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How to Give Cardstock a Weathered Look

By Jenny Parker
Replicating the look of antique paper is easy.

Some craft projects may require your paper to look old, weathered or “antiqued.” Artificially weathering paper can allow you to create interesting, heirloom-quality cards, letters and artwork. Although cardstock is thicker than standard paper, the process for weathering it is very much the same as for thinner sheets.

Crumple your sheet of cardstock into a ball, as small as you can make it. Depending on how crinkled you want your final product to look, weigh down the ball with a heavy object for a few minutes to deepen the creases. Flatten the paper out again as much as possible; optionally, press the paper with an iron set on a low, non-steam setting. Lay the cardstock flat on a baking sheet.

Brew a cup of coffee or tea. If using tea, allow the teabag to steep for approximately five to 10 minutes. Carefully pour the coffee or tea over the sheet of cardstock. Use a soft-bristled paintbrush or foam brush to spread it evenly over the paper. If you would like to add some additional interest, sprinkle a small amount of dry instant coffee over the cardstock and allow it to stand for a few minutes.

Preheat your oven to its lowest setting, which is generally around 200 degrees. While the oven is heating up, use a few paper towels to absorb the excess coffee or tea that is on and around your cardstock on the baking sheet.

Put the baking sheet in the oven. Keep a careful eye on your cardstock; when the edges of the sheet begin to curl up, it means that the paper is dried and is ready to be taken out of the oven. If you leave it in too long, it will burn and you’ll have to start over.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow it to cool down for a few minutes before touching it. If the paper hasn’t come out as dark as you would like it to be, the process can be repeated until you achieve your desired shade. Dry-iron the paper again if you’d prefer it to lay flat instead of having curled edges.

About the Author

Jenny Parker is a New England-based entrepreneur who has been writing since 1995. Parker writes extensively on creative self-employment and genealogy; her work has appeared on Etsy.com and Ancestry.com. She also has self-published several short story collections and is currently working on her first non-fiction book chronicling the history of her ancestors in America.