What is origami paper?

If you’re interested in starting an origami hobby, then it’s important to understand the tools at your disposal. Using the right paper gets you better results and can prevent frustration when you’re trying to master more advanced skills and projects.

The demands of origami

Simple printer paper isn’t ideal for use when you’re practicing origami for several reasons. Origami is the art of creating patterns and models by folding paper – from simple flowers to complex 3D creations. To work effectively, the paper has to crease easily and hold that crease. If it’s too durable and rebounds to its original shape too easily then you won’t be able to model with it effectively. It also needs to be easy to fold over and over in the same small area, for when you need to create small details in a model – like the beak of a bird.

It’s also useful to have a large stack of paper in a regular size, so you can practice techniques over and over to master them. If you have to cut paper to size first, you’re putting a barrier between yourself and your hobby, and you’re introducing the possibility of human error disrupting your designs!


The most widely available origami paper, Kami (Japanese for paper) is very thin, so it’s especially easy to fold. It comes in a uniform size, so it’s easy to make sure your projects come out looking the same each time.

You can buy plain Kami paper, or sheets printed with simple designs. Choose carefully and the origami project you’re folding can be echoed in the look of the paper you’re using to make it!

Foil Paper

If you’re looking for a slightly more striking paper when you’re making models to display, this could be a good option. Foil paper (also called ‘paper backed foil paper’ or ‘Japanese Foil’) is a sheet of very thin metal foil, backed by origami paper. Even with this foil layer, it’s thinner than printer paper and holds creases very well.

You can find many different colours of foils – either in uniform packs, or as a selection, so choose carefully and pick the option that will let you display your origami skills to the best effect.

Other papers

Kami and foil are the most widely available and widely used origami papers for home crafters, especially in the west. More experienced origami specialists may use handmade papers to produce special effects, but they aren’t ideal for beginners. Washi is used by professional artists, but it can be difficult to make it retain a sharp crease due to the long fibres used in the making of the paper.

Yuzen or Chiyogoshi paper is handmade and traditionally decorated with repetitive patterns. It’s often used to make sophisticated paper dolls and figurines in Japan.

Starting with paper crafts

If you want to start with a papercraft like origami, then choosing a papercrafting MakeBox could be the perfect first step. MakeBox+Co delivers everything you need for a full project, from specialised paper to the instructions needed for success.

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