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Author Topic: More thoughts on ageing documents...  (Read 2902 times)
Snr. Officer
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« on: October 10, 2010, 01:03:21 pm »

I know that this is a subject that has been covered before, and by those much more talented than myself, but I'm relatively new to the forums, and as I'm currently working on some Historic/Steamy documents, I thought I'd share what I've learnt.

I've tried the tea and coffee methods, but for me, being of a more impatient temperament, I find using a blend of watercolours quicker, and you can control the results to a greater extent (Darker/Lighter, blotchy areas etc).

At the moment I'm using a burnt umber/ yellow ochre mix (Approx. 2 parts BU to 3 parts YO). This is applied to a fairly wet sheet of paper using a washing-up sponge. I do all this on a large melamine tray to minimise mess. Don't aim for a uniform colour or texture, any uneven patterns add to the effect.

A nice effect is to sprinkle salt on the damp paper, once you've applied the watercolour. This draws the pigment to the grains of salt, creating an interesting blotchy look (Rough pale circles surrounded by a halo of darker pigment). To my mind this is a nice nod to the effect that moisture has on old documents (That damp, slightly fungal thing they have going on!) This is definitely part of the process where less is more, be subtle!

Something else I've experimented with is ageing the paper first, and then printing onto it. Using a fairly good quality printer paper (I'm using HP 100g/m2. Well that's what it says on the packaging!) you can use any of the processes above, and with a bit of care, these pages are suitable for printing on. I'm using a Canon Pixma, I have no idea what would happen with better/worse printers/paper, so I hold no responsibility for any disasters! Of course, I hold full responsibility for any fantastic ground-breaking discoveries Wink

If you carry out the described ageing process on blank paper, and allow to dry thoroughly, the result should be a nicely aged sheet, that's only slightly warped (I have found the papers tends to warp in large waves, rather than the small cockles that plague watercolour artists).

Making sure the paper is absolutely dry, brush off any loose pigment or grains of salt (I imagine these would be unhealthy for a printer). Then quickly run a hot iron over the paper (About 2/3 to 3/4 the full power). Also, set your iron to NO steam, this will cockle the paper.

The paper should now be good to go through a printer. Go wild in photoshop or word, producing Airship Docking permits and Ghosthunter advertisements Cheesy 

Here's a shot of the resulting paper (Highlights the texture better than the colour due to my scanner, though it's pretty close):

Here's a shot of some paper used in an ongoing project of mine:

Zeppelin Overlord
United Kingdom United Kingdom

The Green Dungeon Alchemist

« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 02:31:04 pm »

Just a note on printing on pre-aged paper: The trick is to avoid tearing the edge and making sure the paper stays roughly stright and not warped. To get it flat you can iron it as you say Cheesy
I allways used tea instead of coffee because I found the coffee made the paper smell of coffee Wink
Good advice indeed, carry on the good work old sport!

Green Dungeon Alchemist Laboratories
Providing weird sound contraptions and time machines since 2064.
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 11:03:16 pm »

Just a couple of notes on ageing paper.

Tim Holtz do a series of rubber stamping inks called Distress Inks which come in a range of colours, like Tea Dye, Walnut and Antique Linen etc. I've used them as is on edges of manilla tags to give an aged affect. You can also crumple wet paper and then draw the stamp pads over them. That works quite well. You'd have to iron, of course, before printing.

After printing you can always try burning the edges. I do this on the gas stove, you just need to singe the edges, pinching out any flames, and then brush off the really burned bits.

I think your aged pages look great though, the salt works well.

“A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity.” – Robert Frost
steampunk style personal adornment, items of postal communication and small collages -
Rogue Ætherlord
United States United States

gamer geek goth girl

« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010, 01:44:27 am »

Why would you want to age it? Wouldn't you want it to look like it was new but of the Victorian style?

Zeppelin Captain

« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2010, 06:39:26 am »

Sorry to be nit picking, but in England the spelling is 'Archaeology', and if you can get a font that ties together the 'ae' so much the better.

Polphemus Pomfret
"Don't be silly. He wouldn't write,"Aaarrgghhh!"
"Perhaps he was dictating."
Deck Hand
United States United States

« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2010, 08:58:13 pm »

In the 80s a guy faked a bunch of documents and sold them to the mormon church. Mark Haufmen or some such. step 1 paper from the backs of 100 year old library books the blank pages, or buy some from garage sales.
iron gall ink with  a burned page from the old book for carbon dating, write what you want.
age with ammonia bath to brown the ink and iron between 2 sheeds of cloth to yellow the paper.

If you don't understand it, consume it.
Snr. Officer
Netherlands Netherlands

« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 01:22:12 pm »

A note on printing: Most inkjet, deskjet, bubblejet and other -jet printers use an ink which may run and me smeared by the ageing process, so ageing before printing is in order.

Laser printers and copiers, however, use toner which can stand up to a lot of abuse. This makes it possible to print before distressing the page.
Snr. Officer
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2011, 09:47:15 pm »

Well Lilibat, I suppose it would depend on how many dunkings your adventurer has taken in the Euphrates or the Tigris wouldn't it? And of course the ageing process could be applied to documents dug up by said adventurer. Is this not one of the great Steampunk debates? To age or not to age?

And blast Polyphemus, you're correct. I think it would just about pass in modern usage, but I'd have trouble explaining it away for the Victorian era. I shall have to change it!
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