Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Tea Stain Paper

Last year my son had a Zombie Apocalypse birthday party.  I wanted to have aged paper for the invites but I also wanted to save on printer ink so I decided to hand stain the paper myself. Tea is so much cheaper than printer ink or store bought scrap book paper. 
It's surprisingly easy and I bet you have all the supplies you need on hand. 

4-6 tea bags
4 cups water
4 sheets of paper with your printed message

First start with plain white printer paper and print the text you want.  Then tear the paper into the shape you want.  These were inserts so I tore them into small rectangles that would fit inside the envelope. After tearing them I crumpled the paper to give it a wrinkled look.  You can skip this step if you don't want the paper to look as distressed. I tried it both ways and preferred the wrinkled look. 

Next boil 4 cups of water in a small pan and add 4 to 6 tea bags.  Make sure the tea is a dark leaf tea or you won't get a good stain.  I wanted the stain to be dark so I added 6 teabags. Then I let the tea steep for about 20 minutes.  

Once the tea has cooled(cooler than in my picture) poor it onto a baking sheet.  You could also use a large cake pan or any type of baking pan that has a raised edge and will hold liquid. I had a lot of inserts to do so I used two large baking sheets with 2 cups of liquid on each.  

Then fully submerge the paper into the tea on the baking sheet.  It's fine if the paper overlaps.  You can leave it to soak for about 30 min to an hour. 

Lastly drain the tea out of the pan and transfer the paper to paper towels to dry.  I really loved how the torn edges turned out a darker stain than the rest of the paper.  When the paper is drying you can blot it with a paper towel to create lighter spots or dab it with more tea to get darker spots. 

I was so happy with how they turned out I stained the paper for the envelopes as well. I did eventually design my own tea stained background so I could reproduce these and sell them in my printables shop.  But if I had to choose my favorite I liked the hand made version better. It just looked more authentic and vintagey to me.  

Now wasn't that easy?  You'll never need to buy age, vintage paper again.  I hope you have a not too spooky and really fun Halloween.  


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