For a touch of class, learn how to make antique parchment Thanksgiving menus to decorate each place setting at your feast. The parchments are made by artificially aging ordinary paper, then burning its edges for a burnished, scorched pattern. The menu can be printed so you don’t need to master the art of calligraphy. Best of all, you don’t need special supplies to make your antique parchment Thanksgiving menus, just some printer paper, tea and matches. This elegant Thanksgiving craft can be displayed open or rolled like a parchment, just as you please, and friends and family can keep their Thanksgiving menu as a memento. Here are the 10 simple steps for making antique parchment Thanksgiving menues for decorating your feast.
Step #1. Print the Thanksgiving Menus
Though you can write your Thanksgiving menus by hand, they will be more beautiful if you have access to a computer and printer. If you don’t have them at home or at work, visit your local public library. Choose the font, “Monotype Corsiva” to write the Thanksgiving menus. I suggest breaking the menu into first course, main course and dessert. Use white printer paper and print a few extra menus in case you mess up a little while making the antique parchment Thanksgiving menus.
Step #2. Prepare the Aging Brew
To give the Thanksgiving menus an antique look, you must age the white paper with the patina of centuries. The best way to do this is with strong tea. In a small bowl, leave a few tea bags in boiling water until the water turns tepid. Take the tea bags out and test that you can dip your fingers in the water without scorching yourself. If so, you’re ready to make your antique parchment Thanksgiving menus.
Step 3#. Age the Parchments
Crumple one of the printed Thanksgiving menus into a ball then immerse it in the tea. Move the paper ball around with your fingers to evenly expose all the white paper to the staining properties of the dark tea. Leave the Thanksgiving menu to soak for 1 minute then take it out, squeezing the tea out gently.
Step #4. Dry the Parchment
To avoiding ripping the wet Thanksgiving menus, slowly unfold the paper until you can lay it flat on a plate. Don’t be surprised if the first paper rips between your fingers. Making antique parchment Thanksgiving menus requires delicate fingers and experience. You’ll probably need to practice on a few menus before you can open the crumpled, wet paper without ripping it.
Step #5. Prepare to Burn the Thanksgiving Menu
Leave the wet menus to dry completely, which will take about 30 minutes. Next, you’ll need either long matches or, preferably, a lighter that will stay on for as long as needed. Since you’ll be using fire to give the antique, yellow Thanksgiving menus a burned, scorched look, be sure to work over a sink with a towel beside you to put out the flames in an emergency.
Step #6. Burn the Thanksgiving Menu
Holding the menu over a skin, set fire to the edges and corners of the yellowed paper. Work very slowly, allowing the fire to spread only a little, then putting out the fire with wet fingers or by blowing it out. Be gentle to avoid breaking away all the burned paper from the edges. Work your way all around the Thanksgiving menu to create a burn pattern all around it. To make antique parchment Thanksgiving menues that truly look ancient, try to create an uneven burning pattern, as if the paper had really been rescued from a fire in a faroff fortress centuries ago.
Step #7. Scorch the Thanksgiving Menu
Now comes the hardest step in making antique parchment Thanksgiving menus. To scorch the yellowed, burned paper you’ll need to pass a flame under. This will heat the paper until it starts to yellow or blacken as it draws near the point of catching fire. But you want to be sure never to actually burn the paper. Begin by keeping the paper at a great distance from the flame and work slowly. If there is a space between the words in the Thanksgiving menu, feel free to allow this point to catch fire, but be ready to blow out the flames before the fire consumes any of the words in the Thanksgiving menu.
Step #8. Mount the Thanksgiving Menus
Make as many menus as you need using the steps above. If you want to display the Thanksgiving menus open on each place setting, you can glue the menus over hard piece of cardboard. Then rest the Thanksgiving menus on the guest plates. Alternatively, glue the Thanksgiving menus to the cardboard backs of small picture frames. This will allow you to stand your menus as Thanksgiving table decorations.
Step #9. Roll the Thanksgiving Menu Parchments
Another elegant way to display your Thanksgiving menus is in a secret parchment. Simply roll each menu and tie it with an orange or ruby ribbon. Slip a stick of cinnamon or a leafy twig into the ribbon knot for added decoration.
Step #10. Add Names
You can use your antique parchment Thanksgiving menus as place names. Print the name of each person at the top of the menu if you intend to display the parchment open. If you are rolling the parchment, write each name on a white card, punch a hole at the corner of the card and use a ribbon to attach it to the rolled parchment.
For more ideas, visit my article on Thanksgiving-crafts for a shimmering Thanksgiving-table-setting, as well as my article with 10 dazzling Thaknsgiving-dinner-table-setting ideas