March 17, 2013

Aging Paper With Coffee Grounds

Sure, we've all heard of or tried aging paper with tea but
what happens when you dump your used morning coffee
 grounds (grinds) on paper to see if that works too? 
That's what I wanted to know. 

For the experiment, I used five sheets of paper;
two regular pieces of copy paper and three pieces of
medium weight card stock.  Actually, the three heavier
pieces came from the office supply store in a pack and
I think they call it "cover stock" there.  

The card stock already had a mottled look to it which helped. 
In the photo above, it is pictured across the top and
 the white pieces are the copier paper.
  I should have used a lot more newspaper to protect
the floor since this experiment got kinda messy.

One piece of card stock and one piece of copy paper
got crumpled into balls and then flattened back
out before having the coffee grounds dumped on them.

At first, just the used coffee grounds were scattered fairly
heavily on all the papers and lightly rubbed in. 

After a while of sitting with the grounds on top, I 
wondered if the grounds would work better if they
were wetter, so the middle card stock and the 
bottom right copy paper got a drink of coffee too.

Well, yikes, everybody got a drink of coffee 'cause it 
migrated through the newspaper to some degree to all
the papers.  Lesson learned: if you don't want some of the 
papers to get wet, put them on separate pads of newspaper.

As the coffee grounds dried, they got shaken off so I 
could see if anything was actually happening to the paper.

If you are more patient than me, you could just leave
the coffee grounds sitting on the paper longer.

I'm sorry to say that neither of the copier papers lived
through the experiment...they were not heavy enough.

When the remaining papers dried more, a brush was used to
get some of the more embedded coffee grounds out/off.

Now we have The Crumpled, The Wet, The Dry left.
(Remember the Clint Eastwood movie, "The Good, The
Bad, The Ugly"?) The Dry is not really dry because it got
wet from underneath from the coffee-soaked newspaper.
The Crumpled                  The Wet                         The Dry

The Dry                               The Wet                    The Crumpled

The coffee grounds' effect is softer in The Wet because they
were diluted and dispersed more.  On The Dry the grounds
embedded more and were more obvious.  The Crumpled had 
to be ironed to be flat enough to run through the copier. 
Actually, since the iron was hot, I just ironed all of them.

The papers were a little thicker after all the moisture
they had been subjected to, so they needed to be fed into
 the copier one at the time and given just a tiny push to make
sure that the "grabber" on the copier could catch them.
The Dry                     The Crumpled                  The Wet

The papers were used in a St. Patrick's Day display.

All of the papers used in the display had a sort of aged 
look but the ones aged with the coffee grounds looked
(and actually felt) like old papers.

The Crumpled

The Wet

The Dry

(I should have taken a better "before" picture of the card stock
but you can see in the above picture on the edges what it
looked like before much aging.  Also, this paper used in the
display is not exact but has a similar mottled look to the original.)

So, if you want to put your used coffee grounds to good 
use, age some paper with them for future projects!

For other ideas for making paper look old, click on these
other posts: Aging Paper and Aging Book Pages.

I'm sharing this post over at
Mod Mix Monday @ Mod Vintage Life
Tutorials, Tips & Tidbits @ Stone Gable blog


  1. Oh, I think this is a super idea, and the papers are exquisite. They will make pretty stationary!

  2. The papers really do look aged. I have a lot of coffee grounds to use if I ever want to try this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love how you'll try anything and let us see the results - good, bad, or ugly. :) These, however, were GREAT! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  4. Cool idea. I love how the coffee makes a much more mottled finish than tea. Your display with the green bottles is beautiful.

  5. I like the wet technique, it looks natural :)

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