Origami paper is the most important, and frankly the only, raw material you will ever need to get through this hobby. It is basically the reason why Origami is also the cheapest form of art with something absolutely spectacular waiting at the other end. The simplicity of Origami paper as well as the complexity of what you can do with it is what is the true essence of this hobby that almost every man, woman and child, on this planet, knows about and understands.
There are certain things that you need to remember when picking paper to make your Origami sculptures and while there are plenty of manufacturers, you always have the option of making your own paper too. Picking Origami paper requires you to look out for certain standard characteristics that aren't that hard to look for.
The ideal Origami Paper
In essence, what you are looking for is a strong piece of paper. Normally, you get paper that is strong, but too thick to make intricate folds. Origami paper is special in the sense that it retains its strength despite being extremely thin. Like all paper, Origami paper, too, is cut to size. As a result, there are a lot of different kinds of sheets that are manufactured, on a large scale, and each has a different purpose.
For e.g. it is quite important to find something colourful and jazzy if you are making something to adorn a gift! It is extremely normal to find brown paper or just simple-coloured paper accompanying books and Origami kits because, frankly, they are always the cheapest. However, if you are looking for something really expensive, you can even look in the direction of metallic papers that are more expensive, but give you the option of working on larger models with a different kind of finish.
Also, the paper needs to be absolutely perfect, when cut. If the paper is not cut perfectly, you will run into trouble almost instantly, trying to make the edges meet and getting the right shapes on the folds. Whether using square, rectangular or round pieces of paper, you need to ensure that they are absolutely perfect, especially if you happen to be making that paper yourself.
The standard measurements of a piece of Japanese Origami paper are 17.5 x 14.5 cm, in the case of rectangles, while a square piece of paper will be 12 x 12 cm. Also, you will find that traditionally, Japanese Origami paper is always coloured on one side, with the other side being plain white.
Types of Origami Paper
Origami paper, especially the kind from Japan, is the most sought after variety and if you are looking for the most commonly used variety, try Kami, also known as koi paper. This thin paper is extremely easy to fold and is also amongst the cheapest varieties that you can find anywhere. These papers are known for their colour gradation, which is usually from red to blue, however, you can also find them in some spectacular flower and crane patterns with gold foil to add more class.
Origamido is a hand-made paper that isn't really Japanese, but is purpose-made for Origami. Created by Michael Lafosse after plenty of years of research and practice, Origamido is all about finding the perfect balance between the thickness of the paper, its flexibility and its strength. Effectively, Origamido is considered to be the best kind of Origami paper that you can find today.
If you are looking for something flashy, then take a peek at the paper-backed foil variety which is considered the most efficient variety when it comes to retaining creases. This form of paper is also known as Japanese foil, or in most cases, just plain "foil". The difference between regular paper and this variety is that there is a thin piece of foil attached to an extremely thin sheet of paper. This not only helps add strength to a thinner-than-normal sheet of paper, it also helps the paper retain folds and shapes without tearing.
There are plenty of colours in this variety of paper but if you are looking for something special, then go for the ones with a silver or gold foil at the back.
Finally, you have Washi, which is also one of the most popular formats of Origami paper. This hand-made paper is also quite expensive and despite being thicker than regular Origami paper, is considered ideal due to its softness. The paper is made of longer fibres and, therefore, is not very good when it comes to holding folds. However, what you will find is that the paper comes with a lot of decorative items that are a part of its structure, like leaves, grass, seeds, etc.
As a result, Washi is quite popular but isn't nearly as common, in usage, as Kami. There are other forms of Origami paper, like Chiyogami, which also are quite popular and if you really want, you can always make your own paper for your own work. Either ways, you are going to love the colours, textures and styles of Origami paper available out there because this is something that adds beauty and value to the folds you put onto paper!