Make Your Own Parchment (Looking) Paper
How to make your own parchment (looking) paper for pennies with items you have in your kitchen.
This is a simple idea that makes a great note paper or can be used for an award or other special-looking document. If you know Calligraphy style writing you can make it even more special and its so easy even kids can do it.
We’ll start with the main ingredient, the paper itself. Many formal papers contain a watermark of the maker. It is their little sign of quality but unless you want their watermark to show, choose a standard copying or printer paper, as this usually does not have a watermark. The type of paper you start with is optional, some have even used loose leaf with good results (the lines showed but were very faint). You can experiment with various types and see which you like best.
Once you have selected the paper that you will be starting with, you’ll need to gather some tools. Head for the kitchen (yes, the kitchen) and everything you need to complete your project should be there. Start with a baking sheet and a pot of water. The baking sheet will be the primary work surface and the water is for making tea, which is our next ingredient.
Generally, you will only need about a cup of water to get started if you are doing one sheet at a time. Boil water and add 3 to 4 tea bags. You can use more or less tea bags, any type or brand you choose to get the color you desire, even coffee if you think the color appropriate. The idea is that you will be staining the paper to the color of your choice. One variation you may want to try is to include loose tea or coffee grounds, as this will change the concentration of the color and make the appearance of true parchment.
Now you also have a choice to make before you pour on the color mixture. Do you want the paper smooth out of the package or a bit crumpled? Try crumpling up the paper and then laying it on the baking sheet and smoothing it somewhat flat again. Lay the paper on the baking sheet and add your liquid, you will only need enough to cover the paper, but leaving the tea bags themselves on the paper will change the concentration of color and make it more variant. The wrinkles in the crumpled sheet will hold the loose tea or coffee grounds if you’ve added them to create a marbled effect.
Once the paper has absorbed the color, usually around 20 minutes depending on the color you wish to achieve, pour off the liquid and you are ready for the last step, drying. Place the baking sheet in a mild temperature oven and dry the sheets evenly but you can use a hairdryer for this purpose as well, which will give the paper more of a parchment type “crinkle”. Another option is to just leave the paper out to dry till the liquid evaporates.
All you will need to do now is trim the edges if desired. Carefully tear the edges or singe them on a candle flame CAREFULLY, as you do not want to set the whole page on fire. Now your paper is ready to be used as an award, old document, or even a treasure map!