How to Make Parchment Looking Paper on Illustrator

By Lanae Carr

Updated September 28, 2017

Treasure map designs commonly feature a parchment finish.
i Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Adobe Illustrator provides dozens of preset effects to help you add a custom touch to your work. Parchment paper finishes are useful in adding a vintage or distressed look to a document's design. The Wrinkle and Feather tools are the only presets needed to create a parchment effect in Illustrator. Save your parchment paper document as a template for future use, once you achieve the desired finish.

Select the "Rectangle Tool," and draw a large rectangle. The orientation of the rectangle should be portrait.

Decrease the stroke of the rectangle to zero, using the Path toolbar. Reducing the stroke erases the border present on the rectangle.

Double-click the "Fill" icon in the main toolbar, and change the color of the rectangle to dark brown.

Select the "Wrinkle Tool" in the main toolbar. This tool is located on the "Warp" sub-menu. To access this sub-menu, click the tiny arrow in the bottom-right corner of the Warp icon. Double-click the "Wrinkle Tool."

Set the horizontal and vertical values to 100 percent, to get the parchment effect on all four sides of your paper. Use the "Detail" slider to enhance or decrease the effect, by dragging it to the right or left. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.

Drag the Wrinkle Tool along the edges of your rectangle, to create a distressed look. Once the edges are wrinkled to your liking, select the rectangle, and Copy and Paste In Front using the CTRL + C and CTRL + V keyboard shortcuts.

Select the top object, then double-click the "Fill" icon to change the top rectangle to a light parchment color. Remove the stroke from the top rectangle, and choose "Feather" from the "Effects - Stylize Option" menu. In the Feather options window, select preview to view the changes as you increase the Feather Radius. The finished product is a worn-looking sheet of parchment paper.


Adjust the color on the bottom layer of the rectangle after applying the Feather effect to the top layer rectangle, to ensure both shades blend well together. This may take a few minutes of experimenting before you locate the right color.