Origami paper comes in many grades, types, and sizes. They are usually square in shape, though some are circular or rectangular. The most common type is colored on one side and white on the bottom size. This type of paper can be found in office supply stores, arts & crafts stores, and on the internet. Click here to see a list of affordable origami paper.
Duo paper has one color on the top, and another color on the bottom. This type of paper is great for models where both sides of the paper will be visible, for example the strawberry (by Rae Cooker). Duo paper is a little more rare but can be easily purchased from OrigamiUSA and other online stores. Click here to see a list of double sided origami paper.
Foil paper looks like aluminum foil on one side and white on the bottom side. This paper is a little more difficult to fold because, once folded, it will make a crease mark. In other words, there’s no room for mistakes with this type of paper. Foil paper can be found in online stores and OrigamiUSA. Click here to see a list of foil paper.
Washi and chiyogami paper
: Washi simply means "Japanese paper". Washi is more textured and softer than ordinary office paper. There are lots of different kinds of washi
made from different plant fibers. Chiyogami is a kind of washi with traditional Japanese imagery imprinted on it. In the old days, washi and chiyogami were handmade, but in modern times, they are mostly machine made. Both can be bought in specialty origami stores such as PaperJade and Kim’s Crane. Click here to see a list of chiyogami paper
Really big paper: The biggest origami paper we found was from Paper Jade (31” x 22”). If you need even bigger paper, try buying a roll of wrapping paper and cutting it to size with a cutting tool. When it comes to gift wrap paper, your choices expand tremendously. You can even get holographic paper!
Really small paper: are great for making origami models for greeting cards and origami jewelry. See this tiny flapping bird; talk about a challenge! Click here to see a stack of (1” x 1”) mini origami paper.
Circular Origami Paper
There are very few sources of circular origami paper because there are relatively few diagrams starting with a circle. However, circular paper is often used in kirigami. You can buy circular origami paper from amazon.com
Animal print origami paper: for kids, it's sometimes nice to use origami paper with animal prints on it. Be warned though: sometimes the animal patterns look great on a flat sheet of paper, but they don't match up properly when folded. Still... kids are imaginative and would appreciate them. Click here to see animal prints origami paper.
Make Your Own Paper: Making your own paper can be fun and add value to your folding experience. You can make paper with a variety of different plant fibers & flowers and you can add natural or synthetic dyes. Some origami models look great with textured hand made paper. Click here to see paper making books and supplies.
Paper made from Animal Droppings: this is a specialty item, read more here.
Things to Consider
One of the reasons why origami is so popular is because the only thing you need is paper. And it really doesn't matter what kind of paper you use, so it can be a very affordable hobby and pastime. Children have been making origami hats and boats with newspaper since the time of our grandmothers. You can also use glossy paper from magazines or recycled paper from old advertisements.
But as your craft progresses, you will soon find newspaper to be lacking. Here people often turn to "origami paper". This paper is colored on one side and white on the back side. It is commercially available in packs, it is fairly cheap, and the best of all, it comes in pre-cut squares. Convenience and great color, all for a few dollars.
Another popular type of paper is "office paper" or "photocopy paper". These also come in various colors though they often come in packs of 500 and they are not square. Some photocopy centers may sell the paper as individual sheets. Here, you still need a method of cutting the paper to the right size and shape.
As your craft progresses to complex models or to wet folding, regular origami paper just isn't good enough and forget about newspaper! For more advanced origami models, your paper has to withstand multiple folds/unfolds. It should have tensile strength so it does not rip easily. Sometimes you wish for a thicker paper so your model has volume and smooth curves. A quick survey of origami enthusiasts from the Origami newsgroup indicates that these features are important for serious paper folders:
1. Price, availability, convenience of purchase.
2. Colors available.
3. Size & shape available.
4. Thickness - in GSM (g/m2).
5. Texture - smooth, rough, alive, skin like, shiny.
6. Strength - how may repeated folds before it breaks.
7. Tensile strength - how stretchy is it?
8. Memory - how good it remembers a fold.
9. Forgiveness - the ability to "erase" a fold line, or to reverse it.
10. Aging - how well can the model retain its freshness: days, weeks, months?