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Can Parchment Go in a Printer?

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When you prepare formal documents and printed presentations for your business, you can select from a wide range of papers to give your work a distinctive appearance. If you’ve investigated parchment as an output medium, most of what you see represents a modern-day version of an ancient writing material. Although some of today’s parchment-like substances work well in desktop printers, others won’t fare well in any use other handwritten, drawn or painted applications.

Parchment: Origins

Parchment developed as an ancient substitute for papyrus, which was produced from reeds. Unlike the vegetable origins of the material it superseded, parchment originates from processed, untanned animal hides with the hair and fat removed. After the skins soak for two to six weeks in a lime bath, a curved blade scrapes off any remaining flesh and hair on both sides. Following a thorough rinsing to remove remaining lime, each skin dries while being stretched on a frame, which produces an opaque surface used for writing and ornamentation. Still in production but unsuitable for use in a printing device because of its cost and chemistry, parchment sees continued use in the creation and restoration of decorated artwork, documents and books.

Vellum: Origins

Originally produced through processes equivalent to those used to make parchment, vellum differed from parchment only in the identity of the animal whose hide formed the basis of it. Whereas parchment can be made from the skins of sheep or goats, vellum traditionally used calfskin to produce material especially suited to use in manuscripts and paintings. Today’s materials sometimes use these terms interchangeably.

Printable Papers

When you want printable papers that provide the look of parchment or vellum, the materials you insert in your laser or inkjet output device may carry the names of these traditional materials, but their resemblance ends at the cosmetic level. Treated or preprinted to resemble real or stylized versions of parchment, these papers often find use in resumes and formal correspondence. The vellum sold in office- and artist-supply stores consists of a translucent material often used for tracing, sketching, architectural plans or overlays.

Other Paper Types

Among the materials sold with the words “parchment” or “vellum” in their descriptions, not all find use in printing and document preparation. Cooks use a parchment made from non-stick paper — sometimes coated with silicone — that substitutes for vegetable-oil sprays and other surface preparations designed to protect pans from baked-on food. Some drafters’ vellum actually consists of polypropylene or other plastics and accepts pen strokes only.

Can Parchment Go in a Printer?. When you prepare formal documents and printed presentations for your business, you can select from a wide range of papers to give your work a distinctive appearance. If you’ve investigated parchment as an output medium, most of what you see represents a modern-day version of an …

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Stamp Carving 101

The parchment paper option is quickly growing into one of the more popular ways of transferring an image to your carving block. And why shouldn’t it? It’s quick, it’s easy and you probably already have everything you need to do it right at home! This method of transfer works best with line drawings—large colored areas tend to become blotchy. You might be able to make it work anyhow, but thin lines definitely work best.

Carefully lay down the parchment paper, printed-side down, on your carving block. The ink on the parchment paper is very wet so you won’t have a chance to reposition the parchment paper after your image comes into contact with the carving block.

You can remove the parchment paper from the page you taped it to—the parchment paper is easy to see through and can make positioning the image on your carving block easier, but I find the parchment paper likes to curl in on itself is difficult to manage which is why I don’t do that, but do what works for you!

Another option might be to cut down the regular sheet of paper close to the parchment paper—then it still has the stiffness of the regular paper and it’s small enough to position easily.

Carefully rub the image onto your carving block. Wassa suggests using the back of a spoon and that “the ink comes off 100% from the parchment onto the rubber. 100%. You are left with blank parchment. It’s truly amazing.”

This image was provided by Wassa after rubbing the image onto his orange PZ Kut. (The “blank” parchment paper actually had the image until nearly 100% of it had rubbed off onto the carving block!)

While designing a stamp, remember that the image you carve will be a mirror-image of what the stamp actually prints—which usually doesn’t matter for photos but will be painfully obvious if you get it wrong with text!

Fortunately, the process of transferring an image will reverse the text automatically for you. In this photo, you’ll see the words “Green Tortuga” has been reversed. This is what we want to see happen. Once the stamp is carved and can be used, the stamped image will reverse itself again and look correct.

You’ll also see that the text on the transfer is a bit blotchy. This method of transfer works best with thin line drawings and I was pushing things with the large, blocky text. There’s just too much ink! I had set my printer to draft mode to use as little ink as I could, but it’s still too much for large areas.

Parchment paper is quickly growing into one of the most popular methods for transferring an image to carving blocks, and we’ll show you how!