Origami paper

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Origami paper and a traditional origami crane

Origami paper is used to fold origami, the art of paper folding. The only requirement of the folding medium is that is must be able to hold a crease.


Kami, or koi paper, is the cheapest paper made specifically for origami, and the most widely available. It was developed for use in schools.[1] The word kami is simply Japanese for paper, but it has acquired this specific meaning.[1][2]

Kami is thin and easy to fold. It is usually printed only on one side, with a solid color or pattern. These patterns can be as simple as a gradation from red to blue, or as complex as a multi-colored kimono pattern of flowers and cranes with gold foil embellishments. Kami comes in several sizes, but standard sizes include 75 × 75 mm (about 3 × 3 inches), 6-inch squares and 10-inch squares.

Paper-backed foil[edit]

This medium is a slightly more expensive, flashier, paper that is good for retaining creases called paper-backed foil paper, Japanese foil, or simply foil. Foil paper is composed of a thin layer of foil adhered to an extremely thin sheet of paper. The most common colors are silver and gold, but any color is possible in foil paper including bright pink, blue and copper. In many multi-color packs, one sheet each of silver and gold paper is included. These are usually placed on the bottom end of the string if used in a thousand origami cranes.


Washi is a thick handmade paper, available commercially but very expensive. Washi is a long-fibred paper but is also very soft. It does not hold a sharp fold due to the extremely long and thick fibres of the pulp. Inclusions of flowers, leaves, grass, seeds, string, ribbon, and other small decorative items are common for washi, adding to the random and handmade appearance of the finished craft. Washi is also accepting of ink, making it easy to print upon. Printed washi has a uniquely shiny, uneven and occasionally transparent texture. In origami it is not as commonly used as kami paper.

Chiyogami / Yuzen[edit]

Chiyogami refers to the repetitive patterns found in many origami papers. Originally the design was applied with wood blocks, but today most chiyogami is produced with silkscreen techniques.[1] You can find chiyogami made of washi or regular paper.

Dollar bills and banknotes[edit]

An origami snail that is made out of a dollar bill.

Banknotes may be used to fold models as well. Banknotes are common media for folding as the subject in the obverse of the banknote can make a striking appearance on the finished model.

Notes and references[edit]