Thursday, June 25, 2009

Antique manuscripts: Faking it

An interesting thing to add to any gothic decor is an old, worn manuscript, framed on a velvet background, hung on the wall.

This, by chance, is one of the easiest projects you can do.

Antiquing paper is easy and fun, and it gives charm to even the most banal piece of paper. In my case, I used a roman catholic prayer of exorcism, found in a book of prayers (where else? :p ). Anything significant could be perfect, since more often than not it will be looked at instead of read.

The fonts I used are free and are called Rothenburg and Hartwig-Schrift.

I inserted a woodcut clipart found on and printed it out on ordinary paper. I used a laser printer and you should too, other wise the ink will disolve in the watery dye you'll use later.

Once it is printed, crumple the sheet, tear it, burn it, do whatever you want to make it look tattered. Afterwards, you'll need something to dye it. For beginners, I suggest coffee. Soaking the sheet of paper in strong coffee will give it that old, crisp, sunburned parchement look.

Personally, I like to use watercolors, mainly yellow ochre and burnt umber. Adding a few dabs of crimson, sap green or prussian blue, gives a more authentic look to the page. However, be careful not to make it too colorfull!

All that remains is to let it dry and hang it. I inserted mine in an old black frame I had laying around, and I cut a piece of red velvet from a santa suit bought at a thrift shop as a background.