I found an old wooden traveling salesman case and thought it would look amazing as spice cabinet. Well the inside wouldn’t look attractive with information about earplugs as the background. So I decided to visit the Fort Sill Gift Shop, “The Post Trader” and see what I could find there.  Well I didn’t find anything old looking but I did find a cookbook with old Southern recipes in it. {LIGHTBULB}  I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to use it but I knew I wanted it to be part of my spice cabinet. So I took it home and put it with my file of “old cooking info.”  In there was also some handouts I received from Mammoth Springs State Park in Arkansas. I sat it aside for a bit then went to get a cup of tea. While folding cloth diapers I spilled some tea on the table and it got on one diaper:  “Oh man this is going to stain!”  {LIGHTBULB} STAIN+TEA=TEA STAIN!!!  Yes, that was a great idea. So I made copies on our printer of the cookbook I just bought. I tested one page to see if the ink would run…NOPE!  SPECTACULAR…I WAS NOW IN BUSINESS…. So here’s the steps:




Coffee (Optional)



Cooling rack or old towel

Old rag, heavy duty paper towels, sponge, or sponge paint brush

***ALWAYS DO A TEST RUN FIRST!!! If your printer ink runs, try a friend’s printer or a copier.***

1) Boil a pot of tea for 20-30 minutes or longer… WATCH YOUR WATER LEVELS SO YOU DON’T BURN YOUR POT (yes I’ve done that before…lol).  

2) Have your papers ready and an area to dry them out. A cooling rack works great or an old towel.

3) Take an old rag, heavy duty paper towels, sponge, sponge paint brush, or you can use the tea bags and dip it in the tea, allowing excess to drip off. (I used the tea bags)

4) Lightly dab the paper with the rag, don’t rub it. You are simply dabbing softly to stain the paper. 

5) Allow to dry. This will give you a light tan or gray color.  

6) If you want a darker/more brown paper, add instant or a strong boiled coffee to your tea.  I wanted the more brown/older look, so I added instant coffee to the tea.  This gave me the look I wanted.

 7) When the papers dry you won’t be able to see through them like you can in the above picture.

This is what I started with:

Earplug Traveling Salesman Case

nce my papers dried I used “Mod-Podge” to decoupage the inside of the traveling salesman case.

 I decided to mix a little Mod-Podge with about 1/8 of a cup of water, 1 TBS instant coffee then paint over my previous decoupage layer. This is what I ended up with.  I LOVE THIS!