If I was looking at a piece of origami on display or somewhere where I cannot feel it, how could I identify the type of paper being used? I do not need specifics.

  • I do not need specifics. Do you have a list of criteria you would base this answer on? I have never done any real analysis on paper before. Another way to phrase this would be "How can I recognize types of paper?" which is a poor question by the way. I imagine there are many types of paper however are only a small subset are generally found in origami? You can fold almost any paper you would want. It is dependent on what you want it to look like I suppose. My point is I think you need to try and narrow down this question somehow. I will have to do some research before I can suggest how.
    – Matt
    May 6, 2016 at 2:40
  • I do think from your meta post that paper would be a better fit then tool-identification
    – Matt
    May 6, 2016 at 2:43
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    I think the actual best option is to ask the author of the origami.
    – SF.
    May 9, 2016 at 8:44
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    @SF, although in origami there are folders and there are designers, just as there are musicians and composers. The "author"/designer may not be the folder.
    – inkista
    May 10, 2016 at 20:09
  • @inkista: I believe both author of the design (designer), and the author of the finished piece (folder) would be able to help. It's not like the designers invent that in their heads never creating actual folded paper figurines of their designs.
    – SF.
    May 12, 2016 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


You pretty much can't, unless it's specifically listed in the description of the piece. The sheer variety of papers used worldwide, and the fact that some creators, like Michael LaFosse, make their own paper specifically for the model they're folding, means that your chances of accurately identifying the paper used is going to be very very tough, especially if you can't judge the thickness, sizing, or the fiber content by touch.

That said, the appearance of some papers is very characteristic, and if you have experience with kami, elephant hide, Canson watercolor paper, various craft papers, tissue foil, etc., some of those may be self-evident. Every origami folder tends to be intimately familiar with kami (so-called "origami paper") and can usually identify it on sight both from appearance and usage.

Characteristics of the paper that might lead to identification would be the surface texture being shiny or matte (surface sizing), fiber appearance/color, thickness/weight, and, of course, the size.

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