Paper craft is the collection of art forms employing paper or card as the primary artistic medium for the creation of three-dimensional objects. It is the most widely used material in arts and crafts. It lends itself to a wide range of techniques, as it can for instance be folded, cut, glued, molded, stitched, or layered. Papermaking by hand is also an important paper craft. Painting and calligraphy though they are commonly applied as decoration are normally considered as separate arts or crafts.
Paper crafts are known in most societies that use paper, with certain kinds of crafts being particularly associated with specific countries or cultures. In much of the West, the term origami is used synonymously with paper folding, though the term properly only refers to the art of paper folding in Japan. Other forms of paper folding include Zhezhi (Chinese paper folding), Jong-i.e.-jeop-gi, from Korea, and Western paper folding, such as the traditional paper boats and paper planes.
In addition to the aesthetic value of paper crafts, various forms of paper crafts are used in the education of children. Paper is a relatively inexpensive medium, readily available, and easier to work with than the more complicated media typically used in the creation of three-dimensional artwork, such as ceramics, wood, and metals. It is also neater to work with than paints, dyes, and other coloring materials. Paper crafts may also be used in therapeutic settings, providing children with a safe and uncomplicated creative outlet to express feelings.
The word "paper" derives from papyrus, the name of the ancient material manufactured from beaten reeds in Egypt as far back as the third millennium B.C. Indeed, the earliest known example of "paper folding" is an ancient Egyptian map, drawn on papyrus and folded into rectangular forms like a modern road map. However, it does not appear that intricate paper folding as an art form became possible until the introduction of wood-pulp based papers in China, where its invention is credited to Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty, in the 2nd century B.C. It is not known when the earliest use of folded paper as a medium was made, although it likely began shortly after the development of paper itself. The first Japanese origami is dated from the 6th century A.D.
- Boerens, Patrice (2009). The Complete Photo Guide to Paper Crafts. Creative Publishing International. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-58923-468-0.
- Nick Robinson, The Origami Bible (2004).
- Carol Tubbs, Margaret Drake, Crafts and Creative Media in Therapy, "Paper crafts", (2006), p. 221-34.
- H. Idris Bell and T.C. Skeat, 1935. "Papyrus and its uses" (British Museum pamphlet).
- Lang, Robert James.  (1988). The Complete Book of Origami: Step-by Step Instructions in Over 1000 Diagrams/48 Original Models. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-25837-8