How can we make paper look old? Burning its edges, smearing tea onto it, soaking it with coffee, STOP… Aging paper to look older is not that hard with the help of Illustrator CS5. In this tutorial I am going to show in five easy steps how to create old paper. All it takes is a gradient mesh, a roughen effect, a clipping mask, and a texture. No, you don’t need any household items, just your computer and Illustrator CS5. Let’s get started!


Open a New Illustrator with a size of 800px by 600px.

Select the Rectangle Tool (M), click once the canvas area to open its dialog box, and enter a size of 800px by 600px (our canvas’ size). Place the rectangle inside the canvas area and fill it with a color value of (R= 200, G= 165, B= 100).­
Step One
(image zoomed out to 50%)


With the roughen rectangle selected go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh and enter the following settings:
Step Two A
Click OK.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select all the points that are at the border of our rectangle like shown below:
Step Two B

Then, at the COLOR palette change the color value to (R= 135, G= 106, B= 60).
Step Two C


Select the Rectangle Tool (M), click the canvas area to open its dialog box, and enter a size of 750px by 550px. This will create a new rectangle; give it a black stroke with no fill. Place it at the middle of our canvas area (on top of our brown rectangle). Then, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and apply the following settings:
Step Three A

You should obtain a rough shape like this one:
Step Three B

Select it and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Now our rough shape is a stroke.


Select both, the brown rectangle and the rough stroke, right-click and select Make Clipping Mask.
Step Four
The rough stroke was combined with our brown rectangle.


Let’s apply a texture. Select the shape, go to Effect > Texture > Texturizer, and apply the following settings:
Step Five
Click OK.

Final Result

There are several ways to make an old paper texture in Illustrator CS5, here you learned one. Experiment with different settings and effects to create your own old paper texture. Don’t forget to have fun!

Download Source Files