Can you Draw on Parchment Paper?

Parchment paper can be used for drawing in many creative ways, but to understand what parchment paper is, you'll need to read this helpful article further. Now you can learn what you can and cannot do with parchment paper to create plenty of budget-friendly art projects.

Can I Use Parchment Paper For Art?

The good news is that you can draw on parchment paper for various drawing projects of all sorts. The only downside to parchment paper is that it's very thin, making it fragile to use but no more difficult than rice paper.

Can You Draw on Parchment Paper
Can You Draw on Parchment Paper

You might say that parchment paper has more weight to it than rice paper. It tends to feel like starched tissue paper and comes in a continuous roll that you buy from any grocery store.

You can use pencils on it very quickly; however, if you apply too much pressure while drawing, your pointy pencil tip can go right through the parchment paper just as quickly. You need to have a delicate touch and angle your tip to avoid tearing the paper while you draw on it. Instead of a perfectly placed 90-degree angle, try using a 45-degree angle by dragging the pencil as you go.

You can use parchment paper for drawing since it's a lot cheaper than tracing paper. For any budget-minded beginner artist, you can find plenty of parchment paper sold in the Dollar Store or discount chain stores. Steer clear from using wax paper as this is not the same as parchment paper. You won't be able to draw on wax paper with a pencil as quickly as parchment paper.

This is because parchment paper is coated with a silicone sealant which works better for baking in an oven. It's not such a thick coating of silicone that you can't use a pencil or pen, which makes it perfect for drawing on.

Media You can Draw With on Parchment Paper:

  • Graphite Pencil: Don't Draw with a Sharp Tipped Pencil
  • Permanent Marker: Can Dry Out Easily
  • Drawing Ink: Nip can Damage Paper Surface
  • Sharpie Marker: Can Dry Out Easily
  • White Pencil: Draw with a Rounded Tip
  • Fine Liner Pens: Can Dry Out Easily
  • Ink Pens: Can Dry Out Easily
  • Biro Pen: Excellent

What is Parchment Paper Used For in Art?

The main reason that parchment paper is used in art projects is to trace and transfer that image to another piece of paper.

This is where tracing paper is used, but the difference is pretty apparent when you compare the cost of tracing paper to parchment paper. Tracing paper is drastically pricier since it's designed to be very transparent and thin but sold in a ream or by the piece.

Parchment paper is excellent because it's dirt-cheap and can be found anytime and from any market or 24-hour Quickie-Mart. For the amount of money you would pay for traditional tracing paper, you can buy a one-year supply of parchment paper instead. You can take a sheet of parchment paper and lay it over a drawing that you've previously finished. It can also work perfectly for photos.

Place some painter's masking tape on the edges to hold the paper in place. If you don1t have painter's masking tape, you can use Post-it notes that work just fine and can be removed without tearing the paper or leaving any sticky film behind. The parchment paper allows you to see through the surface to trace any image you have. Carefully use a pencil to copy the image using only the contour lines.

If you have a light board that illuminates behind your paper, this task will be much faster. You can also do my favorite trick and tape your paper onto a window and use daylight to trace your image.

You May Also Like:

Can You Use a Pencil on Parchment Paper?

Any pencil works excellent on parchment paper unless your pencil is very sharp. It can tear a hole into the paper. This makes tracing a pain to deal with if you've torn too many holes in your paper. Use softer graphite which will appear darker instead of hard graphite and reduces the need to push harder on your parchment paper. Just use a light touch to get the basic outline that you need.

Since you're tracing onto the second piece of paper thicker than the parchment paper itself, the paper underneath acts as a springboard and can gouge a hole if you use too much pressure while tracing. To transfer the image to another clean piece of paper, you need to lay down carbon paper between the parchment and your drawing paper. If you're careful, you can also rub graphite powder onto the back of the parchment to make a transfer.

If you don't have carbon paper, tape the parchment into a window and then your drawing paper and trace the image through the paper. This is easier if you have a lightbox or light board that's used for tracing.

Can You Write on Parchment Paper?

It's easy to write on parchment paper because it's allowing pencil graphite to transfer to the paper. You can use alcohol-based markers that are permanent such as a fine line sharpie, and this will make a great surface to draw on. It won't bleed through unless you're using a lot of ink in one section for too long. Fine line markers work best since these don't deposit a lot of ink while you're wiring something.

As a rule of thumb, you need to use a pencil instead of ink. This isn't because the ink is a bad idea to use on parchment paper. It's really so you can erase any mistakes if you make a mistake while making your outline or contour. If you're using parchment paper for anything else besides writing, the paper will accept paint, drawing ink, alcohol pens, and any kind of color pencils or crayons.

There are decorative uses for making parchment decorations that use embossing powders. The nature of parchment paper allows the paper to be placed into the oven without any worry that it will shrink or burn if you use low heat.

Can I Draw on Baking Paper?

Baking paper is a term that is used when people are talking about parchment paper. It's just another way to call it what it is. Since it's not like wax paper, you can cook with wax paper; baking paper makes baking cookies, brownies, and assorted pastries easier.

If you've had trouble finding parchment paper in your supermarket, they'll likely be calling it baking paper instead.

No matter what it's called, it's perfect for tracing paper or art paper for related drawing projects. You can construct ornaments from the baking paper and delicate invitations likewise. For the best run for your money, using it for tracing will be where you get the most from this universal paper. It's sold in many places under various names, including silicone-coated baking paper or non-stick parchment paper.

It's the same wherever you find it being sold, whether you buy it online or from a local supermarket. Because it comes in a continuous roll, you can tear off the right amount that you need since it has a built-in serrated edge, just like aluminum foil. If it doesn't come with this, you can use scissors to cut the length you need. Just be careful as you're cutting it since it's skinny and will tear very easily.

Drawing on Parchment Paper From the Oven?

When you use parchment paper used for baking, it can withstand heat pretty well due to the amount of silicone release that's sprayed onto it. This fragile paper will start to get dried out if you let it sit in the oven for any length of time.

Heat makes it brittle, and this will make it hard to draw anything onto it. It's better to draw on this paper beforehand to make it aged looking by baking it.

Typically, baking paper and parchment paper will turn brown along the edges and start looking like an old pirate map. The downside is that this paper will crack if you try to handle it, so it's better to glue it down to a thicker card stock using spray glue to keep any brittle pieces from cracking off. After this, it's possible to draw on dried parchment paper from the oven. To get a very cracked effect, you'll need to be extra careful when removing this paper.

You can additionally use watercolors to put staining on the edges or give the entire paper a wash of aged paper color. They do sell artists' parchment paper that is much thicker and has texture in the paper surface, but this is nothing like baking parchment paper. This thicker paper is more for invitations and appearance than anything else. Set your oven temperature to no more than 150F degrees to get the paper to brown.

Getting this paper to become darkened will make the paper not easy to handle and will likely crack if you bend it. This is why it needs to be mounted onto the second piece of paper if you're making creative art designs that have texture or visible cracks. I recommend using a flat book to put on top of this paper after you put spray adhesive on the back. To be clear: when asking how you can draw on parchment paper for special projects, you'll want to mount it securely first. After that, this makes it easier to display later.


Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

Recent Posts