Glassine is generally translucent unless dyes are added to color the paper or make it opaque. It is manufactured by a process called calendering; after pulping and drying, the sheets are pressed through rollers such that the paper fibers flatten out facing in the same direction. In order to maximize the smoothness and thinness of the paper, glassine must go through this process several times, and so is referred to as supercalendered.
Glassine has myriad practical uses. It is frequently employed as an interleaving paper in bookbinding, especially for illustrations; the paper can be manufactured with a neutral pH, and can prevent damage from spilling, exposure, or rubbing. Glassine tape has also been used in book repair. In chemistry, glassine is used as an inexpensive weighing paper. It is also used in foodservice as a barrier between strips of products (e.g. meat, baked goods); glassine is resistant to grease and facilitates separation of individual foodstuffs.
Philatelists use glassine envelopes to store stamps, and stamp hinges are sometimes made of glassine. Such envelopes have also been employed for carrying drugs such as cocaine and heroin. In the mid-20th century, potato chips were sometimes packaged in glassine bags. Glassine is sometimes used in the packaging of firecrackers.