How to Choose the Right Origami Paper

A 5 Minute Guide to Origami Paper Fun, cheap and completely portable, origami is the perfect hobby. But so many different types of paper to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which one would be the most suitable for your project and level of ability. This post explains how to choose the […]

How to Choose the Right Origami Paper

A 5 Minute Guide to Origami Paper

Fun, cheap and completely portable, origami is the perfect hobby. But so many different types of paper to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which one would be the most suitable for your project and level of ability. This post explains how to choose the right origami paper, whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned enthusiast.

Origami Paper Guide

There are three absolute requirements you should keep in mind when choosing origami paper: it needs to be perfectly square, it should hold a crease well, and it must be able to retain the shape into which it has been folded. Other than that, there are several different types that are suitable for particular projects and levels of ability. Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when choosing origami paper:

Thick or thin? Thin paper (around 70g/m2) is generally the easiest kind to start with, and also tends to be the best for complex models. This is because the thinner the paper is in relation to its surface area, the easier it is to get lots of neat folds out of it. That said, thicker papers (90 or 100g/m2) are often required for structures that need to be particularly sturdy such as boxes, as well as for more advanced projects – especially those that require wet folding.

Large or small? For the reasons above, medium and large squares of origami paper (14 – 20cm2) tend to be best for beginners and for complex models, as it is easier to get more folds out of them. Small sheets (7.5cm2) are better for modular models, I.e. those that are composed of lots of individual pieces.

Smooth or textured? Smooth origami paper is generally easier to work with than textured varieties, such as authentic washi paper. Once you’ve been practicing for a while, I do recommend that you try washi paper, as it can really help bring your creations to life. It’s great for giving the impression of fur, skin or hide if you’re making animals, and as it has a higher quality look and feel, it’s ideal for decorations and gifts. Washi paper is also perfect for wet folding.

Matte or foil? Metallic or shiny origami paper catches the light beautifully but is one of the most difficult types to work with. The foil layer is quite delicate, so a particularly deep crease can tear it if you’re not careful. Once you’ve mastered it, however, it’s highly rewarding, as it can be bent and twisted into different shapes that wouldn’t be possible with other kinds of paper.

Single- or double-sided? You can either get single-sided origami paper, which is coloured (and sometimes patterned) on just one side and white on the other, or double-sided paper, which has one colour on one side and another colour on the reverse. Which one you choose depends on your project: single-sided paper is a useful staple to have in your collection, while double-sided is good for enhancing the design and creating a stylish contrast.

Coloured or patterned? Again, whether you choose coloured or patterned paper depends on the project. It can be useful to have a selection of different colours to add realism to your models, e.g. green for a frog and pink for a pig, as well as a set of patterned paper for boxes, decorations and more abstract models.

I hope this has given you a better idea of how to choose the right origami paper. If you would like to buy origami paper online, I recommend The Japanese Shop. They have a wide range of high quality paper, including all the different types listed here, available for UK and worldwide delivery.

Happy folding!

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