weathered look.

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Additional Paper Aging Techniques

To add even more detailing to your weathered paper, singe the edges by lighting a match and applying the flame to the paper's edge. Just at the edge catches fire, immediately blow out the fire. Repeat until you singe the entire perimeter of the paper. Complete the look by rubbing the singed edge with a cotton ball or cotton swab. When rubbed, the ash from the singed edge blends smoothly with the tea stained areas to give your paper an old-world appearance.


Tea Stained Paper Craft Ideas

Use your tea stained paper to create crafts and projects all year long. If throwing a pirate-themed birthday party, make an authentic-looking treasure map using tea stained paper with singed edges. Tea stained paper can also turn a bland birthday letter into something that your friend or relative might think came from an ancient tomb instead of your home office. Write a love note to your spouse for Valentine's Day on a realistic weathered scroll, or make a few scrolls to use as props for a table top game.


Tea Staining Tips

When staining paper with tea bags, avoid using green or white tea. These teas might taste good, but you'll have trouble creating an effective stain on your paper with them. For additional speckling, sprinkle loose black tea along the edge of the soaked paper while it dries. Once dry, brush off the tea to reveal the speckles. Create areas of more color saturation by laying moist tea bags directly on top of the paper and allowing them to remain in place until the paper is nearly dry. Remove the tea bags, then allow the paper to dry completely.



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