Drafting Paper
Getting your design
in black & white


Drafting paper, is that still used ? Are we not supposed to be living in a "paperless society" ? Well, not quite. We probably use more drafting paper than ever before and in more varieties. High speed plotters and printers have made it possible to consume forms of paper in enormous amounts.

In the past making a large drawing was half as much making a work of art as well as making an accurate engineering document. You had to plan things out to a great degree to avoid multiple revisions, especially if you were drawing in ink. Now even the most complicated illustrations can be printed several times to get them just right.

Types of Drafting Paper

  • Bond - This is similiar to the paper we use everyday in our office printers. It's the least expensive paper and is usually supplied in roll form for drafting plotters. Bond is available in different weights. 18 to 24 lb Bond is most commonly used, but much heavier weights can be used for posters and presentation work.

  • Mylar - This is a drafting film made from plastic material. It has the advantage of being eraseable which, if you are working in ink, is a great advantage. It's also semi transparent, making it possible to overlay mylar drawings on a light table to check if linework matches up. The film is more resistant to tears and is more durable than paper. It is still used with drafting plotters and is available in roll form and in cut sheets. Mylar has a shiny side and a "matte" side which you draw on. The surface of mylar is quite slippery, and in the past special pens and inks were developed specifically for drawing on it. Modern plotters may have problems printing on mylar because the mylar does not absorb ink quickly like bond paper does. The ink stays wet and may smudge. Mylar is also quite expensive.

  • Vellum - This is a linen based paper that has traditionally been used in drafting offices. The high linen content makes it durable and allows pencil work to be erased and revised multiple times. It's not as strong as mylar but also is not as expensive. Vellum also has a smooth surface which does not absorb ink as fast as bond paper. That may cause problems in plotters with ink smudging.

  • Photo - With the advances in drafting printers and plotters photo media became available in roll form for printing super size renderings and images. It's a costly media and is usually reserved for the best of presentation graphics. But it allows the engineering office to do more by taking on work that was previously done by the print shop and the graphic designer.




  • > Paper used in engineering drawings