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Tips for Working With Printable Origami Papers

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origami bird

This origami bird was folded with printable Chiyogami origami paper from Canon Creative Park's website.

Dana Hinders

Origami remains a popular hobby among people of all ages because it requires next to nothing in the way of supplies. If you have a sheet of paper, you can create an origami project! However, having access to paper in many different colors and designs gives you a wider array of creative options for your folding efforts. This is where printable origami paper becomes helpful.

Cost vs. Convenience

Is printing your own origami paper cheaper than purchasing Chiyogami paper or other specialty origami paper at a craft store? The answer to this question isn't as simple as you'd think, since you need to consider the cost of ink for your particular printer as well as the specific brands of paper you're using. Bargain shopping can also affect the outcome of cost comparisons, since many craft stores do offer regular sales on origami supplies.

In most cases, the primary reason for printing your own origami paper is going to be convenience. If you're anxious to try a new project, you can print out the exact amount of paper you need with just a few clicks of your mouse. There's no worry about driving to the store and having the pattern you like be out of stock. If you make a mistake in the project, you can just print off another sheet of your favorite pattern and try folding it again.

Websites Offering Printable Origami Paper

Printable origami paper is available on several different websites. For example, Canon Creative Park features a collection of 180 different Chiyogami paper designs. The Origami Forum has a free collection of 24 papers that you can download as one large file.

Many of the websites offering free digital scrapbooking paper, such as About.com Scrapbooking have downloads that may be suitable for your origami projects. These downloads tend to be limited time only offers, however. If you see a design you like, save it to your computer immediately.

As you're looking for printable origami paper, keep in mind that there is a difference between printable paper and printable instructions. Printable instructions are designs for folding one specific model, typically an animal, paper airplane, or other kid-friendly project. Printable papers are just a decorative pattern that can be used to make whatever you wish.

Printing Your Own Origami Paper

Origami paper is usually either available as a JPEG file or a PDF download. A JPEG file can be used with any type of image editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements. A PDF file requires the free Adobe Reader software to view, although this should be preinstalled on most computers.

When printing your origami paper, it's a good idea to use the "high" quality setting in order to make sure your colors are as true to life as possible. If you notice a problem with a specific aspect of the paper design, such as flowers that appear slightly purple instead of red, you might be running low on color ink in your printer.

If your printer has a "borderless" setting that is used for printing photos, this is the best choice for working with free printable origami paper. Otherwise, you will have a thin white border around the edge of your design that may interfere with the look of your final folded origami project.

Making Square Origami Paper

When you print origami papers on your computer, your designs are going to be on a standard 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. Although there are some origami projects that require this size, most paper folding designs need a square sheet of paper. To turn your paper into a square, fold the left corner to the right side and then fold the upper right corner to the left to form a triangle. Fold the rectangular portion of the paper backwards, then unfold the paper to reveal diagonal folded lines and the horizontal fold. Cut along the horizontal fold to complete your origami square.

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