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A Guide to Using Vellum Paper, Including Tips and Ideas

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Vellum can be used to make wonderful flowers. It can be started as a white or neutral, then be colored with any color you would like, once it has been die cut.

Vellum can be used to make wonderful flowers. It can be started as a white or neutral, then be colored with any color you would like, once it has been die cut.

Vellum is a translucent paper that is underused by most scrapbook artists and card makers. It's an elegant paper that can be used in a variety of projects.

It was originally a fine parchment made of calfskin or lambskin. Later, the parchment was imitated with the heavy off-white quality paper that we use today.

Plain white vellum is probably the most recognizable by most crafters. But why just limit yourself to the traditional white? These days, there are more patterned and colored papers (this pack offers a wide variety of colors to play around with; I've bought it multiple times). There are even sayings and stickers made from this paper.

While it's easy to work with, it has to be handled with care. Make sure to wash your hands before you work with vellum. Any glue, ink, or oil that you have on your hands will transfer to the paper and cause stains and smudges. Make sure not to crease it. Once it is creased, it is creased for life. The trick is to handle it as little as possible.

You will want to store your vellum in a cool, and flat place. Heat is the enemy of vellum. Storing it this way will prevent curling when you go to use it.

Note: Store your vellum sheets flat in a plastic bag between two sheets of cardboard to keep them fresh and clean.

This article will show you the following techniques using vellum:

  • Stamping
  • Adhering
  • Heat embossing
  • Stenciling
  • Die cutting
  • Printing and writing

I've also included general tips and other ways you can use this paper. The possibilities are endless!

Fun Craft Ideas Using This Type of Paper

Of course, when you think of vellum, you most often think of wedding invitations. But there is a lot more to this versatile paper than that!

If you think outside of the box, you will find a lot of different ways to use this kind of paper. Here are some ideas to get you started!

  • Give patterned paper a soft and custom look by placing clear vellum over it.
  • Mat a photo: I love adding a vellum mat, especially when I am using detailed patterned paper. When I need to put a mat between my photo and the pattern, this type of paper adds just the right touch. It's soft and allows some of the pattern to show but more softly so that it doesn't distract from the photo.
  • Make a transparent pocket for memorabilia, tags, and journal notes: These little see-through pockets will offer a sneak peek of what's inside and encourage someone to look to find a hidden treasure.
  • Make border strips: Vellum gives a nice soft look. You can rip it, cut it, or use decorative scissors to create a custom edge. This is a great idea for both scrapbook pages and greeting cards.
  • Partition a page with vellum: You could partition in halves, quarters, or thirds.
  • Make flowers: If you have an electronic cutter, you could cut vellum flowers.
  • Simulate glass in things like a bowl or jar.
  • Use multiple colors of vellum to create an ombre effect: You can do this with cards, scrapbook pages, art journals, and more.
  • Make a vellum envelope

Stamping on Vellum

  • The very first thing to understand about stamping on vellum is that no matter what ink you use, it will take longer for the ink to dry.
  • Your craft heat gun will speed up the drying progress. However, be careful not to use the gun too close to the paper as it could cause burn marks. You could hold the paper with a pair of long tweezers.
  • Allow the heat gun to warm up before you use it; then use the gun on and off the piece. That will allow the piece to warm up enough to dry but not get crispy.
  • Always blow it dry from behind. That is to say, never use the heat gun on the side of the paper where it has been stamped. That way the ink will stay exactly where you put it.

Want to create a muted effect on your vellum? Use water-based dye ink. It creates a softer look. You could also use distressed inks and distressed oxide inks to create a soft look on your projects.

How to Adhere This Type of Paper

Adhering vellum requires special handling, but the results are very pleasant. While there are different things you could do, for ease of use, especially with beginners, I suggest that you use vellum tape or glue dots.

  • Use a plain glue stick and cover the glue with a sticker or die-cut.
  • Attach the vellum to the scrapbook paper with photo corners.
  • Use eyelets to attach the vellum to cardstock.
  • Use stitches to adhere vellum.
  • Use brads to attach it to your cardstock.
  • Photo corners are great for square pieces of vellum.

Note: Never use wet glues with vellum as it will cause the paper to curl.

Great Trick for Beginners

  1. Apply the adhesive to the card stock or the surface that you are working on.
  2. Attach the vellum.
  3. Let the adhesive become tacky and then apply the vellum. You will get a much cleaner look.

Heat Embossing

Did you know you can heat emboss on vellum? You can create overlays for cards and journals. You can also create amazing windows for shaker cards.

