Choosing the right paper for your project is the first step to creating the best finished product. Vellum card stock is a term used for a type of paper, but there are many factors involved and confusion surrounding the term.
Originally, vellum was paper made from calfskin, lambskin or kidskin. It was important because of its archival properties. The term “vellum” also refers to paper with a rough finish.
Card stocks are papers of a specific thickness. Paper weight is designated by the weight of one ream (500 sheets) in the parent size. There are assorted parent sizes, so papers of similar thicknesses may have disparate weight designations. Cover stock is 65 or 80 pound. Index stock is the same thickness but is designated as 110 and 140 pound.
With today’s papers being made with wood pulp rather than animal skin, the term vellum is predominantly used to refer to the finish or surface of the sheet. Vellum papers are typically rough and are never glossy or matte coated.
Historic vs. Modern Vellum
Originally, vellum had a mottled and translucent look to it. You can still achieve that same look with different types of cover stock. Parchment papers are made to resemble ancient vellum, and some manufacturers refer to their parchment line as vellum.
Vellum usually evokes images of quality paper; however, there are low-grade papers that carry the name. Vellum Bristol is similar to index stock and has a rougher surface than index, but it is not the quality you find in a parchment paper.