How to Print With Vellum Paper

    by Victoria Ochaud

    About the Author

    Victoria Ochaud is a writer in London, U.K. She began working in publishing in 2005 as deputy editor of an industry wine and spirits publication. By 2007 she became editor and by 2008 she began freelancing for international food, drink and travel magazines. She has a bachelor's degree in history and politics and a master's degree in English literature.


    Vellum has been used instead of regular paper for centuries. Originally made of animal skins, modern translucent vellum is cotton-based. It is waterproof and durable, however, making it a popular choice for archival documents and plans. It also gives arts and crafts an elegant, velvety look. Because vellum is waterproof, printing on it can be tricky. Some printers have a special "Vellum" setting, but even if you only have a conventional inkjet printer, you can master the technique of vellum printing with patience and practice.

    Things You'll Need

    • Blank vellum sheets
    • Inkjet printer
    • Permanent gel pens
    • Hairdryer

    Using a Printer

    Choose a relatively thin vellum paper. Thicker sheets move through printers less smoothly.

    Read your printer manual and make sure that "Transparency" is included under "Recommended Paper Brands." Set your printer on "Draft Printing'" or "Economy Printing." This will ensure that very little ink will be printed onto the non-absorbent vellum paper.

    Feed one sheet of vellum paper into the printer and print a small test on it before printing your entire project. Monitor it to make sure the paper moves smoothly. When the printer has finished, remove the sheet, taking care not to touch the printed ink.

    Leave the ink to dry for about 20 minutes. Speed up the process by blowing hot air onto it from a hairdryer. Keep the hairdryer about half a foot away from the vellum, to prevent the ink from blowing around.

    If your test print looks right, print the rest of your project.

    Using Pens

    Use permanent ink gel pens. Use dark colors if you are using light vellum paper and light colors like white or silver if you are using dark paper.

    Test a small area of vellum paper with a gel pen. Leave it to dry for 20 minutes.

    Put a few droplets of water on the ink once it is dry. If the ink runs, then you are using the wrong kind of ink gel pens.

    • Print most of your project using a printer, but if it is too light, go over it by hand, using a permanent ink pen. You can also add fine details by hand.
    • Printing in small batches can reduce the risk of a paper jam.


    • "Wedding Papercrafts: Create Your Own Invitations, Decorations and Favors to Personalize Your Wedding"; North Light Books; 2004

    Photo Credits