10 Ways to Use Vellum in your Paper Crafts

Did you know that “vellum” actually refers to two different types of paper? One is translucent, and the other feels slightly rough to the touch. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the translucent variety and how you can use it in your paper crafts. But before we jump in, it helps to know what makes translucent vellum different from regular paper.

What is Vellum Paper?

Translucent vellum was originally made from calf’s skin that was tanned, stretched, dried and refined to be very thin and slightly see-through, similar to parchment. This calf skin vellum paper was very durable, which made it ideal for documents that needed to last a long time.

Today, “vellum” paper is made of plasticized cotton. It’s more delicate and less porous than normal wood-based paper so it requires some special consideration (we’ll get into that a little more later), but it’s still very sturdy and it’s perfect for any crafting project.

What is Vellum Paper?

Translucent vellum is incredibly versatile. Whether you’re crafting paper lanterns, designing a new scrapbook page, or creating a homemade card for a loved one, translucent vellum can add dimension and visual interest to your paper crafts.

Here are some of our favorite ways to use translucent vellum paper:

  1. Use layers of translucent vellum to add dimensions to your paper crafts. With vellum, you can add depth without creating a lot of bulk. It can also help tone down certain layers while making others pop. Here are more great ideas for layering paper.
  2. Create an ombré effect by layering multiple sheets or pieces over each other. Add more ombré to your paper crafts with our favorite ombré designs.
  3. Use it to matte photos for a subtle border.
  4. Place translucent vellum over a photo to create an Instagram-like faded effect. You could also try placing a sheet of vellum over a portion of your photo to draw emphasis to the uncovered parts.
  5. Emboss vellum to add subtle texture to your designs. Heat embossing works best. Here’s how:
  1. Make pockets – they’ll be see-through, so people will know to dig a little deeper. This is great for elements you want to include in your scrapbook but don’t want to apply adhesive to, such as vintage photos or memorabilia with a strong sentimental attachment.
  2. Print or write on your vellum to subtly superimpose writing or quotes onto your background paper or photos. If you’re handwriting, try placing the vellum over lined paper to ensure your lines stay straight.
  3. Trace on vellum to create unique, highly personalized scrapbook elements. Try tracing photos to add an artistic accent to the photo itself.
  4. Use vellum to tone down a busy background by placing a full sheet over your background paper. This works well for brightly patterned papers, which we all love, but which (sadly) aren’t necessarily practical for every project.
  5. Add color to plain vellum with watercolor paints, colored pencils, or even distress inks – just make sure you leave enough time for your work to dry.

Translucent vellum is available in a variety of colors! Take a look at some of our most popular vellum papers:

Shop translucent vellum:

Tips for Working with Vellum

Because it’s made from plasticized cotton, translucent vellum requires a little more care and attention than standard wood fiber paper. Here are our tips for getting the most out of your vellum paper:

  • Be careful with glue and adhesives. Vellum isn’t as porous as other papers, so some adhesives don’t work very well. Acid-free glue sticks, brads, decorative clips, and stitches are your best options. If you decide to use a glue stick, it may show through the translucent paper, so try to apply the glue in places you know will be camouflaged by other embellishments. Just don’t use a wet glue – it will cause your precious vellum to curl. Watch this video for adhering to vellum and camouflaging your adhesives:
  • Wash your hands before you craft with vellum and any time after you use glue. If you touch vellum paper too much, the oil from your hands can gather on the paper’s surface and cause smudges and blemishes.
  • Vellum paper is less porous, so ink will take longer to dry. Make sure you allow for extra drying time before you start handling your printed sheets of vellum. You could also try printing on transparency mode, which uses less ink, or select a vellum paper that’s specially designed for your printer.
  • Use sharp scissors. The heavier weight of translucent vellum can dull your scissors’ blades quicker than regular paper. The same goes with punches.

Very Vellum

Translucent vellum is the perfect addition to any paper craft. You can use it to add depth and dimension, draw your viewer’s focus to a particular photo, or even de-emphasize busy background elements. Happy crafting!

Shop for translucent vellum paper.

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