Can You Use Vellum Paper For Screen Printing?

When you need to get a bulk printing order done, is there anything that can be considered more reliable and efficient than screen printing? Probably not!

Screen printing remains by far, one of the most efficient processes that will give you vibrant outcomes at an amazingly fast speed. It requires a screen to carry out which is made by framing a stretched material.

As vellum is very soft and somewhat similar to fabric you might be asking, can you use vellum paper for screen printing?

The answer is a yes, so allow us to give you a brief insight into screen printing using vellum by discussing the advantages and disadvantages.

Can You Use Vellum Paper For Screen Printing?

Benefits Of Using Vellum Paper To Burn Screens

When it comes to the material for making screens, availability, and cost stand as two of the most effective factors. If you have used vellum before, you will not be surprised to know that vellum has these points fully covered!

If you are acquainted with screen printing, then you are probably aware of how the extremely high setup cost acts as a big drawback. Printers need to be saving money left and right hence, the awfully low price of vellum comes as a big plus point. Depending on the size, vellum papers will likely be worth somewhere between 10 to 50 cents whereas films will cost you $1.00 to $1.50.

Besides this, the two types of a vellum paper – laser printer ready and inkjet printer ready – are widely found in all paper or craft stores. Screen printing supply stores and vendors also have vellum paper in stock meaning there is always enough to meet your demands.

Vellum paper works extremely well in terms of producing line art and texts. Being available in a huge variety of sizes (8-1/2 x 11 inches, 8-1/2 x 14 inches, 11x 17 inches, 12 x 18 inches, and 18 x 24 inches) provides buyers a range of options to choose from; they can use different sized screens to achieve different goals.

Disadvantages Of Using Vellum Paper For Screen Printing

Unlike polyester films, vellum absorbs moisture, reacts to heat, and changes shape. This means it is not fully compatible with laser printers whose operation process includes heating. It is unable to handle tight register jobs and cannot be lined properly.

Another notable downside of using vellum paper is how the quality differs depending on brands. There is no consistency in feel making it hard for buyers to find the one that functions well with their laser printer. When seeking vellum paper, you should be looking for the ones with a “toothy” finish as those react better with ink than those that have a smooth finish. They are less likely to cause printer jams and accept more ink from toner.

Lastly, there is the problem of vellum not performing well when it comes to halftones and tiles. Unlike polyester film, vellum is prone to burning when in contact with the light which is why too many halftone dots cannot be made (about 5 to 10 %). This decreases the picture’s quality. Pieces of vellum cannot be taped together to create designs either as two layers will prevent the light from passing through; this, in turn, won’t allow dots to line up properly.

How To Overcome Problems Of Using Vellum For Screen Printing

Although the last section has pointed out quite a few problems with screen printing using vellum, do not give up yet as these problems are very much solvable.

Dealing With Shrinkage

Vellum undergoes shrinking when it passes through the laser printer so the only way to prevent this from happening during work is to simply shrink the pieces of vellum in advance. Put your vellum paper in the printer tray and make some blank prints.

Once you are done, put the already shrunk vellum paper back into the tray. You can now go ahead and get the prints for your job in the shrunk pieces.

Toner Fixation

Heat causes toner to melt and ends up giving it a darker shade. Hence, you can place your printed vellum under a conveyor dryer to get it to look better.

Using artists’ fixative is yet another easy solution that fixes the print and darkens the shades. These are easily found in the market.


When sticking together small pieces of vellum to create a larger picture, the exposure that each area gets differs due to layering. At a time like this, you need to trim away all the pieces of excess vellum carefully so that any part that is being printed isn’t layered.

Exposure Determination

Vellum Exposure Calculators can be used to check the exposure. They should be placed behind a screen and left exposed for double the usual amount of time. Once this is developed, you can easily identify an exposure time that will allow proper screen printing using that particular brand of vellum.

What Materials Are Suitable For Screen Printing?

Originally silk screens were used for making screenprints however, nowadays meshes made out of synthetic threads have proven to be the more efficient and thus, suitable material for screen printing.

Polyester is the most commonly used mesh and they differ based on the number of strands per inch; a mesh with more threads per inch can be used for carrying out detailed works while one with a smaller number of threads per inch can easily help in accomplishing simple works.

Meshes made out of nylon thread are also available although these are used for special use only.

Can You Use Vellum Paper For Screen Printing?

As you could have guessed after reading this article, the answer is slightly complicated. Vellum paper is definitely not the best possible option for screen printing, but it does get the job done. There are quite a few disadvantages but we have also taken the courtesy to relay some tips that will help you overcome them. We have also discussed some suitable alternatives in case you wanted to ditch the idea of using vellum paper altogether.

With all the information answers delivered, we hope you have a fun time printing!