Tip: Papers I usually buy on Ebay or Origami Shop. Japanese books I tend to buy from CDJapan.

This is my personal Origami paper guide – after several years of experience with Origami papers and online shops. If you are interested to find out more about a lot of different Origami papers – including their primary using in Origami, their advantages (or disadvantages) to other Origami papers, as well as many personal hints and tips I collected over time. And don’t forget – it is also good to know of what to avoid!

I get asked a lot on Instagram and in messages about what kind of Origami paper I am using and where I buy it. I will try to answer to rather complex question in my article below. This is actually a two part question, that needs to be split into two: A quick overview of the different Origami papers and their uses, as well as some personal information based on my experiences over the years as to “Where do YOU buy your Origami paper?” So I thought I sum up some of the things I learned over the past years. {By the way I still remember the times when all these terms like Kami, Washi, Tant & Elephant Hide sounded quite confusing..} This is by far not a complete list of Origami papers, but should be regarded as an overview of what is available – as well as only reflects my own personal experience. I encourage you to participate in this article and tell of your observation in both Origami paper choices as well as online buying experiences. 

Feel free to jump to any Origami Paper Category:

1. Kami
2. Duo (Double) Sided Paper
3. Patterned Kami Paper
4. Duo Colored Paper with Pattern
5. Washi
6. Chiyogami Paper
7. Mulberry Paper
8. Elephant Hide
9. Tant
10. Glassine Paper
11. Korean Paper
12. Translucent Paper
13. (1000) Crane Paper
14. Harmony Paper
15. Kraft Paper
16. Aurora Paper
17. Foil Paper
18. Glow-in-the-Dark Paper
19. Pastel Paper
20. Sakura Paper
21. Daiso Paper

Online Shops

Overview of Different Origami Papers Available

1. Kami – is probably the most known and used paper as it is easily available and economic in price. Kami paper is colored on one side and white on the other side. It is reasonably thin (can really depend on the brand) and holds the crease very well. You can use it for almost all kinds of Origami (animals, flowers, modular Origami and certain boxes). It is not recommended for overly complex models, such as animals & figures. I prefer (actually for most of my papers) to buy authentic Japanese or Korean paper. Both of them are readily available online. I normally buy the 500 sheet box, as it is really inexpensive and then you don’t have too worry about running out of Origami paper too soon. When I buy Kami, I normally choose this brand.  It’s authentic, thin, crisp and beautiful Japanese paper. What to avoid when choosing Kami? In some cheaper papers the color rubs off and has a weird feeling when creasing down with the fingernail (not smooth) – it’s hard to describe, I guess you know what I mean when you experience it. It’s best to stick with brands that are better known.

2. Duo (Double) Sided Origami Paper – This paper is colored on one side and different colored on the other. You can probably call it the sibling of Kami, as it has most qualities that Kami has. It might be a tiny bit thicker and stronger and thus more suitable for modular Origami models. That’s also where this paper shines, as the patterns come to life when you have a two-color contrast. I really love the Korean Jong Ie Nara Origami papers, which are most well known for this kind of paper. Tip: Sometimes you can also get Duo Paper that is slightly larger (like 7 inch), which might be quite useful for modular Origami – as when you slice one paper into 4 equal ones, you end up with slightly larger paper. This makes it much easier to assemble when doing Kusudama Origami.

3. Patterned Kami Paper – Another category of very well know Origami paper. It has the same qualities of Kami (thin, easy to fold with, holds creases well), but replaces the uni colored front of the paper with a nice colorful pattern design. This can be anything from geometric designs, small repetitive patterns, traditional Japanese patterns to modern designs. Some Origami paper manufacturers label their paper to be Chiyogami, when it is actual Patterned Kami paper, not made by a special process, but be actually only Chiyogami-style paper. Patterned Kami paper is similarly priced like regular Kami paper and is suitable for almost the same uses. There are many manufacturers that produce Patterned Kami, but you still need to look out that the paper is not too weak and soft. Some cheap papers in this category look good, but are not so much fun to use when folding (and expecting certain properties!).

4. Duo Colored Origami Paper with pattern – Very similar to the paper category above, just has one side with a colorful Origami pattern like Sakura (Cherry Blossom) flowers, tiny dots or stars, stripes and on the other side is colored as well. I really love this paper for Sonobe projects or other Kusudama. I recently used this paper for the Kimono Sonobe Ball. The brand that comes to my mind when I think of this category is Aitoh, a US based company that imports beautiful Origami papers from Japan. Hint: This particular paper that I am talking about has a beautiful flower pattern on the one side and a strong color (but similar) on the other side. In other papers, most of the time, this side will have a weaker color tone, which makes it sadly disappear a bit when using it as contrast in Kusudama models. That is why I think this particular pack of paper is really great.

