I would like to create some sculptures using papercraft & kirigami techniques, however I am looking for an alternative (stronger) material to paper with some/all of the following properties:

  • Easily cut
  • Flexible/foldable
  • Stronger/more durable than paper
  • Heat resistant (in the case of lampshade designs)

All comments/suggestions are welcome!

  • 1
    It's possible that you could treat your materials with something as you work or once it is completed.
    – JTL
    May 14 '16 at 16:29
  • Hi @JTL If you're referring to fire retardant spray that is an option I guess! My hope is that I'll be able to sell my designs eventually, so I'm a little worried about any lighting causing fires! But I'm basically curious as to how I can apply papercraft skills to strong, saleable material
    – johnp
    May 14 '16 at 16:34
  • 2
    I don't claim to be knowledgeable about this, that just seemed like a possible avenue worth exploring. It might be used in combination with using something other than standard paper. I would tend to agree with you that trusting the buyer to use LED bulbs might not be a great idea, though there are people out there selling lampshades that might catch fire if used with an incandescent bulb
    – JTL
    May 14 '16 at 16:43

One strong contender is tyvek.

It can be cut like paper, but is much tougher, water resistant, and has a class A flammability rating, according to Wikipedia. The problem is keeping it folded.

The kirigami-made-of-tyvek links I'm finding are scientific papers that mention bonding the tyvek to a heat-shrink plastic (presumably on the valley fold side of each fold), and then baking.


  • Thanks, it sounds very promising :) Quick searches suggest that it's not available from Amazon.co.uk so I'm guessing it's an American brand. No worries either way, hopefully there's an alternative on this side of the pond also!
    – johnp
    May 14 '16 at 17:49
  • Hopefully there's a way around that...I wonder if it would stick with my Herma glue dispenser...
    – johnp
    May 14 '16 at 17:56
  • 1
    It's my understanding that tyvek and other similar products tend to be flexible rather than stiff, and that they don't transmit much light.
    – JTL
    May 14 '16 at 17:57
  • That's a very good point! I should have mentioned that in the question!
    – johnp
    May 14 '16 at 17:58
  • 1
    @johnp amazon.co.uk listing for tyvek A4 sheets.
    – inkista
    May 14 '16 at 18:04

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