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In tabletop games you often deal with print outs, drawn maps, written messages, and all sorts of other paper props. But by turning the paper into what looks like parchment, you can add just that little extra to make things seem more authentic, add to the immersion, and just show you're doing a little extra for your players.
While you could just buy actual parchment, you can make it easily on your own too, and all you need is water, regular paper, and some black tea bags.
If you intend to use the parchment for printing, make sure you print after you've turned the paper into parchment, especially if you have an inkjet printer, or else the ink will run and/or fade.
Parental guidance: Child friendly.
Time: A few hours, but most of it is waiting for paper to dry.
Cost: Very cheap
Materials: Paper, water, black tea bags, large glass/container.
Optional materials: A tray of sorts to dip paper in, a drying rack/towel.
Grab your tea bags, put them in the large glass or your container of choice, fill it with water, and let it sit there for a while. You'll want the water to be really dark, so you'll need multiple tea bags. The darker the water, the darker the parchment will be, so keep that in mind. The parchment in this tutorial was created with 4 tea bags, and the paper came out quite light. Ideal for me, but some of you might be looking for something darker.
While the tea is steeping, prepare a decent sized working space. You'll want space to wet your papers, a place to dry it, and some extra space for extra things, like discarded tea bags. A good sized desk or table will be best, but if you have a decent sized kitchen, you could do it on the kitchen counter as well.
Once your tea has seeped enough, you have a few options to turn your paper into parchment. The overall results will differ slightly, so I'll go over them one by one.
The simplest and cleanest method is to simply dip your paper into a large container containing the tea. Make sure every part of the paper is covered in tea, then take it out, let it drip above the container for a little bit, then let it rest on a towel or paper rack. Repeat this with all the papers you need.
This method will generally give you a very clean look, ideal for when the parchment has to look new.
A different and more time consuming method is to pat the papers with the tea bags (or even a sponge if the tea bags end up breaking). This'll create a more uneven look, which'll usually make the paper look older. To add to this effect, leave a few bigger water stains on the paper to dry, which will create darker patches.
If you're looking for an older, worn and torn kind of look, crumple up your paper first, then unfold it, and flatten it a little. Then, depending on how old you want it to look, you can use either the dipping or patting method.