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Pergamano - Parchment Craft

Updated on September 12, 2014

The Ancient Art Of Parchment Craft

Pergamano Parchment Craft is the ancient art of bringing parchment paper to life. Some of the magic that you can apply to your parchment paper includes: embossing, perforating, stenciling, painting and cutting to beautiful shape.

The final result, as seen in the picture attached (one of my own parchment cards, so please do not copy) is a lacy design that can be given as gift or present for any occasion.

Ever since I've been involved with parchment crafting, I have created hundreds of parchment cards on birthdays, namedays, anniversaries, cards for get well soon and condoleances, and also thank you cards. The sky is only the limit as to what what occasions you can use to give such handmade treasures to your family members and friends.

On this page you will find information and videos to get you started in the art of parchment craft.

Pergamano Parchment Craft

Pergamano Parchment Craft: Basic Techniques
Pergamano Parchment Craft: Basic Techniques

This is the very book that got me started with parchment craft, specifically with Pergamano as introduced to us by Martha Ospina. In the meantime I have every book, DVD and toolkit by the company Pergamano and I really enjoy all the books. However the first book, this one, is special to me, maybe because it was everything new to me and it was the start of a new great hobby.

The book has several easy parchment craft project that absolute newbies to this art form can tackle. I've done a few Valentine cards from it (e.g. the card shown below), a birthday card that I sent to my mom with pride and even a get well card for a friend who was in the hospital at the time. The many great pictures and illustrations make learning parchment craft a breeze.


Valentine's Day Parchment Craft Card I Made

Valentine's Day Parchment Craft Card I Made
Valentine's Day Parchment Craft Card I Made

The History Of Parchment Craft

Parchment craft has an ancient history and a long tradition. The oldest parchment scrolls have been found to date back to the 15th Century from European church communities. Not very different from today, the items created by parchment crafters were lacy and they were made for various occasions, such as communion cards and devotional icons and pictures.

Those first parchment items were huge and a parchmenter was working many long hours and days to complete one work.

Around the 18th Century people have shown a renewed interest in the detailed and minutious work that parchment crafting entails. This is when the actual parchment cards were born. They have changed into something much smaller, more beautiful and fancy, with wavy borders and perforations done with several needle sizes.

While initially parchment craft was exclusively European, at some point the European missionaries that landed in South America took this beautiful craft with them. This is how parchment crafting spread all over the world.

As a side note, parchment craft in Latin America is now called Tarjeteria.

These are the kinds of cards you will make once you learn parchment craft - Beautiful, aren't they?

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parchment card I received from a friend as a Christmas gift
parchment card I received from a friend as a Christmas gift | Source

Parchment Craft Today

Today parchment craft has become very popular with people from all over the world. Since I've started creating parchment cards, I met online several hundreds of people of all ages and both genders (yes, guys love parchment craft as well, believe it or not!) coming from all walks of life.

One of the fun things we do is create parchment cards and give them to each other as gifts, called RAKs (rankom acts of kindness). What a joy was the day when I received a couple of cards from the US, UK or New Zealand, from people who simply thought of me and sent me a card! And for my birthday I am still regularly showered with parchment cards.

Parchment craft has evolved today to new levels of art and craft, and several companies have started offering all sorts of parchment tools, parchment books and paper. While initially when I started with this craft, the choice of tools was rather limited, nowadays you can find so many tools that you can easily get overwhelmed.

I have over 25 different needles for perforating, several types of embossing tools and loads of inks that I can use to write greetings on my cards.

I will talk shortly about all of these and where you can find them at great prices.

Tracing On Parchment Paper With Pergamano

Parchment Craft Or Pergamano

Parchment craft is the actual crafting of the greeting cards, while Pergamano is the brand name for the many parchment craft supplies (tools and tons and tons of books and parchment patterns) made by the Pergamano company, started by Martha Ospina. Many people use the two terms 'parchment crafting' and 'pergamano' interchangeably, but those in the know, are aware of the differences between the two.

This is just like you would use the word Hoover instead of vacuum cleaner. (I have to vacuum this weekend - I have to hoover this weekend).

