Free Old Paper Textures and Parchment Paper Backgrounds

Collection of Old Paper Textures, Parchment Paper and Old Wallpaper Backgrounds

Here is a collection of one the most popular backgrounds used in photoshop for texturing photos and pictures. Lets get on with some images starting with one that isn’t old but is still paper so I’ll include in anyway.

edit: I’ve use an automated plugin to list them. This means that this page is always up to date and it now shows large images so it is easier it see what it is. However, that means a lot more scrolling and I can’t adjust the order and group them into subcategories like I used to do meaning that some of the most popular ones are at the bottom. The image of a shrine has a drawing on paper version of it on the same page and I have no idea why the bamboo is showing twice 🙂

So what is it? Well I’m glad you asked (I’m sure you didn’t but I am going to tell you anyway).

Paper is a thin versatile material with many uses. It is made by pressing together moist fibers of a cellulose pulp, usually wood, rags or grasses. On a trip to Thailand I went to an elephant sanctuary where they made paper from elephant dung and gave a great story of how a guy first made it using the kitchen blender, not surprisingly his wife was not impressed 🙂 While paper is most commonly used for writing and printing upon, it is also used for packaging and in cleaning products as well as a number of industrial and construction processes and sometimes even as a food ingredient (particularly in Asian cultures – hmm, hope no-one uses the elephant dung paper).

It is thought to be first developed in China during the early 2nd century AD. Paper spread from China through the Middle east to Europe  in the 13th century, where the first water-powered paper mills were built. During the 19th century new processes for pulping wood fibers where developed in Canada and Germany and with lower manufacturing costs the use of paper grew. Nowadays the paper manufacturing industry is global with China then the United States being the largest producers (no surprises here).During a conference in Beijing, there was a one day field trip where we did the whirlwind tour to see the sights (like the people six deep trying to see the Pandas at the zoo during peak season :). Anyway one stop was the museum, after wandering around for a while the guide asked what the most valuable item in the place was, after the usual responses of the pile of gold coins, religious artifacts etc he mentioned that it was the ancient paper in a case that we had all seen as it was oldest paper in the world. So if you are really really into old paper, head over to Beijing :).

But what about Papyrus, that’s old paper? Although the modern word is derived from it, paper is different from Papyrus which was used in Ancient Egypt and other Mediterranean cultures as the two are produced very differently. Papyrus is created by laminating, whereas paper is macerated fibers. Ok. so what about parchment paper? Well parchment is technically dried animal skin that is limed, scraped and dried under tension to be really really thin.     

So there is your history lesson for today :).







About myfreetextures

Hi, Welcome to my site. My name is Phil. About me - Husband, father, geographer, traveller, photographer and all round nice guy :) I have love of the oddities, doors, windows, textures etc and am used to the strange looks I get when taking a photo of a wall, the grass, a road or a something I find interesting. Some of those images end up here and I hope you find them useful. Please remember the licence!


  1. Thanks for these, really helped with a little art project. Really good textures.

  2. The Dreaming Sentinel

    Thank you so much, these are some of the most beautiful textures I have ever seen, and I love the trouble you’ve taken in your explanation. The quality is amazing, and it has made my life so much easier <3 ! I'm hoping to illustrate a book with these, I might give you a link to a free e-download when it's done 🙂 It's so hard to find good paper textures, usually I have to blend together cement with rocks n shit -.- I am DEFINITELY book-marking this page! <3 <3 <3

  3. Hello, I used your textures for my inktober artworks and I also put the link to your page <3

  4. Thank you so much,
    its amazing that someone will share these for free, so much online is stock.
    you really helped me with these!

    thanks again 🙂

  5. Thank you, these textures are incredible! 🙂

  6. Hey, I love your paperbackgrounds – especiallly those with the flowers and butterflies… Can you make more from them? I use it for stationery and its so beautiful!
    Thanks a lot!

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