Parchment craft is an art of creating delicate lacy designs on parchment paper using embossing, cutting, perforation, stippling techniques. Parchment craft is used in making handmade cards, as embellishment on scrapbook pages, bookmarks, lampshades, picture frames and more….

According to historians, Turks from Bergama,Turkey invented parchment in approximately 500 AD. The Turks developed parchment (from goat or sheep) as a substitute for papyrus as they were unable to import the ingredients needed to make papyrus due to war in that region.

Earlier parchment was used as a surface for writing. Parchment “craft” appeared in Europe in the 15th or 16th century mainly creating lace-like designs on sheets of paper. Most of the design then were of religious nature.

Parchment craft became popular during the 18th century, when more intricate and decorative designs were created with wavy borders and perforations on them. In fact, French incorporated floral themes, cherubs and portraits to the craft and added embossing technique, resulting in attractive raised effects with white or gray undertones.


  1. Parchment paper or vellum
  2. Pattern or stencil: Desired design that needs to be traced
  3. Tracing Pen: A pen used for tracing the design on parchment paper. Generally white ink or pencil, but can be colored ink.
  4. Embossing Tools: Embossing tools come in many sizes & shapes. They are
    1. Hockey stick
    2. Extra Large Ball
    3. Large Ball
    4. Small Ball
    5. Extra small Ball
    6. Fine Stylus
    7. Star
    8. Wheel
    9. Shader

    Larger the tool, softer the embossing & smaller the tool, whiter the color of the embossing shape. Tips of the tools are of either plastic or steel material. Plastic tip is for lighter embossing whereas steel is for brighter white

  5. Perforation tools: These are needle tools used to make decorative, lace like patterns.  They have single or multiple points used to create different lace designs. To name a few they create Semi-circle, cross knife, flower, heart shaped, semi star, 2 split, 4 slit, wave, drop, almond, etc…. designs
  6. Embossing & Perforation pad: It is used to provide support for embossing & perforation. There are various designs available to achieve desired perforation.

Tracing or stenciling: It is first step to any parchment craft project. The paper has 2 sides – smooth & rough, one should trace on rough side to ensure ink sticks onto the paper. Also, ensure no pressure is given while tracing using mapping/tracing pen.

Embossing:  Embossing helps create a raised or 3D image on the paper.  To get the raised image, embossing tool is rubbed in all directions with even pressure so that parchment is stretched evenly. To achieve fine embossed lines use stylus tool.

Stippling: Stippling is a technique used for generating a matte white surface to areas or for fine detail work such as the centers of flowers.

Perforation: Perforating is used to create decorative lace patterns in Parchment Craft. Minimal tracing is required when perforating; designs are usually created by taping the parchment over a pattern and perforating directly over it.

Cutting: Cutting is used in combination with perforating. Cutting is used with the 2 needle tool to remove shapes from the design; it is used with the 4 needle tool to create crosses and strips within a lace pattern.

Coloring: There are many methods for coloring Parchment Craft work. One of the most popular is “dorsing”. Dorsing creates a soft background color for embossed shapes or the areas around them. Color is applied in the dorsing process using oil pastels or Dorso crayons which are rubbed on and then blended using paper toweling and odorless mineral spirits or an oil based medium such as linseed or lavender oil. Dorsing can also be done using other coloring media such as felt-tip pens/markers, watercolor pencils, acrylic paints or inks


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