The Tea Bag Method

This method will use bagged tea to lend ordinary copy paper the appearance of medieval parchment. The process requires some other ingredients and tools as well, but most of them should already be lying around your house or apartment.

You will need:

If you're too impatient to let the paper air-dry, you can let an oven do it for you. If you are impatient, you will also need:


  1. Preheat the oven, if you plan to use it, to 200°F.
  2. Microwave a cupful or heat a teapot of water until it steams (about a minute and a half in the microwave).
  3. Let the tea bag(s) steep in the hot water for 3-5 minutes. Less time will give a darker color to the paper when you smear it.
  4. Place a sheet of copy paper on your cutting board.
  5. Gently wab the entire sheet of paper with the tea bag. Keep your cup of tea nearby to dip the tea bag into in case it dries out too much.
  6. Carefully flip the paper over and swab the other side.
  7. If desired, sprinkle turmeric on the paper to yellow it.* You can also tear the edges of the paper if you wish.**
  8. Allow the paper to air-dry, or bake it in the oven for 8 minutes.
Paper transformed using a damp tea bag.

Bravo! Your very own sheet of lookalike parchment paper!

* - Turmeric will create yellow spots on the paper, giving it a weathered look.
** - Tearing the edges will make the paper appear worn and damaged. Great for treasure maps--not so great for love letters.