The traditional Japanese art of paper folding, origami creates a range of exciting and beautiful outcomes. You can potentially look for nearly anything in its origami form – from wild animals to plants, industrial machines, to architectural forms – some origami architect somewhere is bound to have dreamt it up.
While it’s easy to assume that origami is simply paper folding and any ‘ole sheet of paper will do, there are advantages to using specialist origami paper. The ones from Japan tend to be beautifully coloured and patterned and already pre-cut to the perfect 6″ by 6″ square.
Absolute Origami Beginners
If this is your very first time attempting origami, or you’re working with children who have never tried origami before, we would recommend that you start with standard A4 printer or copier paper. You can cut these sheets into larger squares which would make the folds easier.
A light 70 gm would suffice. Any thicker and pressing down the folds and valleys become more challenging. Standard white copier paper tends to be more forgiving and even if you make mistakes as it is relatively easy to unfold and redo.
For Intermediate origami enthusiasts, double-sided coloured paper or patterned origami paper would be the ones we recommend. These are not textured are are usually smooth. Specialist origami paper is usually slightly thinner than standard A4 paper, and while it does make folding easier, once folded, the lines tend to remain. Hence why we recommend starting with copier paper for absolute beginners.
There are also origami paper kits that come with coloured and patterned papers including some instructions for projects.
If you’re a great enthusiast or used to folding origami and following paper instructions, we would recommend using the specialist papers. The Japanese version of these are the Chiyogami Washi paper. Washi paper has a slight texture and the patterns tend to be based on kimono fabric patterns which are beautifully bright. There are also specific textured paper that would lend itself well to origami projects.
These are particularly nice when used for the more complex paper folding projects such as Japanese paper dolls.
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