aged paper edges
Junk Journal Tips

Aged paper effect for junk journal ephemera

Old book pages are brownish at the edges. (See above.) Paper is made from trees and contains molecules of lignin from the wood. The lignin oxidises to a dark yellow or tan. To achieve a similar aged paper effect you can try these ephemera ageing techniques.

Age paper with stamp pad ink

Start with an inkpad that contains non permanent (water soluble) ink. The best ink colour is a yellowish tan or brown.

  • Rub the pad, ink side down, on a non stick mat, a piece of palette paper or a glass mat
  • Spray very lightly with water in order to make a dye
  • Quickly dab an ephemera piece into the dye. Try not to disturb the random droplets so as to achieve a more textural look
  • Lift and set aside to dry

Blending tool to age paper

To distress the edges of a piece of ephemera, you use an ink blending tool and an inkpad in a brownish colour.

Makeup sponge for ink blending

Most commonly, people use Distress Ink ™ and a special blending tool.

However, any inkpad will do, together with a makeup sponge such as this one.

  • Ink the tool on the stamp pad
  • With a circular motion, begin off the edge of the piece
  • Gradually rub the tool into the edge to deposit some ink
  • Move steadily along the side of the piece
  • Continue rubbing in circles until all the edges are inked
  • Set aside to dry

Aged paper effect: Coffee dye

This method is very popular with junk journal makers. Dip ephemera into a coffee (or tea) mixture before baking in a slow oven. This wikihow describes three ways to coffee dye papers.


In short, an aged paper effect is simple to achieve. Perhaps you know some additional techniques you can share in a comment.

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