Make Your Own Imitation Vellum Or Parchment
Parchment paper and imitation vellum have been made by
untold generations of inventive bookbinders by
painting suitable papers with varnish or lacquer.
I was a professional binder for most of my adult life and I
have used these methods myself on numerous occasions.
Both oil and spirit based varnishes have been used to make
these vellums & parchments, I use a spirit based
lacquer as it dries very quickly and with a harder finish than
an oil varnish, this hard finish further imitates vellum and
makes a very convincing parchment paper.
This is the recipe for the lacquer I
All materials are available from the gold leaf supplies page.
The alcohol used in this recipe does give of fumes, if they
bother you make sure the room you use is ventilated.
In a screw topped jar mix four
parts of methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) with 1 part
blonde de waxed shellac, it is important to get this particular
type of shellac as each type of shellac has its own
Leave the mixture for 36 hours
stirring occasionally, until the shellac flakes have
When all the flakes have dissolved the
lacquer is ready to use.
This shows the colour change that takes place when the
lacquer is applied to a heavy 130gsm paper.
On the left is an untreated sheet of paper.
Here is the result, what cannot be shown in a picture
however is the feel of the parchment paper.
By applying the shellac lacquer we have changed the
characteristics of the paper dramatically.
It is stiff and handles in the same way as a genuine
This project ties in very nicely with another
project aimed at producing a gilded
All materials are available from the
gold leaf supplies
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