Vellum is the perfect alternative for the window (rather than acrylic) It is sturdy enough to handle the little pieces that make your shaker card. Of course, it comes in clear, colors, and prints. Are we getting your creative juices going yet?

Tips and Warnings Before Starting

  • One of the first things that you must do is use an Embossing Buddy or any other similar product before you start the project!
  • Do not overheat the vellum. It will crinkle, buckle, and/or wrinkle.
  • Never use a blow dryer for any kind of embossing. I promise that you will be unhappy with the results.
  • Invest in a craft heat gun. If you are buying one, invest in one with two heat settings. The lower heat setting works better for this technique. You will also want to move the heat gun around quickly so that the heat does not settle in one area.
  • Make sure to keep the heat gun a good distance away 6-7 inches from the vellum. It may take longer to heat, but the results will be better

Supplies

  • Vellum
  • Versamark ink or any other embossing ink
  • Stamp of your choice
  • Acrylic block, MISTI tool, or stamping platform
  • Embossing powder
  • Heat gun
  • Pair of tweezers
  • Anti-static pouch
  • Piece of 12" by 12" card stock

Directions

  1. Prep the piece of vellum with the anti-static pouch.
  2. Stamp the image with the embossing ink.
  3. If you are using multiple images, stamp the rest.
  4. Sprinkle embossing powder all over your stamped image or images.
  5. Tap the vellum onto the card stock to get any excess powder off the image.
  6. Hold the project with a pair of long tweezers.
  7. Using your other hand, apply the heat gun on top of and below both sides of the paper, constantly moving the heat until the powder becomes like shiny plastic.
  8. Allow it to cool.

Note: The anti-static powder or tool will keep any excess embossing powder from anywhere but your stamped image

How to Stencil on Vellum

You can get a very special image on vellum with a stencil. This project is for greeting cards, but you could adapt it for a scrapbook page or journal.

Supplies

  • Craft mat or parchment paper
  • Anti-static powder tool
  • Vellum
  • Stencil of your choice
  • Embossing powder
  • Versa mark ink
  • Foam applicator tool ( round tool used to apply ink)
  • Heat tool
  • Copics or Spectrum Noir Markers
  • Low-tack tape

Directions

  1. Cut the piece of vellum to the size that you would like to use on your card.
  2. Place a craft mat or parchment paper on your work surface.
  3. Use the anti-static powder tool across the paper.
  4. Apply the stencil to the paper.
  5. Tape the stencil to the paper.
  6. Apply the Versa mark ink with the foam tool.
  7. Cover the entire stencil.
  8. Remove the stencil carefully.
  9. Place a piece of paper under the vellum.
  10. Apply the embossing powder to the vellum.
  11. Tap off the excess embossing powder and return it to the jar.
  12. Hold the vellum with the tweezers.
  13. Apply the heating tool to the back and front of the vellum (make sure not to go too close or the vellum may burn). Use short bursts of heat until all the powder has been heated.
  14. Once the powder has been embossed and the paper has cooled, turn the vellum to the backside.
  15. Using an alcohol marker or markers of your choice, color the entire back of your paper. Do not use excessive pressure. Make sure that if you use two colors, you get a good blend.
  16. Once the ink is dry, apply it to your card.
Using vellum to emboss and die cut adds a certain elegance to any project

Using vellum to emboss and die cut adds a certain elegance to any project

Die Cutting

For the most part, when you are using vellum with dies, you are going to heat emboss the image and then cut it out.

If I am making flowers, I tend to like crisp, white embossing powder, I like black or gold for butterflies. But as I have said before, this is your art, so find what works for you. If you run into a problem or make a mess, you are one step closer to being an expert.

Directions

  1. Line your dies with your images. I like to use a little low-tack tape to make sure that they stay in place.
  2. Follow the directions for your die-cutting machine.
  3. Once this is done, you can color your project. I like to color images from the backside with alcohol markers: you get some pretty effects.

3D Vellum Butterflies

Tips for Printing on Vellum

Yes, the type of printer you use to print on vellum does make a difference in the outcome. Understanding the features and functions of your printer will help you get better results. Take time to understand what you have available in the type of printer that you have.

Inkjet Tips For Vellum

  • Use vellum that is made for inkjet printing if you are going to print a title or saying.
  • Try using a different mode like "draft" or "quick" mode. They use less ink and may smear less
  • Print it, lay it flat, and walk away. Let it dry overnight and you may get better results.
  • Experiment with paper-type settings. Most default to plain paper. Switching it to photo paper or fine art paper may also help with the end results.