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parchment paper
parchment paper

Is All Parchment Paper Equal?

Well, no. When you are learning about parchment craft, you will hear the word parchment paper, along with vellum paper and sometimes even called tracing paper. So here are the differences between them.

The parchment paper is a rather thick translucent paper which is the perfect medium to create your parchment cards. This is the most common type of paper available for this craft.

Vellum paper, on the other hand, is a much thinner variety of the same. I'm sure you have seen this paper if you've ever done or come across scrapbooking.

The paper is not only much thinner, but also in most cases available in many wonderful colors and even patterns. I once bought a vellum book full of pages that I could tear out and use in my crafting. Flower, leaves, even teddy bears and snow men are printed on the vellum and the cards made from these backgrounds are truly beautiful to the eyes.

Tracing paper is what I call the poor man's parchment paper. This is what i started out with initially when I couldn't find parchment paper as often as I liked. The material is again translucent and whiteish like the parchment paper, however it is a bit rougher and harder on the touch.

Two cards made of parchment paper and tracing paper are almost the same, yet you can feel the difference in the quality of the material. If you can afford it, buy parchment paper as you'll be much better served in your hobby.

When creating your card, since the parchment paper is semi-translucent, you need to put a colored insert so that the tracing, cutting, embossing and perforating on the actual parchment shows in its full beauty.

As you can see in the parchment card picture on the right (a RAK from a friend from the UK to me), a cream colored paper was inserted in between the folded parchment card so that the flowery design and the cut-out shows perfectly clear with elegance. You can see the back side of the card which has not been cut at its edges that it is white-ish, slightly gray in color.

a sample of my parchment tools
a sample of my parchment tools | Source

Parchment Tools

When it comes to parchment craft, there are many tools nowadays developed by reputable companies such as Pergamano or ParchCraft Australia. I honestly think I them all at home. Here is just a small sample of the most common tool I use in making parchment cards.

As you can see in the photo, the handles are varied, because I use Pergamano, PCA and a variety of other brands as well. Many brands have extra tools and shapes, and as a Parchment junkie, I have to have them all!

Blow are some of the first tools you really need to get started with making parchment cards. You can always buy more as your time and money allows.

embossing tools
embossing tools

Embossing Tools

The embossing tools are one of the most important component of creating parchment cards. You use them to create a raised (embossed) area for your cards. You basically create a natural depth in the material that becomes extremely white. Depending on how hard you press on the paper with the embossing tool, you can get a variety of shades from gray to white on the paper.

There are many different sizes within the embossing tools and some even have different shapes (you need to hold the tool somewhat differently to get the best results). One of my favorite tools is the hockey tool (shown in the middle of the 3 tools on the photo). It creates a larger embossed and more uniform surface.

When embossing, you need to pay attention that your embossing movements are very uniform, so you don't leave empty spaces in between.

Embossing On Parchment Paper

parchment perforating tools
parchment perforating tools

Perforating Tools

Perforating tools (also called needled tools) are equally important in parchment craft. With the various perforating needles you create those gorgeous lacy designs that are unique to parchment crafting. You will never have to worry about creating the same boring cards over and over again!

Once you get going, you will find yourself buying more and more perforating tools. However I suggest you start first with the one needle tool. Later on you get get tools with 2 needles, 3, 4, 5, 6 and then those in semi-circle, or full circle designs. I even bought once a diamond shape design perforating tool. The more complex the tool, the more it costs, that is why you should initially start with the simpler ones.

How To Perforate And Cut Your Parchment Design

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parchment craft books
parchment craft books

Parchment Craft Books And Pattern Packs

Parchment craft is not an expensive hobby. However over time you will find yourself amass more and more books and parchment patterns to satisfy your thirst of having more things to work from. I think I have one of the larges collection of parchment books and pattern packs ever. Every time Martha Ospina releases a new book full of wonderful patterns, I got to have it, period.

What I suggest when you first start with parchment crafting is to buy parchment books and leave the pattern packs for later. The reason is because books serve as a dual purpose. First of all, as a newcommer to parchment craft, you need to learn.

