Monday, September 30, 2013

DIY How To: Aged Paper

For our Pirate-themed day at Phillips Elementary, we worked on "aged" paper. Working on a new type of paper always makes art more exciting. Here is a step by step guide for how we made our paper in the Brashear Association's kitchen.

Materials and Equipment:
11" x 17" white paper (20 lb office paper is what we used)
Aluminum baking pan (12.5" x 20")
Sponge Brush
Paper Towels
Hot coffee (the stronger the coffee, the browner your paper will be)
Hot Chocolate mix
Oven Mitts

Preheat your oven to 250 F. To be safe, make sure you know where your fire extinguisher is located. I also kept a receptacle of water on hand. I have experienced no flare-ups, but you just want to be prepared. Also, let anyone else in your vicinity know what you are up to. The room will start to smell like burnt coffee cookies once you enter aged paper production.

Grab your white paper and crumple it into a ball. Make it nice and compact and then unfold. If you don't have creases and crinkles all over, you can crumple it a second time and unfold again. I found it was helpful to crumple all of my papers at the start and have them ready.

Place your crumpled paper into your baking pan. Then give it a splash of hot coffee. I eyeballed about a quarter of a cup. The less coffee you use, the quicker your paper will bake. Spread it around with your sponge brush. If you have an excess of coffee, tilt your pan over the sink and let it drain out. Also use paper towels to sop up any puddles of coffee.

Use the hot chocolate mix and sprinkle it over the wet paper. We used hot chocolate mix that was expired... it turned out that aging paper was a great use for it! It gives the paper added golden-brown color and makes it smell like cookies. You don't need too much. Brush it into the paper with your sponge brush. Now you can put it into the oven.

Check on your paper after 5 minutes of baking. When the edges get dry and start to lift, you can flip the paper over. Return to the oven.

After another 3-4 minutes or so, you can remove the paper. On average our papers took 8 minutes to fully dry out. You can get some cool effects from the type of baking pan you use. Our pan had crinkled edges and embossed words and numbers which transferred to the paper. Store paper in a pile, and they're ready to use!


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