Since I was in the need for some
images to look older for a project,
I tried the old trick of putting coffee
on paper and baking it as well as
some additional methods.
Here is how the experiements looked in case you have the need
in the future for some aged-looking paper yourself.
These images started out on plain white copy paper and have black coffee "painted" on them.
I found and downloaded most of these images at
In the recesses of my mind, I remembered that one kind of
computer printing "runs"when you put coffee on it.
It didn't take long to see that it is the images
printed out on an inkjet printer.
UPDATE: Two commenters on this post,
BEFORE running it through the inkjet printer
to eliminate the "running ink" problem. Genius.
The crow and the brown-ish pink-ish snake are color ink jet prints.
After baking the first image (I'm not picturing it..it was pretty ordinary)
and looking at the results,
I decided to add "flyspecks" on the next image.
After wetting the image with coffee, I flicked watered down brown acrylic paint on the paper
with a toothbrush. If you get more/bigger specks than you intended, just dab them off with a paper towel.
Here is the skull image after baking in a 250 degree oven
for about 3 minutes:
The wetter the image, the longer it needs to "bake". Be sure to stay by your oven when doing this
to monitor the drying. None of the images I did took longer than 5 minutes.
If you want a darker edge, you can dab the watered-down
brown paint around the edges...
...and then immediately take some of the paint back
off with a wet paper towel.
Don't even go all the way around the paper with the watered-down paint
before taking some of it back off with the the paper towel... it soaks in fast.
Do a section at a time.
Here is Mr. Crow after baking for about 4 minutes:
Another aging technique I have seen in the past
is to burn the edges of the paper.
I did try this but it was pretty time-consuming
and since the paper sometimes kept smoldering
even after I blew it out, I didn't have much control
over how much of the edge burned.
I would recommend doing the burning outside. Only burn a small section at a time before blowing it out.
An alternate edging method is to just tear the edge.
This is an edge torn AFTER the coffee has been applied to the paper and then baked.
If you want a darker torn edge, tear the paper first and
THEN paint the coffee on the paper.
This is a comparison photo of the different types of edges you can achieve.
After I got the previously white paper images aged,
the images that printed with a seipa-type background
didn't look aged enough to be with them
so I aged them too.
These are the images out of the ones I had downloaded and printed out that already had a
somewhat aged look to them. This is "before" I aged them some more.
I didn't want the ink to run on this ink jet print
so I only did the "fly-speck" technique on it.
Since one of my snake skeleton ink jet images had faded so much,
I re-printed on the laser printer on white paper
and aged the paper with watered-down brown paint.
This gives you a comparison shot of how
different printing and aging can look.
The color ink on the snake on top has run and faded. It actually looked
very cool up close and you might like that look.
If you want a somewhat aged look but don't want to
fool with the coffee/baking thing, you can simply
print your image on paper from the office supply
or craft store that says "Parchment".
These are all the finished images waiting to
be assembled into a collage.
With the coffee/baking technique the paper actually feels old too.
The images were glued onto a piece of cardboard
and then inserted into a frame that I already had.
The collage brings all the items in the Halloween
display together. The name of the display is
If you want to see more up close photos of the display, you can click here.