5. Washi paper – A very traditional Japanese Origami paper made from long plant fibres, that was made by hand for many centuries. Sadly it this tradition diminishing and being replaced by machine-made paper products. This paper comes in varying thicknesses from translucent to heavy paper, but is in most cases more durable than other Origami papers. Washi paper can have very traditional patterns like Sakura, Kimono patterns (look at category below) or even have no pattern at all. This is not everyday paper, but should be cherished and carefully chosen for an Origami project.

6. Chiyogami (also called Yuzen) – A form of Washi paper with repetitive patterns, yet vibrant colors and gold, that was used originally for Origami paper dolls (Hina dolls) as well as boxes. Hint: Be careful if you want to buy Chiyogami (or Washi) papers, that you don’t end of with Chiyogami style paper.

7. Mulberry Paper – Also made from plant fibres, just like Washi, but from the Mulberry tree. This paper is mostly uni colored without patterns and looks very pretty with the plant fibres shining through. Tip: When you buy Mulberry paper, is is mostly not useable for Origami projects as it does not hold the fold very good. You need to treat it first to get it more stiff and crisp. I use Italian laundry starch spray to stiffen by ironing it. Mulberry paper makes wonderful “natural” looking boxes, as well is very beautiful for animals and roses (Kawasaki rose). I have seen this paper online at Amazon & Ebay.

8. Elephant Hide – is originally a book binding paper, that was discovered by the Origami community to be very suitable for tessellations and certain animals. It is made by the german company Zanders. Elephant Hide comes in no patterns or designs, but is textured and is available in a very limited number of colors. This paper is quite thick, thus very durable and and almost never tears. Elephant Hide is the paper of choice for animals and tessellations, but it is a luxury paper. It is also not so easy to find it online. Amazon sells one color & the Origami Shop carries a few colors. If you want the more economic form of Elephant Hide, then check the category below: Tant.

9. Tant – Is Japanese paper that is very pleasant to fold due to it’s stiff characteristics like Elephant Hide (also has a slightly textured surface) but slightly thinner, thus more flexible, holds the crease very well, but more easily available and the overwhelming choice of colors (all uni-colored). It comes in many different sizes from 7.5 cm / 3 inch to up to 110 cm x 80 cm / 43 in x 31 in. The most popular sizes are 15 cm / 6 in and 35 cm / 13 in. Due to it’s large range of sizes and colors this makes it one of my most liked Origami papers. Tant Paper is suitable for dry- and wet-foldingmodular Origami (Kusudama), animals and tessellations. If you are not too limited with your budget, then you should definitely try this paper – you will fall in love with it! By the way, they carry also a Monotone version, which should be really interesting when used in Modular Origami.

10. Glassine Paper – Another specialty paper like the one’s mentioned above. This is one of the thinnest Origami papers available – making it one of the prettiest papers for tessellations, that benefit from it’s translucency. Glassine makes very sharp creases, is easy to work with when you need to do large pre-creasing grids (as you can look through to the other side, so you know up to where you need to fold – but it not so easy to handle if you need to reverse the fold. Besides that, it is also so very thin, that it is a little bit difficult to handle, for example if you need to free fold some folds in the air, without the support of the table. The only company that comes to my mind when talking about Glassine Paper is Folia from Germany. This paper is available from 15 cm / 6 in, to 20 cm / 8 in to large size 50 cm x 70 cm / 19-3/4″ x 27-1/2″. Hint: As mentioned already above, if I can choose between 15 cm and the 20 cm, I would always go with the 20 cm / 8 in – so when you quater cut your paper to use 4 pieces, you always end up with a little bit larger size than with the 15 cm / 6 in.

11. Korean Jong Ie Nara Origami Paper – This is one of my favorite Origami papers (well, actually manufacturers!) as well. It has many great qualities like inexpensive, many color choices (both Kami and Duo Colored versions) and well as many colorful patterns. Jong Ie Nara Duo Colored Paper is the paper of choice for me for Kusudama and modular Origami that needs where a model forms a pattern from both sides of the paper. The model on the left is from paper from Jong Ie Nara. Tip: I normally buy the 500 pack of duo colored paper – so I end up with enough paper in different color combinations to build at least one or more Kusudama (30 units for example). The company also manufactures great 1000 piece crane papers, rose papers as well as amazing miniature (5 cm / 2 in) translucent Harmony crane paper (used in the Miniature Rose Box by Shin Han-Gyo). You should try this paper if you are into Kusudama folding. If you love the lavender / purple combination, I found a paper pack in only this combination.

12. Translucent / Transparent Origami Paper – I know a few Origami papers that fall under this category. Sadly, very few companies produce paper with these qualities. There is Glassine paper (already mentioned above), translucent miniature Harmony paper by Jong Ie Nara, Daiso transparent Poly paper, Daiso wax-paper with dots or stripes and colors, and semitransparent natural wood fiber papers like Mulberry. If you ever came across lampshade folding or if you wanted to backlit Sonobe units, you know how difficult it is to find material in this category.

13. (1000) Crane Paper – Paper that was made specifically for the purpose of crane folding. Crane paper come in a variety of different choices, from single colored papers, papers with patterns as well as Harmony paper. Tip: I have several packs of this paper at home that I intend to use for other purposes like modular Origami and miniature Origami. Recommended due to it’s small price for such a large quantity of papers!

