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What are Vellum Envelopes?

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  • Written By: S. Mithra
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2016
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Translucent vellum envelopes offer a peek inside the envelope, revealing contents of invitations, announcements, gift notes, handmade cards, collages, or any mail art. Vellum is a kind of specialty paper that looks burnished, cloudy, yet not entirely opaque, so you can get a glimpse of what lies inside the envelope. Popular for wedding invitations and shower announcements, vellum envelopes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

The original vellum envelopes were white, looking like wax or parchment paper that slightly obscures the inner papers. They became popular as wedding announcement or invitation enclosures. Then collagists, scrapbookers, photographers, mail artists, and other crafters discovered their unique and adaptable texture. They have used vellum envelopes to hold everything from grand opening coupons to thank you cards.

Now vellum envelopes are available in thousands of colors, styles, and sizes. Their translucency complements many shades in the spectrum. Choose a cool teal for a children's Surf birthday party, or a rich, metallic platinum to welcome your new neighbors to your street. Vellum can also mimic other surfaces, such as marble, baskets, or gingham by using inventive patterns. Of course, envelopes also have been printed with patterns ranging from floating balloons and teddy bears to dazzling starbursts and fluttering daffodils.

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Since quality vellum envelopes are constructed of wood fiber, called cellulose, they are archival quality elements. This means the paper doesn't contain acid or chlorine bleach that might damage photographs or other attached materials. No additives, such as resins or solvents that make paper appear transparent, are used.

Best of all, vellum envelopes can be run through an inkjet or laser printer, imprinting a myriad of fonts for names and addresses. Standard envelope sizes are card and letter formats, but you can find envelopes in miniature or oversized to accommodate the desired impact of your enclosure. Even their styles are different. The closing flap might be rounded, triangular, or square. Seal special vellum envelopes with stickers, stamps, or sealing wax for that personalized touch.

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