We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Drafting Paper?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Drafting paper is paper which has been specially prepared for use in technical drawings. It has a number of unique features which are designed to make it useful for architects, engineers, and other individuals who need to prepare technical drawings. Many art supply stores carry drafting paper, in a range of sizes and styles to meet specific needs. The use of drafting paper is in decline, thanks to the advent of computer aided design (CAD) systems, which allow people to make technical drawings on a computer, rather than needing to draw them by hand.

When a draft is prepared, it must be done on archival-quality paper, so that the image will endure and remain crisp for years. The paper must also contrast well with the colors of pen and pencil used, making it easy to copy the technical drawings. It is also important to use paper which is firm and not very elastic, since otherwise the precise details of the drawing could become distorted. Erasability is also key, as changes may need to be made and tell-tale streaks, lines, and smudges are not desirable.

Several materials can be used for drafting paper. Specially prepared wood-based papers are one option, as are rag papers and vellum. Some drafters use plastics, with plastic films being especially ideal for drawings which will be used to produce blueprints. Tracing paper is also used for drafting in some cases. In all cases, the paper is typically mounted on a drafting table, and specialized pens, pencils, and tools are used in the drafting process to render a very clear and precise image.

Some drafting paper is clear and unpatterned, but it is also possible to purchase paper with a grid. Grid vellum and other gridded drafting papers are useful for technical drawings, because they provide a frame of reference for the drafter and for anyone viewing the draft. Some grids are designed to fade out when the technical drawing is copied, so that they are not a distraction in prints, while in other instances, the grid will be retained when the paper is copied.

This paper is designed to be of archival quality, making it important to use archival pens and pencils on the paper so that the integrity of the image will not be compromised. It is also important to store drafting paper appropriately. Drafts should be rolled or laid flat, never folded, and they should be kept in a cool, dry place in low light. When people need to examine an original, they should make sure that their hands are clean, and they should spread the paper out on a flat surface, rather than unrolling it in the air.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a About Mechanics researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By lightning88 — On Sep 10, 2010

Has anyone ever used Clearprint vellum drafting paper? I hear good things about it, and I'm trying to decide which kind of drafting paper to use for my architecture drafting and design course.

Could someone advise me please?

By pleats — On Sep 10, 2010

Engineers use drafting paper too, but it's usually drafting graph paper or isometric drafting paper.

This allows them to better represent 3d shapes and designs on their drafts, which can be crucial in complex engineering.

Of course, I don't think it's the same kind of vellum drafting paper that architects use...

By EarlyForest — On Sep 10, 2010

I had no idea that you had to be so careful with architectural drafting paper. I guess that makes sense, especially for plans and blueprints that will be used years later, but surely every sheet of drafting paper doesn't get the same treatment.

I mean, don't architects have scratch pads or filler paper for their brainstorming? Otherwise that would be an extremely expensive and time consuming industry (well, more than it already is).

Or maybe I'm off -- are drafting paper and supplies used in an architect's daily work?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.