I was wondering if you can letterpress on vellum (i.e. 36lb Glama Natural Vellum Translucent)?

Any help would be appreciated!

Log in to reply   4 replies so far

Copies of the Gutenberg Bible were printed on vellum. If it’s flat and reasonable smooth it should not be a problem. But if you’re talking about vellum paper, that’s what it’s meant for.


Yes, but note that this product is “paper” rather than true vellum.

Real vellum can be printed on but there are many technical challenges involving the ink and the treating of the surface to accept the ink. It is also expensive.

There is a chapter on printing on vellum in Rummonds, Printing on the Iron Hand Press. See

As far as I know, there is only one book published on the subject on printing on vellum and/or parchment: Mystique of Vellum (Boston: Bromer, 1984). The book containins an introduction by Dechard Turner and a historical essay on vellum printed books by Colin Franklin along with a manual to printing letterpress on vellum and parchment by Richard Bigus. The book was printed by Richard Bigus at the Stinehour Press. The release price was at $550 and only 225 copies were printed handmade paper and an additional 13 copies on parchment, so probably not at your local bookstore or public library.

Translucent vellum paper is certainly printable by letterpress, but being a hard-surfaced sheet, you will find it not suitable for heavy impression, and will be best printed using inks which will dry on the surface. Use a quick drying oil-based ink and slip sheet them if possible (put a scrap sheet between each sheet printed to avoid in set-off to the sheet on top). If you are careful with the ink amount, you need not slip sheet.

Yes, you can print on the kind of vellum you describe, but you want to use a three way drier. The ink does not penetrate into the heavily milled papers like you wish to use, so the ink won’t dry well by absorption. Like John said, slip-sheet, or even better lay the sheets out singly.