Origami Art Tools: What should you use? 

Contrary to common belief, there is quite a bit more to Origami than meets the eye. When one thinks of Origami, the first things to come to mind may be Japan, Origami cranes, and simply, folding paper to create a design. Surprisingly, there are many different types of paper and material objects available when creating Origami art. There are many different options. It is not only important to choose what is best for your individual project but also what you prefer. 

Overall, it is possible and completely acceptable to use virtually any flat piece of material that easily holds a crease to create Origami. That said, however, “Kami” is the most common type of paper used. It is lighter than copy paper and is the recommended type of paper because it can be used for a wider range of projects and is quite common when looking to buy materials. Kami paper is usually colored or patterned on one side and white on the other. However, this is not true for the entirety of Kami paper. One should choose whatever they deem best for their individual project. 

‘Washi” paper is another type of paper one might choose to complete a project. This paper is a bit thicker and sturdier since it is made from wood pulp. It will be a bit more on the expensive side but will also be tougher than regular Kami paper. Washi paper is usually used in Japan when creating Origami art. 


Although it may sound silly, it is also quite common to use paper money, the American Dollar having the best consistency and weight, to create Origami projects. From paper money, it is easy to create crisp folds as well as having an unusual pattern to go with your design! It is also quite practical since although one may not have Kami or Washi paper on hand, paper money is usually easy to come by and is inexpensive! 
There are also several different types of everyday objects you can use to help you create Origami. It wouldn’t seem like it, but other than your fingers and a flat, solid surface to fold on, there are many options! 

Usually, of course, folds are made with your fingers, and although this is a completely acceptable way to work on Origami projects, you can also turn to the help of a bone folder. This could be used if one wanted to create an emphasis on very, very crisp folds. 


Furthermore, a few more optional tools are possibly a paper clip when you are struggling to hold down or confine specific pieces of the paper. This can also come in handy when practicing different folding techniques. You can use a paper clip to hold one part of the paper down or away from where you are currently working, to make more space for your practice. 


Lastly, when working with small or tiny folds that may feel cumbersome with your fingers, you could use tweezers. With tweezers, you can grab the paper more easily as well as make the tiny folds easily while still using precision. 

*Tip: You may also find ruler, or hairspray useful. A ruler can be used to make more exact folds, or sketchi4 in lines. Hairspray may be useful to keep the paper gi dso the form and folds hold better. 


Basic Folds: Understanding the Fundamentals 

When first beginning Origami, the overall art itself may seem overwhelming and impossible, as a whole, to master. Many people look at an Origami paper crane, frog or rose and see it as one complex, confusing piece of paper. However, if we began to change that mindset a bit and look at it instead as a slow, step-by-step process, broken down into a series of folds and creases, it becomes much easier to comprehend. It is important and vital to begin here, with the basics. 

Mountain Fold Valley Fold 

The first important fold to note is the ‘Valley Fold,” or “Mountain Fold.” This fold is quite simple to understand and complete. With your square Origami paper, simply imagine your square in two or three equal sections. Imagine two or three, individual lines, running vertically from top to bottom and dividing the paper equally into smaller squares. The only difference between the two folds is that “Mountain Fold” refers to folding the Origami paper in a downwardmotion, like you would to create a table tent. The ‘Valley Fold” refers to the process of folding that paper in a backward motion, or opposite of a table tent. 

•Tip: To make it easier to comprehend, instead of imagining the lines to make the fold, you can instead sketch them onto the paper, lightly, with a pencil. This way, it will be easier to practice more crisper, cleaner folds. 

Our second basic fold in our fundamental understanding is the “Pleat Fold.” When attempting to make this fold, imagine, again, at least two lines (for beginning pieces, two will be most common). These two lines are located in the center of the paper, and instead of diving the paper into equal sections, it instead, creates one small section with to large sections on the outside. 

*Tip: To more easily understand thisfold, think of it like an accordion. 

Tips provided by Karin from Mojacar Estates