Aging Paper with Soy Sauce

Edit: This is the paper in less harsh light.

Edit: This is the paper in less harsh light.

A few days ago, I had to take on the task of aging paper for an English project in the topic of Macbeth. With a group, our task was to create a witch’s brew that is inspired by the one from Act 4, Scene 4. To accompany our presentation style, one of my groupmates had the idea of aging the paper. Since the chant for the recipe we made is done, I took on the task of the aging process.

For those who don’t want to waste a full cup of coffee for a piece of paper, my friends, this is for you.

What you will need: soy sauce, instant coffee powder, an oven, the acceptance of failure, and a house smelling like wontons soaked in soy sauce.

Step 1: Crumple the paper, and place it on a cookie sheet.

Crumpling is completely optional, you can get through the whole aging process without crumpling the paper. But damage it does helps the soy sauce¬†manoeuvre through the paper well, it won’t scatter flat and give it more texture.

Step 2: Pour soy sauce!

Here’s the tricky part! There can be an occasion when you’re pouring too much, so make sure you have control over the pouring process. It can be challenging, so be careful!

Step 3: With a paper towel, spread the soy sauce across the paper.

Gently rub the sauce across the paper, dab instead of rub when necessary. Make sure the sauce covers all areas of the paper! Tainting the entire paper is important!

Step 4: Pre-heat your oven to 250F.

Step 5: Sprinkle instant coffee powder.

Soak a paper towel with hot water.

With the hot paper towel, execute a dabbing motion on the coffee grounds. This allows them to melt onto the paper, and bake in faster when stashed in the oven.

After the dabbing.

Step 6: Oven time!

Baking time for the paper is completely up to you. I personally prefer baking them up for three minutes per go, but if you want them more crisp and fragile — go the extra mile and bake them more until they start curling up. Pay attention to it while it bakes, it might catch on fire!

Finished product.

If taken in the better-lit areas of my household, these babies are brown and aged like how they’re supposed to be. You can repeat the process as often as you want (and as long as the paper can go), to make it as dark as desired. But when you do repeat it, I advise you to be careful! At this point, overdosing the soy sauce can ruin you work!

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