Aging paper without making it wet?

TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm looking for a method to age paper (make it slightly yellow / brown) without making the paper wet. I'd like to age the white pages of a book, but I'm afraid that the paper will start two wrinkel when I use thee or coffee to age the pages, messing up the book as a result. The aging is just meant to change the color of the bright white pages to a slightly yellow/brown, not to give the whole book a real weathered look.

Does someone knows an alternative (a dry one) I could use to age the pages of a book?
 
I've used a heat gun set on low to discolor some paper. Held about an inch away from the paper and slowly move it around.
 
Most good quality books that are very old only go yellow on the exposed edges, the actual page surface doesn't. Maybe this is why very precious books had their edges gilded?
Anyway, if you only very slightly dampen the edges they won’t crinkle. You can bend the covers as far back away from the pages as possible, protect the endpapers with something convenient and then apply a very fine mist of pure lemon juice to the edges ONLY. Spray from at least two and a half feet away slightly higher that the book and let the mist settle on the page edges.
Apply a few coats (Let them dry completely in between)
Then either leave it in a bright/sunny window for a month turning it every day or bung it under a UV (Suntan) lamp (Not tried this but I'm told it works too!)
And it will go magically yellow and looks quite convincing.
As long as it’s a very fine mist and you are patient and don't go overboard it won't damage/change the edges shape or wrinkle them up.
It does help to give the edges a very light sanding first with some 1000 grade sandpaper to remove everything on the surface.
I came up with this method after trial and error and the end result depends on the paper really, the better quality the paper the more 'aging' it needs I find.
It is time consuming but works best.
Otherwise the shortcut would be to use cotton wool and strong coffee to paint the edges.
I wouldn’t recommend doing the whole of the pages as the results are a bit unpredictable and I've never seen a genuine ancient book that has gone brown all over, not without the pages deforming noticeably.
If you really want to I suppose you could 'spray' each page surface and use heat to discolour the paper, but the chances of a whole book being done without wrinkling are slim I think.
The heat method greylocke mentions is great for documents like wills, deeds, maps etc.
I personally wouldn't use it on a whole book myself.
Above all, you need lots of PATIENCE!

Good Luck! Any other details just PM me.
 
whitehammer, the method you described is for the edges only... Might go for that option, since apparently it's almost impossible to do the full pages of an entire book...?
 
I've often used "teabagging" with great results.
Not THAT kind of teabagging. :rolleyes
Dab a damp teabag in the desired area and keep a soft lint free cloth handy for any extra moisture. It takes a bit of practice to do it without getting the paper too wet.
 
kalkamel, funny that you post here. My question was to age the pages of your Nine Gates... book ;). Still not sure what I'm going to do with it. I really don't want to ruin it, but the pages are a bit too white in comparison with the book(s) seen in the movie... I'll probably just age the edges, I think... I'll post pictures once the aging is done. Did some aging of the cover too, using different kinds of sanding paper. Looks great...

Just to know: the books you sell in an "aged" state, also have just the edges aged, no?
 
Hi Tom, as I mentioned to you before you got the book, I had used naturally aged paper rather for that particular run rather than white printing paper aged with coffee/tea that I used previously. By luck, I found whole rims of paper kept in a store room of an office that had been there undisturbed since the early Eighties hence the natural weathering/yellowing. :)

For that run, I would add further weathering to the page edges with sandpaper, coffee/tea to look more beat-up as well as the standard weathering to the cover but since you had specifically asked me not to, I didn't, as I thought you'd be using your own method to do so.
 
Hi Tom, as I mentioned to you before you got the book, I had used naturally aged paper rather for that particular run rather than white printing paper aged with coffee/tea that I used previously. By luck, I found whole rims of paper kept in a store room of an office that had been there undisturbed since the early Eighties hence the natural weathering/yellowing. :)

For that run, I would add further weathering to the page edges with sandpaper, coffee/tea to look more beat-up as well as the standard weathering to the cover but since you had specifically asked me not to, I didn't, as I thought you'd be using your own method to do so.
Yeah, I know. I thought I'd like it better not aged. But I changed my mind ;). Although u used some aged paper, the paper is still quite white. Maybe a less bit white than regular xerox paper, but still way brighter than the paper you can see in the closeups of the book in the movie. Since most people here don't recommand aging the entire pages, I'll stick to just aging the page edges using my own method (also sanding paper and coffee).
 
Tom, whitehammer's suggestion may be the way to go. I use this method often and the results are good. Just brew yourself a mug of black tea (I use two Ceylon teabags), fill the liquid in a spray bottle and lightly mist the pages. The dark mist spots created by the tea will look like weathered spots you normally find in old paper when dry. After misting all the pages, you may want to put the book under some weight; the pages would normally swell so you'd want your book to close properly instead of warped.
 
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