Laser Printer Tips For Vellum

  • Try adjusting the weight and thickness setting to get better results. Adjusting the setting to a lighter one may prove to help with print coverage, wrinkling and jamming.

General Print Tips For Vellum

  • Vellum is not inexpensive, so always proof for spelling and punctuation before you print.
  • Let the ink dry before you touch it, or you will smear it. The drawback to using this type of paper is the amount of time that it takes to dry. But if you have patience, you will be pleased with the results.
  • Allow a one-inch margin around your text to allow the rollers of your printer to grab the paper.
  • Increase the spacing between letters so that the print does not smear.
  • Carefully Lift each page as it finishes, and set it aside to dry.
  • Print small batches of vellum with brakes in between batches. As the printer gets used, just like you, it needs a break to work at peak performance.

Writing on It

If you are like me, you like to do handwritten journals and titles, but vellum can be challenging when trying to write or draw on it.

  • Most pens and markers will not write or dry on vellum.
  • Gel pens and markers sold specifically for scrapbooking are typically a good choice.
  • High quality colored pencils or chalks typically will work on vellum to color in stamped images. Color from the back if you want a softer look.
  • Place a piece of lined paper under your vellum if you are doing handwriting or journaling. It will keep your lines straight.

Experiment with what you have in your stash to see what works.

Layering Colored Vellum On A Scrapbook Page

You can add so much color to your scrapbook page by layering colored vellum

You can add so much color to your scrapbook page by layering colored vellum

Additional Tips

  • Use your computer to print sayings, mottos, and journaling on vellum paper.
  • Tear vellum sheets to create a softer look.
  • Crumple, fold, and crease your vellum to give it a different look.
  • Cut your vellum with decorative scissors to give it a distinctive edge.
  • Punch the edge of a strip of vellum with a border punch.
  • Use it to create a pocket on your scrapbook pages.
  • If you are going to stamp on vellum, use a more permanent ink like stazon.
  • Use sharp scissors or blades when working with this paper. The heavy weight of it will dull your blades quickly.
  • Just like scissors, make sure that your punches are sharp too when working with vellum. If your punches are dull, punch them with aluminum foil to sharpen them.
  • Set a dampened sponge in a dish and lightly wet your punched vellum before working with it. This keeps it from tearing (works for embossing Vellum in the Cuttlebug too; while the moisture might make large pieces curl on you, but you can let it dry in the folder (under a book maybe?).

© 2014 Linda F Correa

We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and tips on vellum

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on August 18, 2020:

Thank you for your comment.All of us are learning and growing every day, myself included. Enjoy the process, that is the fun of crafting !

Manar on August 16, 2020:

I liked your work so much, I love how talked widely, I love doing these things but I'm not professional

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on July 16, 2020:

I agree. Vellum adds a special touch to any project where you chose to add it. I use it as a mat on scrapbook pages where I have added some patterned paper as a mat. Softens the pattern of the paper. Thanks for stopping by !

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on July 16, 2020:

I agree. Vellum adds a special touch to any project where you chose to add it. I use it as a mat on scrapbook pages where I have added some patterned paper as a mat. Softens the pattern of the paper. Thanks for stopping by !

Sissee from Wisconsin, USA on July 14, 2020:

Vellum adds class, and reminders of ornate Christmas cards of yesteryear, that were so so expensive at that time!

iamradiantrose on April 01, 2017:

I'm intrigued where to get colored vellum. I love using vellum but I have only seen the off-white...Great hub, thank you!

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on June 02, 2014:

@Craftymarie: Try vellum tape or dots. See my remarks above. Thanks for stopping by !

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on June 02, 2014:

@psiloveyou1: I know that vellum is a challenge, but the results are so very pretty. I tend to use the special vellum tape and dots for my projects. I use vellum for photo mats and journaling mats. The adhesive is hidden. I also use it in a title layering technique. I know that it's fussy to work with, but I love the colors. I have just learned how to use a technique with vellum and embossing folders. I could see where that technique could be used on scrapbook pages. More to come

psiloveyou1 on June 02, 2014:

Hiding the adhesive is the hardest part. I think that's why people don't use vellum very often.

Marie on February 11, 2014:

Your section on how to adhere Vellum is really important because it isn't the easiest thing to place on a project. I normally stick mine underneath some other embellishments where it won't be seen, I've also used brads too as you suggested.