Parchment was originally made from animal skin but now you can get parchment paper suitable for inkjet printers. This is made like other paper, with cellulose fibres, but retains the original look of parchment and is ideal for printing a document requiring the feel of quality and heritage. Parchment was traditionally used for official documents, such as those issued by the government or church. As a result, parchment paper is now often the choice for certificates. This means that most of the printing you will have to do on parchment paper is text based, rather than a photograph, and makes working out the printer settings a little easier.
Choose the document you want to print and select the options in the printer settings for quality and media. Parchment paper usually has a thick and heavy finish, so you should choose a high quality setting for plain paper, rather than gloss or photo paper. The high quality setting ensures colours come out true and strong, even though the parchment paper is not pure white.
Check that the size and orientation of paper is set correctly. Depending on the printer type and software you are printing from, you can usually select an option to preview the print on screen to make sure these options are correct. On most computer systems, this option is under the “File” menu, or in the printer box on screen.
Print the document and adjust settings accordingly if it does not come out perfect. If unsure, do a trial print on a piece of regular inkjet paper before using the parchment paper. This won’t give you the exact finish but it can help tell if you have any problems with the document or settings before wasting a piece of more expensive paper.
Parchment paper is often quite thick, so keep an eye on the paper feed while printing to make sure that the tray does not get clogged, or the printer jammed.
The colour, feel and finish of parchment paper makes it suitable for hand printing. This could involve creative activities, such as lino printing. You may need to adjust the mix of your ink depending on the finish of the brand of parchment paper you are using.
Printer settings, software and inks vary hugely, so do not assume that a document will print in exactly the way you anticipate. As parchment paper is pricey, keep a supply of regular copier paper to hand so you can trial each different document.