Tips To Printing Vellum Successfully

Tips and tricks for printing translucent vellum paper from

Can You Print On Vellum? Don’t Worry, We Have Some Great Tips.

We won’t sugarcoat it for for you. Yes it’s true – due to its non-porous surface and its light, delicate nature, printing vellum paper is sometimes problematic. Ink smudge and smear, long drying time, paper feed and paper jam issues – it’s all happened, but it doesn’t have to.

Below, we offer some tips and tricks for printing vellum. Sadly, since all papers and printers are different, there is no cut and dry fix. However, with these suggestions and a little testing on your home printer, you should be printing without trouble in no time.

Shop translucent vellum paper

Get Familiar with your Printer (and maybe Read that Manual)

We said it above and we’ll say it again – all printers are different, so the best way to know how your printer will behave with vellum is to first know how it behaves with other papers. Use, test, and get to know your printer! Familiarize yourself with the driver, the trays, accepted paper types, print settings, and so on. You might also find helpful information in your manual.

Once you are familiar with the ins and outs of your printer, you will know which settings to tweak, and just how to do that should you run into problems later.

Try Different Quality Modes – Draft, Perhaps?

One of the most common problems with inkjet printed vellum is ink smear. Because vellum has a non-porous, plastic-like finish, ink can take a longer time to dry on its surface, resulting in smearing during or after printing.

The fix? Try a different quality mode, such as draft or quick, which uses less ink. The less ink you put onto your vellum, the less time it will take to dry.

Experiment with Paper Trays

If you have trouble with smearing or jamming during the printing process, try out a different paper tray if possible. Some trays take paper on a roundabout path which may cause these issues. A tray that feeds paper as straight as possible is likely best. If you have it, use it.

Set it and Forget it (Let it Dry)

Yes, sometimes the fix for wet, smearing ink is as simple as patiently letting it dry. Just print it, lay it flat, and walk away.

Choose a Different Paper Type (Plain Paper isn’t Always Best)

Most print drivers have a paper type or media type option, most of which default to plain paper. This is not always best, especially for vellum which is anything but plain. Switching it to something like photo paper or fine art paper may make a world of difference.

This has proven to help not only with ink coverage, but also with paper recognition (sometimes printers can not detect light weight translucent vellum).

Try a Light Weight Paper Setting (for the Laser Users)

This tip is for the laser users who won’t have trouble with ink smudge, but possibly with wrinkling or jamming of delicate vellum sheets.

Laser printers use heat and pressure to fuse toner to paper. The heavier the weight setting, the slower the paper is fed through the printer, the more heat and pressure that is applied. For lightweight sheets such as vellum, as light a setting as possible should be used to avoid wrinkling, jamming, or destruction of any sort of these delicate sheets.

Give it a Rest (Print in Batches)

Sometimes, when printers get hot from extended use, they can start to do do funny things to paper and print quality. If your vellum starts jamming, smudging, wrinkling, etc., give it a rest. Print a small batch, take a break, print again.

Experiment with Different Vellum Paper Brands

If all else fails, don’t give up on vellum all together! Just like all printers are different, so are all vellum papers. Sometimes, for whatever reason, one brand of vellum may not be compatible with your printer and another is.


  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.