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How to make a parchment background

A lot of the background images on the web are copyrighted. You can easily make your own. That is more satisfying and prevents you from being charged with copyright infringement. Here are a few backgrounds I did the other evening, It did not take long!

Parchment has a mottled background. Any of the patterned fills that are offered will do - but you will need to wash out the colour by using the 'hue' adjustment. Try it out - make a filled shape and adjust the levels - see what effect you can get.

To get the effects I have got below follow these instructions:

  • Open a word document and format the background as ‘newsprint’.
  • Copy a section of that and put it into a fireworks document.
  • Then make a rectangle layer with an elipse fill of ochre and peach. Make this 25% opaque.

  • save this as a jpg.

  • Reload the jpg into Fireworks and use the eraser to make the ‘tatty edges’

Use the brush tool to ‘edge’ the paper and get a ‘singed’ look.


To get a larger grain you can just enlarge your newsprint base layer. You can alter the colour by changing the top colour layer.

You can edge the paper (use rectangle fill) … try silver or copper… experiment with the fill to get different effects.

You can add ‘age spots’... use the brush tool and some artistic flair.... and finally make it 'tatty'!


I hope you have fun doing this. To get a really fine effect would take a lot of 'fiddling' but to get a background that gives the 'feel' on aged parchment is not difficult.

Experiment - and share your unwanted results with your classmates. Not everyone enjoys doing this or has the flair for it. For a DiDA project you need copyright free graphics so make your own - or get one from a friend.

All of the graphics on this page are my own work. They can therefore be used with my permission. Just acknowledge that you got them from and refer to this permission statement for their use and adaption by you! You need not e-mail me for permission - just refer to this page.