When you have a wedding theme that is remotely Medieval/Renaissance you don’t want paper things looking crisp and clean. You want an old timey feel, and that means a lot of time aging paper for signs and other things. Originally I thought about painting the signs directly onto wood, and then I remembered what my handwriting looks like…and that was the end of that plan. I also tried buying some scrapbooking paper that was made to look aged, but it just didn’t work as well aesthetically.
So I bit the bullet, and started crafting…This was a pretty easy craft, and I think it’s one that even young children would be able to manage. We ended up using paper aged this way for our wedding signs and the bridesmaid/groomsmen gift presentations.
The overall steps for making the signs and the little papers for the groomsmen gifts were pretty simple. Open the editing software(I used word for the gifts and gimp for the signs) type out the words, arrange them artistically, print, and age. Then the signs were attached to wood boards with thumbtacks and the pieces for the gifts were placed in the gift containers. Short process overall, but obviously there is more information about the individual steps that will be helpful. 😉
- Fonts– I used the fonts selected for our wedding, Ravenna and Triforce so that it would match the suite. I also used the Hylian Symbols font for all of the little icons you see, like the triforce.
- Cardstock $8- Must be a heavyweight to ensure it can handle the abuse of this process
- Clothing Iron $12- If you don’t have one specifically for crafts I recommend picking up a cheap one
- Black Tea $4- Any black tea should be fine. Green gives it a weird tinge
- Foam Paint Brush $5- Most craft stores have them pretty cheap as well
- Thumb Tacks $6- For attaching the paper to the wood boards
- Wood Boards $4-10 – To attach the paper to. You’ll need various sizes.
- Oven- The big not cold thing the kitchen. Hopefully it isn’t being used to store books. (10 points to those that catch that reference!)
I started by downloading and installing the fonts on my laptop. I linked the Zelda fonts above, but if you’re basing your things off of a different game a quick google search should have a bunch of look alike options to choose from.
Since I use a Mac, I followed the installation instructions in the following video so that I would be able to use the font. Windows users should be able to google a similar tutorial for themselves.
After following the instructions in that video tutorial I was able to use the fonts in any program. For the Gift items I just opened word and typed in what I needed, but the signs were a lot more artistic and I ended up using a program called GIMP to create them.
As mentioned above, all of the little symbols/icons, like that Hylian seal, were done with the Hylian Symbols font. It’s a webding style font. That means that to get the symbols you set that as the font and start typing letters and numbers. Instead of getting the letter “r” when you hit that key you’ll get a little picture of something from the game, like a triforce. Since it’s a font, they scale nicely without pixelating.
While I made the things for the gifts in word, the signs were a little more artistic, and wouldn’t have been doable in word. So I had to use gimp to get the symbols to show up the way I wanted them to. That included placement, and some filters to make them look less crisp. I don’t really remember all the little filters and things I applied to achieve that, so I can’t do a GIMP tutorial. The files I have weren’t done with other people playing with them in mind, and it might be easier to do it yourself, but here are the gimp files(image files at the bottom of the post):
I have also included the images below so that you can just print the more generic signs if you like. Just scroll to the bottom of the post!
2-Print and Cut
I like this one because it was simplest of the steps. I hit print and then cut the pages to size. For the signs I cut them as needed. For the gifts it was small rectangles for the bridesmaids so that I could push them into the tops of the treasure chests and long ones for the grooms men to create things I could roll up to look like messages in a bottle. While cutting them I wiggled the scissors to create a ragged edge. I cut them at this stage, rather than after the oven, so that the edges would all curl when they were baked.
3-Crumple and Iron Papers
Crumpling and then ironing the papers gives the paper that well worn feel and creates some interesting texture. Balling the paper isn’t super easy, as it is thick cardstock and I nearly tore mine a couple of times. Once you’ve crumpled it, straighten it back out and then lay it out for the iron. It’s a good idea to start on the lowest heat setting and then slowly increase the heat as necessary. Make sure that your iron has the steam turned off so that your ink doesn’t run.
2-Paint with tea
Next, you’ll want to paint the paper with tea. Black tea makes a great stain with a tint like an old document, but green teas won’t work, you’ll get a weird yellowing instead of the brown that we’re after. Doing this after the ironing step allows the tea to highlight some of the crinkles and makes it seem more authentic. I’ve seen others just pour the tea over the paper, but I think painting it on with a brush gets better results.
Don’t fret when getting wet flattens the paper, it’ll crinkle back up in the oven. I painted the back of the groomsmen and it was hard because it was so wet, but it worked nicely. I kept it on a towel while I painted it so that I didn’t slop water everywhere.
3-Dry in Oven
Using your ovens lowest setting (generally about 200 Degrees) you’ll want to bake the paper until the edges begin to curl. The time necessary will vary based on the size of the papers, and they go from still soaking wet to starting to smoke very quickly! (Not that I would know from experience or anything. *innocent face*) I recommending checking about once every 2-3 minutes. For the papers pictured the small ones were done in 7 and the long ones took 15 minutes. As the paper bakes it will crinkle back up, and some of the coloring will fade. If you’d like it darker again wait for it to cool and repaint.
You can see the smaller ones recrinkling and lifting off of the baking dish, and how much the color has faded from the last picture. It was still darker in person, and I’m happy with what it looks like IRL, if not in the picture.
If you want rolled up bits(like in the bottles above) you’ll need to do a round of drying the paper while it is rolled up. After the first round for the grooms men papers I rolled them up with a rubber band, dipped the edges in the tea and rebaked them as shown below. This worked out perfectly.
And that’s it! You are all done! Super easy craft that turns out pretty great. 🙂 The only thing I wish I’d done differently is another layer of the black tea to make it darker for the photos. The gifts looked really good in person, but washed out on camera…when I did the craft again with the signs I think the results ended up being much better, even on camera.