About Japanese Paper

Origami paper comes in many types, but the clearest distinction is whether the paper is machine-made or handmade. Handmade Japanese paper is called washi.

Origami paper can also be single-sided or double-sided. Most origami paper is single-sided: a design or solid color on one side with a white reverse side. Double-sided origami paper has solid-colors or patterns on both sides of the paper. Double-sided paper tends to be slightly thicker than single-sided paper. All double-sided origami paper on the Paper Jade site is called double-sided.

Washi often is single-sided with a pattern on one side only; the reverse side is off-white or white. Some washi, however, is double-sided in that the fibers are dyed and the color is throughout the paper. Both sides of the paper in this case are the same color although the texture of the two sides may be slightly different.

Double-sided solid-colored papers have one color combination per package or a variety of color combinations in each package. We also carry double-sided patterned paper which has a pattern on one side and a solid color on the reverse side.

Machine-made paper is more common that washi. It is typically less expensive and comes in many different types: solid-colored, patterned, foil, textured, and double-sided.

Foil paper is a metallic foil (e.g. gold, silver) on one side of the paper with a reverse side which is white paper. Foil paper is very unforgiving because once you've made a crease, it's there for good. It can, however, be useful if you really want to see what you are doing clearly, how the folds progress, and how the model is made. Foil papers make beautiful holiday ornaments. 

We also carry a selection of kits to make different modular origami, boxes, dolls, senbazuru (1000-crane kits), and kusadama (kusudama literally means medicine ball).

Most washi is thicker and softer to the touch than machine-made papers. Some washi, such as large sheets of patterned yuzen chiyogami, or our signature series of patterned yuzen chiyogami, has an almost cloth-like texture. The machine-made papers, on the other hand, have generally about the same thickness and feel as lightweight printer paper. Since machine-made paper is thinner it is more suitable for complex models, but washi can be more pleasant to fold because of its variety of textures.

For any questions or assistance finding a specific paper, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to be of service.

Happy Folding!

The folks at Paper Jade