How to Make Paper Look Old With Lemon Juice

Use lemon juice to simulate the crisp brown edges on antique paper.
Use lemon juice to simulate the crisp brown edges on antique paper. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Unless paper is acid-free, it tends to become darker and more crisp around the edges. When making faux-antique paper for entertainment or artistic purposes, you can treat paper with lemon juice to realistically simulate this effect. Since lemon juice is acidic, avoid using it on documents you wish to save, such as photographs and letters.

Things You'll Need

  • Juicer or fork
  • Brush or sponge
  • Heat gun

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Write a message on the paper, if you wish. Use waterproof ink so it doesn’t run after you apply juice.

Squeeze all the juice out of a lemon, using a juicer or fork.

Dip a brush or sponge into the juice and lightly brush your paper with it, one page at a time. Apply more juice at the edges or around holes, and less juice toward the center. For a treasure-map effect, crumple the paper, and then smooth it out and add juice over the raised areas. You can also tear around the edges of the paper while it is still wet.

Apply heat evenly over the paper with a heat gun, or bake pages in a single layer for 10 minutes in an oven at 350 degrees F. The longer you apply heat, the darker the paper will become.


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