Don't get me wrong, parchment crafting is very easy, however IT IS a new hobby and as with everything else that you need to master, the books are one of the easiest ways to do. Especially when the said books have beautiful colored pictures of patterns so that you can see what exactly you are doing, and can compare your work with the one from the master. It is like having a guide with you who helps you master the art of parchmentcraft.

The second reason why you should start with a couple of very good books instead of pattern packs is because the books HAVE patterns in them. They start with easy patterns for newbies and as the book progresses, the patterns become more complex overall. So before you even think of buying a parchment pattern, you have plenty of patterns in your books to go through for months and months!

Coloring Your Parchment Paper

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Parchment Craft

Parchment craft is a wonderful art, one that is worth every cent or penny you spend on it. It will engage your senses, your imagination and fantasy, your creativity and will give you a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you have just put the last stroke on your first parchment card.

And when you give your mom her very first Mother's Day or Birthday hand made parchment card, the joy in her eyes is worth everything!

Visit my related page on free parchment craft patterns to get some free patterns for cards!

Do you have experience with Pergamano - Parchment Craft?

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    • profile image

      Patsy Behrendt 

      6 months ago

      I got a parchment card for Xmas from a friend and was in awe of it. I ordered a var tape and watched it but I am still lost. I love the look but just don't know how to do it.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      3 years ago from Vermont

      I've never heard of Pergamano but I sometimes work with parchment and vellum papers. I love the translucent look. The textures and embossing are so beautiful and delicate. Thank you for the introduction to a new paper craft technique I plan to explore.

    • suzyjahi profile image


      4 years ago

      No but this looks beautiful!!

    • ComfortsOfHome profile image


      5 years ago

      I've seen some pieces of Pergamano but had no idea what the craft was called - what a very fine introduction!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Not only does this article showcase some gorgeous card designs, but it also introduced me to a little bit of parchment paper history -- what a nice surprise! This is a wonderful intro guide and I appreciate the time you took in developing it. It's also very easy to read through. Best wishes!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I had the opportunity to try this craft when I was helping out in Sunday school at church. The young people loved it and did a wonderful job creating cards. It was fun! - Blessed! :)

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 

      6 years ago

      Wow, I'd sure like to learn to do this! Your designs are beautiful!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 

      6 years ago from California

      This Parchment Craft article looks like something I might like to try, as I love handmade craft items. *blessed*

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      First I need to say that your creations are really beautiful....the best I've ever seen.

      I am a Sri Lankan & I learned Parchment craft by myself....didn't even have single tool.But before one month a kind lady sent me few tools from Australia & I made many cards & wall hangers...I made some of your designs too....& hold an exhibition with many crafts...Now I have to start a Pergamano class as there are so many students need to learn....But I have no idea how to start....Can you please help me some instructions....Thank you.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      6 years ago

      This is a new one for me, I am not ready to sign up - but I certainly appreciate all the lovely work!

    • Mistl profile image


      6 years ago

      This looks really cool. Might be time for a new hobby... :D

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 

      6 years ago from Gloucester

      What an interesting lens! I didn't know there was such a thing as parchment craft. Really interesting. Blessed. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is something I have never tried, and it looks beautiful, especially when embossed, thank you for all the information. *Blessings for this wonderful lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Your parchment craft cards are lovely. These would make beautiful Christmas cards. I plan to give it a try. Thank you for introducing me to this fantastic craft. Appreciated!

    • KarenTBTEN profile image


      7 years ago

      Those are cool. I am familiar with some forms of paper craft, but hadn't heard that particular term.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      7 years ago from East Central Florida

      This sounds like a really wonderful hobby. I'll bet if I got started, I would do it instead of other things that I might actually need to do.

    • Rockett LM profile image

      Rockett LM 

      7 years ago

      What great information. I am inspired!! I especially like the embossed card it looks very elegant and is probably very easy to do. My next card creation will be a parchment card! Thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A beautiful craft and a very well done lens. Excellent work and greatly appreciated. :)

    • Calliope LM profile image

      Calliope LM 

      7 years ago

      This is really interesting. I had never heard of this before. I wonder if the Parchment paper would work well with paper cutting techniques?


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