I want to print on translucent vellum. Should I use an inkjet or laser printer?

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About Vellum Printing

Translucent Vellum is one of the most challenging paper categories that we represent in terms of printability. What makes it challenging is that we can't say with a concrete or bold statement that these sheets will print to your 100% satisfaction in specific environments. But we have done a lot of internal testing on inkjet and laser printers with varying results. What we've found that on specific printers, we get much better results than on some others. Please watch the entire three minute video for our full results and recommendations.

Vellum Papers We Tested

We stock a wide selection of vellum brands, so decided to test a good range of our 8 1/2 x 11 vellum papers. We thought this would be beneficial in getting a true picture of the printability of vellum stock. The vellums we tested are listed below.

Vellum Print Visuals

Below is a side by side comparison of inkjet vs laser print on our Contact Colors Translucent White 30lb Vellum.

Laser Printing Example Inkjet Printing Example
Linen laser printing example Linen inkjet printing example
Text is sharp and well-saturated, but in certain areas the toner has broken away from the sheet Text is slightly softer and lighter, but still clear

Order Vellum Samples & Test in Your Printer

In short, the best advice we can offer our customers is to urge them to test these sheets in their own printers. Our testing yielded too many varied results, but if we are to make a recommendation, it's probably going to be use inkjet when that printing technology is available. If you are going to be printing with a laser printer, by all means, order some samples and test them in your printer. You'll know for sure whether the result meets your satisfaction or not.

Watch Other Videos in this Printing Series

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11 Comments

  1. Neil Lipton says:

    Both HP laser and my HP photosmart C7180 would either not pull or chewed up the sample 17 and 29 pound sheets you sent to me both got chewed up eventually in the paper passage). Any HP printers you know of that will pull your vellum through? I’m about to give up.

  2. Neri says:

    I am having problems printing on the smaller sheets of vellum. I have a canon pro 9000. Any recommendations on how to tackle this? I do realize that not every size and sheet will work on every printer. Just want to know if there are additional tips on how to get this done. And if others have had success printing on smaller vellum from a canon pro 9000?

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Neri,

      Vellum is a tricky paper to print on at any size. As I do not exactly what the problem is, I recommend viewing the following video/article. It provides a lot of great tips for printing custom sized papers and cards:
      Tips on Printing Custom Card & Paper Sizes

      My other suggestion would be to experiment with various paper types in your print driver – for example, photo paper vs, plain paper vs. fine art paper. Some printers have trouble recognizing vellum and/or printing on it because it is so light weight and translucent, but if you communicate to the print driver that it is printing on a lighter sheet, it might do a better job.

  3. Mary says:

    I am not sure of the weight of the vellum i am looking for. i know the package of one i used was marked 30 and it was acceptable but a little heavy for and didn’t like removing from the back of a quilting project. I also used another one and it had no weight given. it was a much lighter vellum but tore at the seam line easier. both worked remakably well for paper pieceing in quilting. especially given some of the other options out there. is there a weight i need to look for? i am also looking for a supply of 8 1/2 x11. i wish there was a cheat sheet out there that gave me paper weight to thickness ratio!
    Thank you so very much for all your help.
    Mary Wallace
    quilt designer.

  4. Cher Angelo says:

    Hi, I was wondering if there was a semi or transparent paper that I could print on with my HP Photosmart Pro so I
    did a search and found velum paper then ended up here. Can someone tell me where I can order samples as I am totally unfamiliar with
    this paper or any like it. I would like to try the different types and see which suit my needs best. I was actually thinking about prining some colorful photos toplace in windows to let the light shine thru; also I want to make lamp shades. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for anyone reading this. Please respond via email because I don’t know if I can find this site again.

  5. Jack B says:

    I thought I would share the print driver settings that I found to work great for printing business cards on vellum on my Canon Pro 9000 Mark II inkjet, as I could not find these anywhere else on the web. Using Photoshop CS6 on Mac OS X, the built-in paper settings did not work well (colors seemed thin and washed out), so I used custom settings. These settings are:
    1) Color Management, Color Handling–Printer handles Colors
    2) Print Settings, Color Matching–Canon Color Matching
    3) Print Settings, Color Options–Intensity High (39), Contrast Low (-16)
    4)Paper Size–US Letter (Borderless)
    5) Media Type: Plain Paper
    6) Print Quality: High

    Hopefully this will save someone else the hours it took me to figure this out!

  6. Adrienne says:

    I’m a printer, and while I’ve had no problem with the quality of the printing on the vellum I’ve worked with, I have had trouble with working with the paper itself after I had printed it. Mainly, regardless of the weight of the vellum, once I had printed it, the paper itself curls to such an extent that it is virtually impossible to run it through a commercial printer for incorporation into a larger job. For example, I’ve made a multi-page booklet (folded and stapled in the crease) with the vellum as an outer overlay, but I had to work in very small batches to get my machine to work around the curl of the page. Any recommendations as to which lines or weights of vellum paper stand up to production printing?

  7. Dorothy says:

    How is the Frozen Limba Vellum Paper With Embossed Wood Grain Finish to write with ink? I would like to try calligraphy on it.

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Dorothy,

      That’s a good question! We have never tested wood grain vellum with calligraphy, though I suspect ink might run along the grooves of this heavily textured papers. I would recommend ordering a sample to test.