What’s the Difference Between Mylar, Vellum, and PET Tracing Film?

Makers of specialty inkjet-printable materials have coated several types of translucent drafting materials, including vellum, mylar, and PET tracing films. You can use these products for markable overlays, mixed-media art projects, and other applications

Rolls of mylar, vellum, and tracing film

Vellum originally described a writing surface made from animal hide. Today, vellum paper is a thin, translucent paper used for tracing, drafting, drawings, and overlays. Archival vellum papers are acid-free and made from cotton fibers. Vellum papers can withstand erasing and redrawing.

Mylar® is a DuPont-trademarked name for a bi-axillary-oriented polyester film (BoPET). Different types of Mylar are used for applications ranging from packaging and food storage to insulation and industrial and decorative laminates. The Mylar used for drafting typically has a finely textured, “frosted” surface to ensure that inks or other water-based materials don’t smear or smudge.

PET Tracing or Drafting Film is a translucent, matte polyester film that is similar to Mylar, but not manufactured or licensed by DuPont. It is available in different thicknesses. A “double-matte” film is coated on both sides. The two-sided versions can be inkjet-printed on one side, and marked up with pencils, pens, or markers on the other side.

Mylar and PET tracing films provide a more durable alternative to vellum paper. The films are naturally impervious to water and resist tearing. The films are also designed not to yellow with age.

On Freedom Paper’s website, you can order Vellum, Mylar, and PET Tracing Film depending on your requirements. Below are just some of the products we offer:

Inkjet Double Matte Mylar

20 lb. Solventless Vellum 100% Cotton

HP Matte Film 5 mil

For an inexpensive alternative for temporary projects, consider our translucent inkjet bond paper:

Translucent Inkjet Paper 18 lb.

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