Origami is a fascinating hobby that people of all ages can enjoy. All you need is some paper and time to fold the model. There are many different types of paper to choose from and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Just about any kind of paper can be used to practice with and fold simple models, anything from newspaper and magazines to notebook paper to construction paper. Even though such paper is good to use in the beginning and for practice, if you are serious about developing your folding skills, you are going to need to invest in some origami paper.
What is origami paper? It is paper that is made for folding without ripping or tearing up while you are folding the paper. There are several types to choose from and each type is designed for different models.
Kami is Japanese for paper and it is the most common form of paper. Kami is generally cut into squares and comes in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. It is possible to get kami cut into rectangles or other shapes. Most commonly it is colored on one side and white on the other, but it is sometimes colored on both sides.
Found in arts and crafts stores, tissue paper is thin and light. Because it is so delicate, it isn’t a good choice for most models. It is generally used on models that have lots of thin long parts such as legs and antennas such as insects and bugs. The fibers are long and strong allowing you to fold some of the most complicated models.
This type is made from thin paper that has foil glued to one side. This gives the models a nice look when finished, but it is somewhat trickier to fold because if you make any mistakes while folding the creases will remain in the finished model.
This stuff is softer than normal paper, and is usually made with longer fibers giving it exceptional strength. Back in the good old days it was generally hand-made; today however, it is commonly made with machines. Washi is softer than kami and has some texture to it. It can also come with traditional Japanese patterns and designs printed on it.
What is origami paper made of? There are several pulps that are commonly used. Most commonly is pulp from the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub, paper mulberry, bamboo, hemp, rice and wheat.
Chiyogami is washi that has traditional Japanese imagery printed on it. Originally it was printed on the paper with wooden blocks, but today it is printed on with modern machines.
Thick and strong, momi has a crinkled texture and is really soft, almost cloth-like when compared to other papers. Momi is used when you need a good, and durable paper for larger models, or with models that the folds need to stay tightly folded.
These are the main types of paper for origami that most people use. As you can see there is a variety of different types to choose from. They have their strengths and weaknesses allowing you to fold a variety of models.