Onion Skin Paper…Peeling Away the Mystery

Onion skin paper is an intriguing paper on many fronts. Once, Onion skin paper was most commonly used as a typewriter paper, tracing paper and to hold carbon paper in place while making copies, and it was loved for its light weight, which was perfect for airmail letters. Today, this prized paper is coveted by calligraphers, origami enthusiasts, train model builders, lampshade manufacturers and paper crafters of all types. Passions rise precipitously with the mere mention of this sometimes elusive paper.

The mystique of onion skin paper comes not only from the flaming passions of its many worldwide followers, but also the unattainability of true onion skin paper. Blogs are filled with comments such as, “I found an old box of…,” “We sold that stuff 40 years ago…,” “My grandfather had some…,” “Help, I’ve used my last sheet of…,” “Where can I get…,” “Do you have any extra…”

What Makes Onion Skin Paper So Special?

The physical properties of onion skin paper are especially unique. Holding a sheet of onion skin paper is a different experience than holding most other papers. Onion Skin paper is exceptionally lightweight and thin. It is limp. It is a loud paper. Yes, loud as in volume. The crinkling sound that erupts when you handle this paper is sharp, crisp and loud. Although it is very thin, it is extremely strong because of its uniform fiber formation and 25% cotton fiber content, which makes for great folding properties and clean erasure for calligraphy applications. The appearance of onion skin paper is unique as well. While it is translucent, it is less translucent than the European vellums you see in almost every crafting store these days. Again, while not highly translucent, it is translucent enough to use as a tracing paper and model makers use it to create frosted windows on houses and model trains. Lastly, its translucent nature makes it interesting for lampshade applications. Onion skin paper can be colored with marker pens, embossed and glued to open up almost unlimited craft project applications.

Try this: Color one side of the paper with oil pastels, then using a drop of turpentine and a cotton ball rub this color evenly across the surface. Since the paper is translucent, one side of the paper will be a bright and bold look, while the other a soft, subtle and uniform glow. See the how-to videos here!

Who’s Talking About Onion Skin Paper?

Our onion skin paper is very popular and is one of the most reviewed papers at The Paper Mill Store. You can also learn more about which inks and pens work well with this paper by taking a look at Rachel’s enthusiastic review here on Azizah Asgarali’s blog, Gourmet Pens!

Spread The Word

If you’re a fan of true onion skin paper, then you’ll be happy to learn that we not only have a large stock ready to ship to you daily but we intend to continue to have this product custom manufactured for us to ensure that the tradition of onion skin paper and its many uses continue for many years to come.

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