 

14. Harmony Paper – This category blends a bit together with the one above (Crane Paper). Harmony paper is colored paper where colors seamlessly blend into each other. When used with suitable models, this paper makes stunning Origami work. Use Harmony paper for modular Origami, cranes and flowers. Translucent Harmony paper is one of my favorite Origami papers. Hint: This category is all about exploring and testing – and you will be amazed of what interesting patterns can be achieved with this paper. When buying this paper, stick to the two major manufacturers: Jong Ie Nara (Korean) or Grimm Showa (Japanese) – Senbazuru Harmony Box. I use both of them and like them both.

15. Kraft Paper – Origami paper that is different colored on both sides. This paper is widely used in Germany as gift wrapping paper. It is a bit stronger than Kami thus more durable. I always think of the Japanese version of this paper that is natural colored on one side and single colored on the other. This paper is very well liked by modular (Kusudama) enthusiasts.

16. Aurora Origami Paper – Iridescent Paper that is very pretty as it reflects the light from it’s surface. It is sometimes also called Pearl or Pearlescent paper. Aurora paper is useful for single Origami models as well as modular Kusudama models. The Sakuradama Kusudama by Toshikazu Kawasaki comes to my mind when I think of uses for this paper.

17. Foil Origami Paper – Shiny and reflective paper that is used for complex animals and figures. But due to it’s thin nature, this paper is not very forgiving. It is available in many colors. Amazon carries quite a lot of different choices.

18. Glow-in-the-Dark Origami Paper – I am sure a few will be surprised that such Origami paper exists. I guess this makes it a great paper for kids, who can admire their work at nighttime in the dark room. This is universal paper, and is used for animals, shapes and objects. Toyo (the manufacturer of Tant) carries this paper.

19. Pastel Origami Paper – This is not so much of a kind of Origami paper, but a very popular shade. Pastel paper can be found in many different configuration like Pastel Tant (both sides the same color), Pastel Kami (like the one from Toyo) and Duo Colored paper from Tuttle Origami (non Japanese). This paper can be regarded as an universal Origami paper and many pretty models can be folded (animals, flowers, modular Origami, roses, boxes) with it.

.

20. Sakura Origami Paper – Not really a paper kind, but rather uses the Cherry Blossom as a pattern. Very lovely! The best time to be on the lookout for economic Sakura paper packs is in spring time, when the Cherry Blossoms flower. The Japanese Origami paper manufacturer Daiso releases countless version of it every year. You should check Amazon what kinds they carry.

.

21. Daiso Origami Paper – This brings me to the last category for this time. Many will have heard the name Daiso – it is the equivalent of the dollar store in the US, but produces a wide range of Origami papers that are very economic to buy. Most of the Daiso papers are a little bit too weak for my taste, but still worth mentioning due to it’s low price. Don’t get me wrong, I bought beautiful patterned Sakura paper as well as other traditional patterned Origami papers from this company. It is worthwhile to check out, if you are on a tight budget!


Again, as already said before, this is a short excerpt of the whole range of Origami papers. I would love to hear your remarks regarding experiences with different Origami papers.

Where to buy Origami paper online?

Over the years I bought at several online stores (I actually never buy local, as there is no selection!) and will tell you of my experiences with 3 Origami paper sources.

Amazon Everybody heard of Amazon – huge selection of all kinds of papers that ship to almost any place world-wide. I don’t think you can go wrong when ordering from Amazon. Safe and Recommended!

Ebay: I also tend to buy a lot from Ebay. Sometimes you get great paper really cheap, yet other times I tend to pay a little bit more money to get the exact paper I want. You should always look at the seller rating before you buy at Ebay. But for one, the sums are really small (smaller risk) and in those years that I buy numerous times from Ebay, I never really got scammed. But you might need to look out for what shipping the seller uses, as I got once or twice a shipment sent with EMS where I had to pay a fee to release the shipment. With Ebay I mostly choose regular post (possibly with tracking number) – even if I have to wait 3 weeks for paper.

The Origami Shop – situated in France that ships world-wide, has a great selection of all kinds of Origami papers – including specialty paper for complex models that you mostly can’t get anywhere else. If you order for more than Euro 60, they ship world-wide for free. I found many great duo colored patterned Origami papers that I have not seen anywhere else. Worthwhile having a peak at their selection!

Disclaimer – This long article includes links to online shops, including Amazon. OrigamiTutorials.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I make a commission for purchases made through some of those link. This does not cost you anything more, but helps me keep my site running and keeps me going, doing more tutorials and finding more unique Origami models. A big thank you ❤ to those of you, who use my links and buy their Origami supplies!

.

You might also be interested in my paper recommendations including different Origami paper usage, personal hints, tips & what to avoid when buying online. To get updates on my latest video tutorials, subscribe to my youtube channel, see what other Origami models I am working on right now – follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my Newsletter.