What is Vellum Paper?

Feb 21

Versatile and pliable, vellum paper offers a variety of creative uses for artists and crafty creators. Today’s modern, manufactured vellum papers can easily be found in a variety of colors and weights. Keeping a stash of vellum papers on hand will ensure you always have just the right surface available to enhance your latest creative project.

 

Traditional Vellum

Traditionally, Vellum was a parchment made from calf skin and prepared as a surface for writing or printing. Vellum parchment was used to produce individual scroll pages, books, and codices. Throughout history, the term has sometimes been used to describe, in general, fine, high-quality parchments made from animal skins. Nearly impossible to find today, during the height of its popularity, traditional vellum was considered to be the highest quality, most durable, and thus most desirable writing surface available.

Modern Paper Vellum

Today’s vellum papers are safely manufactured from synthetic materials but still provide the ultra-smooth writing surfaces that our ancestors craved from their early predecessors. Modern vellum is made from plasticized cotton, wood pulp, or other synthetic materials. In its final form it is often translucent, and can be produced in a variety of thicknesses. Today, artists can choose from two different varieties of vellum papers: translucent, or “drafting” vellum, and bristol vellum.

Drafting Vellum vs. Bristol Vellum

Drafting, or design vellum is extremely thin and semi-transparent, making it ideal for technical drawings. Bristol vellum is thicker and better suited for use in printing. Both drafting and bristol papers are exceptionally smooth to the touch, however the thicker bristol vellum has an almost velvety quality.

Paper Vellum Uses

This highly versatile paper is often used for creating technical plans, architectural drawings, and blueprints. In addition, for crafty artists, paper vellum’s transparency makes it ideal for art projects in which tracing of a source drawing is necessary. Vellum is also a functional tool for artists and illustrators. Whether you are still working on your illustration techniques, or are just looking for a surface to add a unique dimension to your portfolio of projects, give vellum paper a try. You’ll find it’s more reliable and resistant to rips and tears than you may think.

Here are some other ideas for using vellum paper in your artistic projects:

  • Use it in conjunction with thicker card stock to make greeting cards or invitations.
  • Add delicate details to your scrapbooking efforts, or write quote or memories on a translucent sheet and lay over photos.
  • Trace designs and then fill in with your favorite medium, such as colored pencils or fountain pen ink.
  • Use as a surface for rubber stamping, then add to your craft project.

Ink Drawing with Vellum Paper

Vellum paper is also an ideal, smooth surface for ink drawing with your favorite fountain pen. Try tracing your reference material, and then outlining it in high quality fountain pen ink. Next, add vibrant colors with colored pencils. We recommend J. Herbin ink and Stabilo Carb-Othello Pastel Pencils.

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