Fall is approaching with rapid strides, which tells us that Halloween is near! Time for a little creepiness…

Last year I discovered Halloween bookbinding but didn’t get around to actually making anything. That I want to change this year. For the Halloween booklet that I’m planning to make, I first had to make sure my paper looked all old and worn. It is a little time consuming but actually very easy to make.

You’ll need:

The loose sheets of paper that you intend to bind

A cake pen that the paper fits into, shouldn’t be too deep and not much bigger than the paper either

Tea or coffee

Some old newspapers to dry the sheets on

And here is how to make it:

Make tea or coffee. It doesn’t really matter which. Note that the stronger you make it, the darker your paper will become.

How much coffee or tea you’ll need depends on how many sheets you’d like to dye since each paper of course absorbs part of your liquid. I started out with one cup and that was enough for about 20 A5-sized sheets of paper.

Let the liquid cool down (you don’t want to burn your fingers!) and then pour it into a cooking pen that your sheets fit into.

Note that if you’d like to print, write, or draw anything on the paper, you need to do this before dying the sheets because afterwards the paper will not take ink that well anymore. And make sure to use water-proof ink.

For better effect, you can additionally crinkle your paper before dying it. You can do that as well once it has dried (don’t try to crinkle it while it is still wet because it might tear), but I personally liked the result best when it was crinkled before dying.

Put your paper into the coffee/tea in the cake pen and press it down well. Get rid of any air bubbles because they would leave white stains.

Leave the paper in there for 2-5 minutes. The longer you leave it in, the darker it can become.

Take it out and leave it to dry on an old newspaper or something like that. Make sure to work on a waterproof surface. You can dry it a little bit with a kitchen paper, but that’s optional.

If you just leave it to dry, it might take up to 45 minutes. To make it dry quicker, you can either a) put it in the oven at max. 100°C, b) use a blow dryer, or c) if your heating is already on and you have appropriate radiators, you can leave it on there to dry. The latter one is what I did and it worked perfectly. The sheets were dry in only a few minutes.

If you want to make it look really old and shabby, you can tear the edges while it is still wet so the edges don’t look so smooth. But this is of course optional.

And here you see the result:

The sheet on the left is a normal piece of paper before dying, the one in the middle is my first try with a coffee that wasn’t strong enough, and the piece of paper on the right is a crinkled and dyed sheet.

They are awesome for various projects, such as witches’ spell books, old-looking notebooks, and whatever else your imagination can come up with.

To be continued …

And a Happy Halloween Season to you all!

P.S. One more tip: As you see above, the crinkled and dyed sheets always take more room than the normal straight sheets did before. So make sure to take this into account from the beginning…