Paper to be aged / molded, preferably a cotton rag, linen, or other natural fiber paper
Note:Copier paper and inkjet bonds tend to not hold up as well to the washing process. The author suggests testing a strip of the paper before attempting to age your life's work.
Walnut ink crystals (the author prefers 7gypsies brand)
Spray bottle filled with water (a cheap from the travel section of your favorite pharmacy will do)
A few blank sheets of the paper to be aged (cut into strips)
Empty (and clean) jam or jelly jar
A container that can accommodate (flat) the sheet to be aged
If replicating an already aged piece of paper, a photograph of that piece nearby just for reference
Plenty of paper towels
A flat plastic board or pan the size of the paper to be aged. I use a flexible plastic placemat (not pictured)
Fill the jelly jar with some warm water and add a bunch of the crystals to it. Most inks have a recommended water-to-ink ratio, but the author prefers to guess. Shake until it's well-mixed and then empty into the dip pan. Test a strip of paper in it to see if it is dark enough. If it's not, just dump a few more crystals in and swish around until mixed. Save your aging fluid in the jar, so you can age many more sheets of paper without going through this step each time.
After getting the appropriate color of dye, submerge the paper in it. Swish the liquid around. Sometimes the author agitates it with her hand, which seems to work especially well on cotton rag paper.
There are two things you can do once removing the sheet: let it dry a bit so that the ink is darker in some places or blot it immediately so it is more consistently dyed.
The author wanted this sheet to be more consistent, so she blotted immediately. Her blotting procedure just consists of laying paper towels on top and soaking up the excess water.
Now for the molding. Spray the sheet with clean water and dump some of the walnut crystals onto an extra sheet of paper.
Shake the paper over the sheet to be aged to distribute the walnut crystals in a semi-random pattern.
Spray the sheet with clean water again. The crystals will begin to “melt” and stain the paper around them.
Blot the ink crystals and “walk” around the paper blotting as you go. This puts lighter stains on the paper in different places. The key is to blot — not rub. Rubbing causes streaks which make your paper look like someone threw walnut ink crystals on it.
After you have achieved the look you want, transfer the sheet to a plastic mat and rinse the ink crystals off under hot water. If at this point you want more stain, the process can be repeated.
© Curious Goods' tutorial was taken with permission from curiousgood.com