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Where to Get Origami Paper

Sources for Cheap Origami Paper and Free Origami Paper


Easter Origami Picture Frame
© Dana Hinders

Although origami paper purchased at your local craft store is certainly the most obvious choice for your paper folding projects, it's not the only option. By thinking creatively about where to get origami paper, you open up a new world of possibilities for unique origami designs.

Scrapbook Paper as Cheap Origami Paper

Scrapbook paper is great for origami because it comes in many different patterns and colors. However, you will need to pay close attention to the thickness of the paper when choosing scrapbook paper for your origami projects. Some patterned scrapbook paper, such as paper made by the popular manufacturer BasicGrey, is actually closer to cardstock weight and will thus be hard to fold neatly. Size is another consideration is well. Even if paper is advertised as being 12 inches by 12 inches square, it may be slightly larger on one side. This doesn't make a difference when you're scrapbooking, but it can be a problem when you're folding origami projects that require your paper to be a perfect square. Measure your paper and trim if necessary before beginning your project.

Construction Paper

Inexpensive construction paper, such as the packages you can find at a dollar store in the children's craft section, makes for cheap origami paper to practice your folding with. It is especially helpful for projects when you want your paper to be the same color on both sides.

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is good for origami if you need paper that is a special size. Look for quality wrapping paper, such as the paper sold at Hallmark gift stores. The paper should have a grid pattern lightly printed on the back side that you can use to help measure the precise dimensions you need for your project.

Tin Foil

Can't find any metallic origami paper, but find yourself dying to make a shiny silver origami star? Try folding your model from tin foil instead. This is a cheap material to work with, although it does require some patience to learn how to fold. Practice on regular paper beforehand, since the foil will amplify the appearance of even the smallest mistakes.

Paper Grocery Bags as Free Origami Paper

If you ever forget your reusable shopping bags, always ask for paper sacks at the grocery store. Brown paper bags are great for the wet folding technique pioneered by Akira Yoshizawa. They are also great for decorating with acrylic paints, markers, crayons, or watercolors in order to further customize your origami creations.

Children's Artwork

If you're a parent, you've probably found yourself wondering what you should do with all of the artwork your kids bring home from school. Save the best pieces for a scrapbook, then use the rest to practice origami. Grandpa and grandma would love to receive origami kusudama flowers folded from your child's kindergarten finger paintings.


Outdated maps can be good sources of material for origami projects because they have a very subtle pattern that won't overpower the beauty of the finished design. Why not fold maps into tiny boxes to use to organize all of the odds and ends in your office? Old maps can also be folded into picture frames for a fun way to display memories of your past travels.

Book Pages

With the rise in popularity of ebooks, many people find themselves wondering what to do with their unwanted print books. Why not use them to make origami? The pages of a dictionary, or even an unwanted cookbook, can be turned into cute origami hearts or other origami medallions for the front of a handmade greeting card.

Paper Party Napkins or Tissue Paper

The next time you plan a party, save some napkins or tissue paper to use in your origami project. The translucent nature of this material opens up some fun origami possibilities. For example, you could make an origami wreath from tissue paper that would double as a beautiful sun catcher when hung from the window in your kitchen.

Packaging Materials

Obviously, not all of your trash is going to be suitable for origami. However, many of the candy wrappers, potato chip bags, soup can labels, and snack boxes you throw away can be given a new life as origami supplies. Trash Origami discusses this concept in greater detail and includes several fascinating origami projects made with recycled materials.

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