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What is Vellum Paper

What is Vellum Paper

What is Vellum Paper?

Paper has seen many evolutions throughout human history. One of its first incarnations was vellum, which is still a highly desirable paper in modern times.

A Brief History of Vellum

Vellum paper has been in use since as early as the 6th century BC when Babylonians and other Mediterranean societies were using it and parchment paper in addition to clay tablets.

As its use became wider spread it came to be regarded as a superior material for recording written words in scrolls, books, and other documents. However, vellum manufactured today is quite different from the paper used by early Europeans.

How Vellum is Made

The word vellum comes from the French vernacular and refers to paper made from calf skin. Traditionally, vellum was made by stretching calf skin across a frame to achieve the desired thickness and then allowing time for it to dry.

What is Vellum Paper

Though this process was a complex one it continued to be used for centuries. The traditional process for creating vellum isn't an economical option for manufacturing so today vellum is made from cellulose fibers derived from plants or plasticized cotton rag.

Vellum Properties

Velum is desired for its translucence. When placed over another material vellum gives off a look similar to that of frosted glass.

Vellum can be thin like tracing paper or thick like notebook paper. The more air that is left in the cellulose fibers during the manufacturing process the more opaque or non-translucent vellum becomes.

Vellum also might be desired for its tooth. Tooth refers to the roughness of the surface of paper, and the surface of vellum is smooth. The smoother the surface of paper, the less rough edging is produced by writing tools.

How Vellum Paper is Used

Vellum is an attractive material that comes in a variety of colors, making it a popular choice for a variety of applications including invitations, paper crafts, scrapbooking, and marketing.

While vellum is prized for its beauty, it is also valued for its functionality. Many architects and other design professionals prefer vellum paper drawing because it can be layered over other projects, allowing several sheets to be viewed at the same time. This is particularly handy for designing elevations.

There is no limit to the ways vellum can be used during creative applications. It can be purchased in rolls or in sheets, including traditional 8.5" x 11." It can also be purchased at different weights.

Vellum Durability

Vellum is more durable than it appears. It can be drawn on and erased multiple times without causing damage.

However, it's also too thin to be used alone in functional applications. For art projects, vellum will need to be layered over cardstock or other material with more stiffness.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any vellum paper substitutes?

What is Vellum Paper

When the purpose of your project is related to crafting, the closest substitute you might find for this delicate drawing paper might be parchment paper. It has a similar translucence and durability of vellum paper, but unlike the frosted views achieved with vellum, parchment paper is much more cloudy making it more difficult to see the design beneath it.

Can I print on vellum paper?

You can purchase vellum specifically designed for printing on inkjet or laser printers. Otherwise, printing on vellum paper can be challenging. Refer to the manufacturer's specifications and instructions for your printer to determine how to approach printing on vellum without creating a paper jam or smudged print.

Is there a pen that can be used on vellum for marking projects?

While designers prefer pencils, there are situations in which ink may be preferred. The ZIG pen is designed to dry quickly and free of smudges making it a perfect option for use on vellum paper. Sharpie markers may also be used if delicate lines aren't necessary for the final project.

Can I cut vellum with my Cricut machine?

According to Cricut, their machines are capable of cutting vellum. Cricut has several machines on the market which may require different settings. Consult your Cricut user guide for specific instructions on how to cut vellum paper.

How can I keep vellum from curling?

Common culprits that cause curling in vellum are heat and moisture. To keep vellum pristine always store it in a cool, dry, and flat place such as flat storage designed specifically for papers. If your vellum does curl, it is possible to reduce the curl by curling it the opposite direction. A pencil works well in this situation.

Where To Find Vellum Paper

Engineer Supply has a variety of drafting and architecture-related supplies, including vellum paper. Our products are made by the most knowledgable manufacturers in the business. Visit Engineer Supply and allow us to help you with all your design needs.

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