February 4, 2013

Aging Book Pages

For a Valentine's Day mantle, I wanted to make book 
page wreaths.  First, I needed book pages to accomplish
this goal.  My favorite book page wreaths that I have seen
other folks make have used pages that look old.

I don't have old books that I want to destroy to make wreaths
so I got a book at the thrift store for 50 cents to tear up.
The book was about 20 years old but not old enough looking.

I needed lots of book pages to make the wreaths so I wanted
a method of aging the pages that would allow me to age
 them without a lot of time and attention to each page. 

Here's how I aged the pages for the wreaths if you 
would like to know how:

Tear all the pages out of the book and put them in batches
 in a pot of very strong tea.  Don't keep the heat on for this. 

Put each page in individually and push it down into the tea
with a utensil to make sure the whole page is completely wet. 
Let the pages sit in the tea for about an hour.
(This one container of  brewed tea stained the whole book but in about six batches.
To do the whole book took over a day....not of constant time but soaking, laying out, drying
one batch then repeat. I reused the same tea for the whole book.  One batch can be soaking
while another one is drying, etc. )

This is a photo of a before and after of a tea-stained page.

 The tea-stained paper does dry lighter than it looks when it
first comes out of the tea bath but it is darker than 
the original non-tea stained page. For many folks, this is
enough aging...you don't have to do more processes.
To make the pages look even older and more distressed
here are a couple more things you can do also. 

Before you put the wet tea-stained page on the newspaper
to dry, sprinkle instant tea on the newsprint.

You may or may not like how much the instant tea 
ages the pages.  I found that it was hard to control how the 
pages would turn out with this method but it did produce
very interesting results (if you like heavily distressing). 

An easier, but not as dramatic, aging method is to mix a lot of
water and a little bit of brown acrylic paint and spray the pages
as soon as you put them out of the tea bath onto newspaper. 

The brown paint that you see below dries lighter than 

it looks when the page and the spray are wet. 

The aged pages actually feel like old paper after these processes. 
In the photo below, you can see the pages and the 
 binding they came out of...no going back in now.

Here is one wreath that used some of these aged pages:

If you would like to see the tutorial click
 "Pointy Cone Book Page Wreath".

I love so many styles of book page wreaths that I have seen.
 I hope to get a couple more of my favorites (that don't take too
much time) made for the mantle. 

I'm sharing this post over at
Tutorials Tips &Ttidbits @ Stone Gable Blog


  1. That looks awesome! I have used the tea bag technique myself.

  2. Love your wreath, I do have to try this, have a great day!

  3. Thanks for the great tutorial. Your wreaths are beautiful!

  4. Love the way the pages turned out. The wreath is beautiful!

  5. Your wreath is beautiful. Love them, but would not have the patience or time to do one.

    You are so kind and thoughtful to have sent Maureen a flow blue plate like the one that got broken. She is pretty excited about that and I don't blame her. Also, thanks for the work you do in caring for the new babies.
    Audrey Z.
    Timeless Treasures

  6. I have to be honest, I did not have tea bags or coffee grounds, but I did have a bags of raisins, a small watercol8r paintbrush and a large bottle of cinnamon... use tea bags. Although successful, a lot, lot of dinking around.

    How long should they dry?! I did 110 small squares 2 days ago and they seem damp.


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