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A Beginner’s Guide to Origami Paper

The paper craft of origami is one that has captivated the whole world. Creating intricate designs using pieces of coloured paper is something anyone can do no matter how young or old, and the creativity options are endless. It’s great to watch how a few folds of paper can create something three-dimensional without any need for gluing or taping.

Want to know more about origami? Here we tell you all there is to know about it, from its origins to the most popular types and how to choose the right paper.

The origins of origami

Origami has a rich and complex history, and it’s hard to pinpoint the exact date origami paper was invented. However, it remains true that the Japanese were the first to begin using paper solely for art.

Derived from the Japanese word oru (to fold) and kami (paper), origami was first practised as a craft only for the elite. Paper was first invented in China around 105 A.D. and was introduced into Japan by Japanese monks in the sixth century. During this time, handmade paper was a luxury only few could afford and was primarily used for ceremonial practices. Japanese monks would fold origami figures for religious purposes and for use in various formal ceremonies such as weddings. Paper butterflies were made to symbolise the brides and grooms in Shinto ceremonies. Officially, the term ‘origami’ was created in 1880, but before that the craft was known as orikata (folded shapes).

Introducing origami paper to the world

As paper became more readily available it also became more affordable, allowing more people to enjoy origami. People began making origami animals as gifts, or folded cards and envelopes for their correspondence. The art of folding as used in origami was also practised as an educational tool to help teach mathematics.

Origami was introduced to the world by Akira Yoshizawa who published books about folding paper to create origami art. Today origami is enjoyed by all types of people, ages, and cultures across the world.

Popular types of origami paper

Of course you can use any type of paper for origami, and tin foil, newspaper, and wrapping paper have become popular for crafting. Traditionally, paper for origami was thicker than normal paper and had a cloth-type feel to them. Depending on how intricate your design, there are several popular types of origami paper available, including these more popular choices of origami paper for beginners:

Washi paper

Washi is the Japanese word for the traditional papers used in origami, with ‘wa’ meaning Japanese and ‘shi’ meaning paper. Washi paper is traditional handmade Japanese paper and is considered to be the finest paper available.

Traditional washi paper is made from the raw materials of the Gampi tree, the Mitsumata shrub, and the Kozo shrub. These days, washi paper can be both handmade and machine-made, and come in a wide range of colours and patterned designs. Because of its smooth texture and light weight, it’s the perfect paper for origami beginners.

Yuzen and Chiyogami

Decorative woodblock and textile patterns are hand-screened and printed onto this washi paper to mimic the beauty of traditional Japanese kimonos. It’s usually used to create paper dolls, collages, decorative packaging, and origami.

Single-sided origami paper

If you have folded origami before then it’s likely you used standard, single-sided paper. The thinness of the paper and the fact that one side is coloured while the other is plain white makes it easier for beginners to fold and create origami with.

How to choose the right paper

Choosing the right paper for your origami project depends on the intricacy of your design and the overall look that you wish to achieve. For beginners, traditional washi paper and single-side origami paper is the perfect choice as they’re both easy to fold and come in a range of colours and patterns so that you can get really creative.

Another thing to consider when choosing the right origami paper is the size. Before folding and sculpting, you should have an idea of how small or big you’d like your final design to be. Usually, smaller pieces of paper create more delicate designs while larger pieces of paper create bigger and bolder sculptures. When you’re just beginning, a traditional standard square piece is perfect. But keep in mind there are papers that come in triangular shapes and circular shapes, too. Have fun with them all and experiment to find which paper you like the most.

Get folding!

At Discount Art N Craft Warehouse we provide traditional Washi paper, which is the most suitable and popular choice for origami beginners. Create both intricate and bold designs from home by shopping online today and ordering pattern and Washi paper from us.