Different Types of Blueprint Paper | Engineer Supply - EngineerSupply

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Blueprint paper: all the different bond styles

Blueprint paper: all the different bond styles

Anyone who has spent time in the drafting and sketching section at an arts and crafts shop will realize that finding the right paper is far from simple. There are many types of drafting paper, each with their own uses and advantages. Bond paper is the workhorse of the drafting profession, including the following industries:
  • Architecture.
  • Engineering.
  • Landscape design.
It’s the standard white paper that you’ll find being used in every office printer around the world. Its affordability, versatility, and size options are some its biggest advantages. Layout bond paper (which is typically 18” x 24”) can be used for making concept drawings, sketches, and colored perspectives. You can also purchase it with non-reproducible blue lines, which will allow you to have an intrinsic scale while you’re drafting. But it won’t show up if it’s scanned.

In most cases, 20lb blueprint paper should work fine. Heavier bond paper will feel a little rougher to the touch, because it will have more “teeth” than their lighter counterparts. This refers to the texture you feel, as well as in how it receives and holds graphite from a drafting pencil. A grittier or toothier paper will hold the graphite better than smoother paper. That’s why the standard paper for making charcoal drawings is heavier.

Other Types of Blueprint Paper

Blueprint paper: all the different bond styles

While bond paper can be used in most drafting applications, there are other types of drafting paper that can also be useful. Some of them can include the following:
  • Vellum — This kind of paper is made out of a tough material that can handle constant erasing and re-drafting of lines. It’s also translucent but with a parchment-like quality that separates it from your standard tracing paper. Vellum paper is good for doing final presentation graphics. Drawing a final landscape plan on vellum paper with an ink pen will allow you to have a crisp and artistic presentation that will add value to any client. It can also set you apart from the standard photo-collaged garden plans that may be used by your competitors.
  • Tracing Paper — This kind of drafting paper is perfect for sketching out rough ideas, overlaying them, and sharpening your designs. Normally, you wouldn’t use a fine mechanical drafting pencil on tracing paper because it’s not for making the final product, but it’s great during the “ideas” phase of a design.
  • Mylar — This trademarked product is used in blueprint paper that’s produced with what is referred to as a “biaxillary-oriented polyester film” (BoPET). It’s very durable, is resistant to tear and water, and can give you a finely-textured frosted surface that will give you the most amount of ink adhesion. Unless you plan to archive your work for personal reasons, both bond and vellum will work fine as drafting paper. But if you’re a growing designer, you may want to eventually test your skills by using mylar.
While drafting is a very technical process, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with other types of drawing media. There are many types of blueprint paper that you can try. And as you get better, you can see what will work for your specific needs. If you’re looking for a blueprint storage solution or any kind of paper you can use for drafting, be sure to browse through what we have at Engineer Supply.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of paper is used for making blueprints?

Blueprint paper: all the different bond styles

Bond plotter paper is commonly used in engineering and architecture because it’s sturdy, rugged, and high-quality, but there are other types of blueprint paper from which you can choose. Some of them include but may not be limited to:
  • Vellums — This kind of paper is used to make high-quality copies of blueprints and is perfect for doing presentation-quality work. Vellum paper is also a great choice for archiving your designs as well as for making durable high-volume prints and blue-line reproduction masters.
  • Translucent Bonds — If you want to make blue-line copies and overlays, this is a more economical alternative to vellum. You will, however, have to use vellum for making archive blueprints because it’s designed for this application.
  • InkJet Plotter Paper — This type of large-format paper can meet the needs of architects, engineers, contractors, and drafters who use Computer Aided Design (CAD). They’re perfect for these types of programs and for wide-format inkjet printers.
If you’re looking for one of the best places to find quality drafting paper, be sure browse through the broad selection we have at Engineer Supply.

Why does blueprint paper turn blue?

The signature color of a blueprint is the result of a specific chemical process. In 1842, an English photographer, chemist, and astronomer named John Herschel found out that combining ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide would create a chemical reaction and a compound known as blue ferric ferrocyanide (more commonly referred to as “Prussian Blue”). This photosensitive solution was used to reproduce documents through a process that's similar to developing a photograph from a negative.

How do I preserve blueprints?

Here are some guidelines on how to store and handle your blueprints or cyanotypes:
  • Keep them singly in folders that are made of unbuffered alpha cellulose.
  • Do not use glassine or wood pulp housing materials.
  • Do not store them in an alkaline environment, because they will fade.
  • Do not roll your blueprints, because they’re prone embrittlement and fragility.
  • Do not place them in plastic or polyester sleeves, because it will age more quickly.
  • Minimize their exposure to light.
  • Store them in a cool, dark environment with a relative humidity between 30-50%.
If you need to find good blueprint storage options, be sure to look at what we have at Engineer Supply.

Is blueprint paper light-sensitive?

The original blueprinting process was done on light-sensitive sheets of paper, and it allowed for the rapid and accurate production of an unlimited number of copies. It was widely used in construction and industry for more than 100 years and was characterized by a series of white lines that were printed on a blue background. However, the process has become obsolete. It was first replaced by the diazo whiteprint process and then by large-format xerographic photocopiers. The term “blueprint” is now used less formally to refer to any type of plan used by engineers, architects, and drafters.

Can blueprints be framed?

Framing blueprints is a quick and easy project. Once you find the right frame, it doesn’t take long to get them on the wall so you can enjoy them for many years. Measure the blueprints you want to frame. From there, you can find a frame style that’s in the same size or slightly smaller. If the blueprints are wrinkled, you can iron them to get a cleaner look. Test out a small area on the lowest iron setting with no steam. Once you’re ready, insert the blueprints into the frames and hang them on the wall with a hammer and nails.

If you’re looking for one of the best places for blueprint paper, be sure to browse through the broad selection we have at Engineer Supply.
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