Old Parchment Paper

Hello, dear crafters – Heather from Thicketworks here and today we are going to learn how to Make Old Parchment Paper. We will be using my favorite Ancient Parchment Technique. I love creating items that have an air of antiquity, and this simple method is one I turn to often.

How to Make Old Parchment PaperI like to use paper that’s been aged this way to create meaningful documents, fancy scrolls for special occasions, letters to be tucked into bottles, etc.

Easy Ancient Parchment Technique

Of course, this type of paper also makes a wonderful addition to greeting cards, scrapbook layouts and mixed media projects of all kinds. I especially like it as a photo mount for family snapshots:

Aging a Photo

You can easily create your own “Ancient” Parchment, with just a few basic ingredients.

How to Make Old Parchment Paper Supplies:

    • Standard White Card Stock. You can also use regular printer paper, but just expect that it may tear during the process – not necessarily a bad thing…
    • Half a cup or so of hot water
    • Several spoonful’s of Instant Coffee – the more you use, the more intense the color
    • A scruffy paint brush
    • A spray bottle of water
    • A work surface that won’t be harmed by some drips of coffee/ink – a non-stick craft mat is ideal
    • A distressing tool, or a coarse emery board and scissors


  • DIY Spray Inks
  • Distress Ink in suitable tones + a Ranger Ink Blending Tool & Foam
  • A Heat Tool
  • An iron that won’t be pressing any starched white collars before you clean it thoroughly
  • A Scanner or digital camera

How To Make Old Parchment Paper Instructions:

  1. Mix up your strong instant coffee – dip in your brush
  2. Splatter & Fling (that’s the technical term) coffee over the surface of the paper
  3. Paint a wide swath of coffee across the top of your page, then lift the paper up to encourage drips
  4. Allow coffee to puddle directly on the paper surface
  5. Set the base of your cup in the puddles, then tap the base of the cup gently onto the paper elsewhere, leaving a lovely circular stain or two.
  6. Flip the paper over, and repeat the process on the other side
  7. Allow to dry

Coffee dying paper

8. Alternatively, be very deliberate with the application of color, concentrating on the areas you wish to age the most severely.

Painting Coffee on PaperA heat tool comes in handy…

Drying Aged paper

9. Once the paper is absolutely dry, distress the edges and flat surfaces of the paper with a Distressing Tool, like this one from Prima…

Distressing paper Or create similar effects by dragging one blade of a pair of scissors along the edge of the paper.

Distressing edgesAnd also scruff both sides with sandpaper or a rough emery board.

DIY Parchment Technique in process

10. Once the paper has been distressed, selectively add additional coffee. The distressed edges and surface will absorb more pigment than the undamaged portions, resulting in an even more timeworn appearance.

Adding more aging to edgesThe basic idea is to create sheer layers of color, one atop the other, furthering the impression that this page has passed through eons of handling and wear.

11. You can sprinkle dry coffee crystals onto the damp surface, creating more intense age effects:

Adding more patina to old parchment paper

12. If you use spray inks, begin with a tint that will embed itself nicely into the scruffy marks on the surface, without staining the paper too intensely. Here, I’ve chosen a basic brown ink, which I mixed to a light, not deep, color.

Brown ink spray

13. While the surface is still wet, add a lighter color and allow the two to intermingle.

Buttercup ink spray

14. Finally, create some drama by adding small areas of richer color.

Copper ink spray

Note: flip the paper over during each spray ink session, and mop up any over-spray by pressing the paper down into the puddles of ink. The goal is leave no white space at all, on both sides.

15. Allow to dry, or use your heat tool to speed the process.

16. To finish the look, grab some Distress Ink and a foam applicator. I like Gathered Twigs – it’s a rich brown with green undertones.

Distress ink gathered twig

17. Work the ink into the edges of the paper with a gentle swirling motion.

Adding blotches to paper

18. A wonderful thing about Distress Ink is that you can spray the surface of your work with water to diffuse the color and spread it around. When you’re happy with the result, allow to dry naturally, or use your heat tool.

Drying Blotched paper

19. The paper may buckle during all this rough handling – you can always iron it flat, if desired.

Ironing Paper

Ta da! You’ve just added the awesome Ancient Parchment Technique to your creative arsenal!

I like to scan my papers before the final embellishing stage, in order to play with the color tones for use in future projects.

I thought you might like that, too. So, as a bonus, I’ve created full sized PDF files of these two pages. Feel free to download and print them out for your own projects!

Printable Old Parchment Paper

Finished Ancient Parchment Paper Technique

Click HERE for the Full Size Printable PDF of the Old Parchment Papers

I hope you enjoyed this DIY Old Parchment Paper Technique! You might also like How to Age Paper Easily HERE.

Thank you for joining me on this day of gratitude…I’m so grateful for the time we spend together!

When the feasting is over, go do something that makes you feel marvelous (and makes a lovely mess of your manicure!)

Drop by Thicketworks anytime you feel like getting messy – you’re always welcome there!


Old Parchment Paper Technique