In olden days, paper was unknown. The technology for processing wood into pulp for writing simply didn’t exist. Instead, animal skins (usually calves, but often goats and lambs) were stretched and dried to make a flat surface that would accept ink. That’s why you see so many ancient books that have a special look.
Modern vellum is very different but the look is much the same. Translucent, veined and very delicate, vellum provides an elegant addition to scrapbook design efforts. But it can be a little tricky to use correctly.
Vellum isn’t as porous as paper so inks and glues have to be applied with care.
Since it doesn’t absorb ink as readily as paper, you need to be a little more patient with vellum. Allow ample time to dry. Some never will fully dry without help. You can sprinkle a little talcum powder on the surface and blow the remainder gently away.
Vellum can be fragile, but with care it can still be used in a computer printer. Here again it’s important to allow ample time for the ink to dry. If you print more than one page, remove the first one before the second prints out. If one side is shinier than the other use it for printing.
Since most vellum shows through the page with just a little light, you need to take care with adhesives. Unless you want the glue to show up, try a very thin layer, say by spraying. Or, use a machine such as the Xyron if you want to cover the entire back of the page. That can allow you to use vellum to make a soft cover for a special look on a wedding-oriented page, or for any other creative use.
Any glue used should be acid free. A good acid-free glue stick can be the perfect tool to attach the corners of a vellum page to your scrapbook. It won’t become yellow or brittle over time. But give it ample time to dry by keeping the book open longer than you normally would. If your corners show through because of the adhesive you can hide them cleverly with page corners and other design elements.
Be sure to use quality vellum that is both acid-free and lignin-free. Acid (usually weak sulfuric acid) is what eats parchment away over time. That’s why old books have yellow pages. That old look may be just what you want, but it will eventually make your pages brittle and fragile.
You can punch holes in vellum and doing so can make for a beautiful design. Take care when folding if you want to make multiple cut-outs with a single punch. Creative tearing can produce a rough edge to give your scrapbook page that medieval look.
Vellum is great for wedding or heritage scrapbooks, but it’s an equally great choice anytime you want that look that only vellum can provide.