Makin’ Beer Paper!

Posting this over here from my Orbit Above Games website as I try to get everything onto one website… forgive the typos that are present and blatant ferder dits.

It has been awhile. I have had these images uploaded but haven’t gotten around to actually posting about it. So here we go, this is part one and it is about how I made the paper which I would end up scanning at high resolution to use for the Incredibly Old RPG PDF.

Staining Paper

To stain the paper I was fortunate enough to be in a house that homebrews beer, so I used the throwaway bag of grains (after it was used) for a dark beer.

In the image below is the materials used for the process:

  • 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of paper; whatever size your scanner can allow will work.
  • Roll of Paper Towels; to assist in drying.
  • Hair Dryer; some like to use the oven, using a hair dryer allows you to do some fancy work¬†using the brush.
  • A small brush; this is used during the drying process to create drip stains and rings.
  • 2 Trays; one lined with paper towels for drying and another which will be filled with the grain water.
  • Bowl of water with the beer grain bag; depending on the darkness of the beer you made, you should have darker water. In the example images, I was trying to use a lighter beer and it had no effect. So go dark!
  • A towel; it is probably a good idea to fold a towel over on your work area so you don’t stain the floor, table, etc.

Step 1: Sitting Paper


Paper Submerged

The first thing I did was press the grains in the water, trying to make the water as dark as possible. So letting it sink, then lifting it up and letting it drain into the bowl, repeat. Then I pour the water into the empty tray, trying to fill it to about half the height of the tray if possible (keeping the grain bag in the bowl).

I then take one sheet of paper and submerge it in the tray. Using the paintbrush I press the paper down so that it is on the bottom of the tray.

I then let the paper sit for about 5 minutes, then flip. But the longer you wait the darker your paper will be when finished. Essentially this is the dying part.

Note: In the image I broke open a teabag to add more grit to the page. I didn’t do this originally, but I was trying it out. It wouldn’t do too much if you are using the dark beer grains (since there is plenty of things in the bag itself which will produce a similar effect).

Step 2: Drying

This next step involves the tray with the paper towels laid down in it. Remove the paper from the wet tray and slide it across the towel tray. Let the paper rest on it for about 2 seconds, flip and rest the other side for 2 seconds.

Now plug in your hair dryer and place the paper on the free space of the towel. I usually use the highest heat setting and hold the hair dryer an inch or three from the page, constantly waving and moving the dryer. Keeping the hair dryer pointing directly down (90-degree angle?) that way specs of water don’t fly everywhere.

Do this for both sides until dry.0131161549

Note: While drying with hair dryer, you can dip the paintbrush into the grain water and draw drips and designs. Following your brush hand with the hair dryer. 

Another option is to take the grain bag itself and drip water from it onto the paper while you are drying. Or letting the bag drip off into the bowl, then drag it over areas where you want darker stains.


That pretty much is it! Now when I was scanning these I found that the higher the resolution the better. I have a flatbed scanner than can do over 1200 dpi, but 600 should work just as well.

In the next part I will be talking about my design guideline for this project. Which is all about art styles and layouts and such and what the inspirations are for the Incredibly Old RPG PDF.

The Incredibly Old RPG PDF is a project where I am going to make an old looking digital document that is appealing to the eyes, functional, and has a good game inside. It is being documented through this blog and my Google Plus posts.