Using U.S. currency to fashion Origami models is wonderful due to the paper's thinness, tensile strength, pleasing texture, and ability to provide sharp creases.

However, the small size of the bills and the fact that you cannot order larger blank sheets (for fairly obvious reasons) prohibits folding larger/more intricate models.

Can someone suggest an alternative "paper" (that is to say, not foil) material that is reasonably priced, available to order in something smaller than a huge press roll, and shares the aforementioned qualities? (Yes, some kinds of parchment come close but, invariably, those I try are too thick and/or provide less-than-satisfactory creases. And I'm not too keen on the watermarks!)

  • I use all kind of paper for origami I know it's not right but I don't care
    – Elsa Wood
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 15:16

2 Answers 2


Since US currency is a mixture of both 25% linen and 75% cotton blended together, you might need to look for high quality stationary or look into making your own.

The US Department of Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing sells uncut sheets of currency that you can cut yourself or use for larger projects.

The US Department of Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing also sells shredded currency which you could technically try and use to make paper yourself; the Department used to make stationary out of the shredded currency but stopped due to low customer demand.

I've also handled some types of washi paper and it felt similar to US currency (at least to me)

Other information:
  • 1
    One of the links for shredded currency is now dead. However, I found a replacement link that informs users how to send a mail request for shredded US currency for art projects/commercial products: moneyfactory.gov/services/shreddedcurrency.html
    – Wimateeka
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 18:49
  • 1
    The shredded currency link in the comment I left on Aug 20, 2020 is out of date and I have updated the shredded currency link in the answer.
    – Wimateeka
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 11:53

I don't think any such thing exists; the two closest alternatives I can think of are both long out of manufacture (Eaton's Corrasable bond, and Crane's "Old Money"). Old Money would also have been too thick, but Crane took advantage of being the manufacturer of US currency paper by creating a 100% cotton bond paper that was 30% recycled currency. (Similarly, their "Denim Blues" recycled cotton scraps they got from Levi's, and is also discontinued).

Tracing paper is thin and strong enough, but holds creases too well and makes it very difficult to reverse them cleanly. Baking parchment (which you can find in food storage sections of stores, next to the aluminum foil and plastic wrap) has a similar issue, but is a little easier to work with, and in fact one youtube video demonstrates making a flasher with it.

The best alternatives I've found for ready-made papers to fold with that are thin and strong and take a crease well and of a size to allow for more complex models are the usual hard-to-source candidates, such as thin kraft paper. The origami-shop.com website has a good (expensive) selection of the papers folders prize in sizes larger than the usual 6"x6" kami that frustrates us so.

There is, of course, the option of DIY tissue foil (i.e., laminating foil with tissue paper and spray adhesive), and sizing paper with methyl cellulose but those never appealed to me, either.

See also: What should I look for in a paper for a complex origami model?

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