Vellum is a higher grade parchment manufactured from the skins of young animals like lambs and calves. Libraries and museums who want to avoid differentiating between "parchment" and the more restricted word "vellum" may refer to it as animal membrane (see below). Parchment was originally made from the skins of sheep, but now also comes from other animals such as deer, antelope, and even pigs.
Sheep skin was originally used for writing materials because it was easy to work with and did not require expensive equipment to write on. It was also durable enough to be used over and over again. Writing on sheepskin would eventually cause it to decompose, so people started using other materials instead. Today, library books are printed on paper which is then bound together with cloth or plastic film. Paper tends to degrade faster than sheepskin so libraries usually don't keep book skins very long.
People began using other materials because sheepskin wasn't available in all sizes needed by businesses. For example, printers need parchment that is at least 1/8 inch thick in order to print properly. Sheepskins get too thin after being removed from their original animal, so printers often use alternate materials instead.
Vellum has advantages over paper for some applications. Vellum is less likely to tear than paper, so it's preferable for drawings and manuscripts where these tears might lead to loss of information.
As a Product, Vellum Vellum is a form of parchment, or a printing surface manufactured from animal skin. Vellum feels like silk when it's well-made, and it's quiet when you turn the page. Unlike leather, vellum is not tanned; instead, it is preserved by chemical and physical ways. The most common source for vellum today is calfskin.
As a Process, vellum making starts with cleaning the skin of any residual hair or flesh. Then the skin is treated with an alkali to remove any remaining natural color and make it white. Next, a solution of gelatin is poured into the skin and allowed to dry in the sun or under a heat lamp. As it dries, the collagen in the skin breaks down, leaving behind gel that is very soft and pliable. Finally, the surface is polished to produce a smooth finish.
Vellum has many uses in books because of its durability and flexibility. It can be used as the covering material for books, but it is more commonly found in art books, where its look is desired. Vellum comes in various sizes and shapes depending on how it will be used. For example, artist's brushes are usually made from several thin skins stitched together to create a flexible brush.
People often wonder what kind of animals provide the raw material for vellum.
Parchment is a type of writing paper manufactured from properly prepared untanned animal skins, mainly those of sheep, calves, and goats. Parchment was often used for legal documents such as contracts and deeds. It was also used by scribes in religious texts.
Animal skin, especially that of a goat, provides several benefits for writing materials. The hair can be removed without damaging the skin, which allows the use of very thin sheets of material. The skin itself is durable and flexible, making it suitable for writing on both land and water. In medieval times, the preferred species of skin for writing materials was the buckraote, or Indian sheep. Today, the most common source for parchment products is still the goat.
In addition to being used for books and manuscripts, parchment can be made into stamps, plates, and other printing materials. It has also been used to make maps and globes since the 16th century.
The word "parchment" comes from the Latin pannus, meaning "a piece of leather". Parchment was originally made from the skins of animals such as deer, but now is usually made from synthetic materials instead.
Vellum is a thick, opulent form of paper created traditionally from animal skin. If you purchase a sheet of vellum from an art supply store, you may be confident that it is entirely vegetarian. However, if you buy leather goods or furniture upholstered with vellum, then the item you have purchased may not be completely free of animal products.
Vellum was originally used to protect drawings on parchment. Today it is used to mount photographs and other artwork. Although most artists today use synthetic materials instead, vellum does have its fans among some painters.
People also use vellum as wrapping paper and book covers. The word "vellum" comes from Latin meaning "a thin slice," so you might expect cheap quality paper when you buy it in rolls. But vellum is actually very expensive because it's hard to come by and it wears well with no risk of fading or tearing.
The main ingredient in vellum is collagen, which is found in skin. So even though vellum is made from animal skin, it's totally vegetarian because collagen is a natural product that doesn't come from animals. It is extracted from fish scales and other sources such as cows' tails and hooves.
Originally, vellum was made of calfskin. They are primarily utilized as a writing surface. Today, they are usually made from sheep's skin or pigskin.
Vellum has been used for artwork since at least the time of Homer. It was often wrapped around wooden sticks called "palettes" to provide support for the painting. These were then attached to walls in homes and temples as decorations.
In Europe, vellum became popular among monks as an alternative to parchment during the 11th century. They would take pieces of leather and cut out sheets that could be used for books. The monastic libraries that were built at this time contain many examples of vellum manuscripts.
During the 13th century, more expensive paper took over as the preferred medium for artists and writers. Vellum slowly disappeared from use as people turned to the new materials available. By the 15th century, it was completely gone from popular culture.
Here is how vellum is made today: Vellum is manufactured from sheets of animal skin, particularly that of the calf. The skin is cleaned and treated to make it flexible and durable.