Getting older, on purpose

Sometimes aging  is a good thing!

In so many of my projects I try to achieve faux age, and here are two examples. A few weeks ago at a thrift store I found a plastic bag with three largish bright brass skeleton keys for $1. I was thrilled, I have never seen these before at thrift stores and I’ve been wanting some. To age them, I painted them with metal paint and them rust accelerator from Sophisticated Finishes. (Purchased at a local craft store with a 40% off coupon…my frugality never rests.) It worked pretty well. I would use it again.

keys 001

I also spent an evening aging a sheaf of spare paper I had on hand so I don’t have to do this every time I need aged paper. Simple indeed—just fill a rectangular cake pan with boiling water, tea bags, and instant coffee. Then play around until you get the effect you want. The longer you leave them in the dye bath, the darker they get. I really want them to look old, not just stained.

I let them dry a bit, then squeeze tea bags over areas to make them even darker and sprinkle a few instant coffee grounds for speckles. Just brush off the grounds when they are dry. I love how different they all are—the final color depends a lot on the paper content, so try to vary the kinds of paper you use. Makes it more interesting. I use these to print the covers of my faux French ruffled books, black and white antique engravings, old maps, and lots of other paper projects. It pays to do a big batch at once! Oh, and it helps—once they’re dry—to put a couple of heavy books on top of them so they flatten and feed into your printer better. They are pretty crinkly otherwise.

keys 021

keys 022


3 thoughts on “Getting older, on purpose

  1. Instant aging. Brilliant work. The rusty look is pretty hot right now – Restoration Hardware have some interesting objects but they are pricy. Look what you did! Beautiful!! Virginia

  2. Love them !! …What type of paper do you find works best in the printer afterwards please ?
    Or what type of paper works best period with this method ?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Rose. Really, I’ve done this aging process with all kinds of paper from bright white to cream, all different textures. Maybe start with lighter weights, not cover stock. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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