This is a fun way to make labels look like they’re aged for specimen jars for your spooky decor or laboratory, for Halloween or whatever occasion strikes your fancy.

What you’ll need:

  • Heavy card stock
  • Glue – glue stick/rubber cement/spray glue
  • Coffee – instant or leftover
  • Jars
  • Iron
  • Paper towels
  • Fonts – I got several from

Project Steps

Be sure to do a test page first. Some printer inks CAN handle being printed first and then going through the ‘aging’ process, but most don’t. I know ours doesn’t.

Ball up your paper into a tight ball. I pulled it apart and balled it again. Stick it into a coffee bath. It originally called for instant coffee and water, but I used leftover coffee. We make rocket fuel and knew it would do just fine.

I played with it a bit and started to smooth it out as it began to absorb the liquid. Depending on the thickness of the paper, it can stay in anywhere from about a minute to about two minutes.

Once it is saturated to your desire, pull it out and let it drip for a few seconds. At this point you can hang it, lay it, or iron it between paper towels to dry. I chose the latter for expediency.

Once it’s dry – and it has to be dry – set it up in the printer feed and initiate printing. The paper isn’t very flat so I made sure to stand by the printer and keep an eye on the feed.

If the ink gets a little blotchy, don’t worry as it adds more to the effect!

Cut and glue to what you’re labeling. I used a glue stick for our project as several labels went on antique bottles and I needed to get them off with ease. Rubber cement and spray glue are great to use if you’re not too worried about getting the labels off quickly.

For any ‘blood’ effects on the labels, just add a drop or red food coloring. Let it soak in for a minute and gently blot off any excess.

Set your spooky scene!