Origami is a traditional Japanese art form that still remains hugely popular today. The term origami derives from the Japanese terms ori (folding) and kami (paper) and the earliest record of a folded paper gift was referenced in a short poem way back in 1680 by Ihara Saikaku. Although a piece of origami begins life as a flat square piece of paper, through various folding and sculpting techniques the paper can be transformed into a beautiful piece of art. It is also said that regular practice of the art form can be carried out as a form of hand exercise and is a great form of recovery for those who have had recent surgery on their hands or sustained injury. Origami can help people regain movement and control in their hands, improve manual dexterity and build up the muscle. Origami can also help to reduce stress and anxiety and aside from the surprising health benefits, origami is also a lot of fun! If you want to learn more about origami paper folding and the history of the traditional Japanese art, read our informative blog post which helps you on your way to creating your first origami paper project. If you are new to the art of origami, it can be difficult to know which origami paper is most suitable for the sculptures you wish to create. When you are choosing origami for your project, there are three keys things to keep in mind: The type of origami paper. There are many different types of origami paper available online, all with different benefits and purposes which create a beautifully diverse range of origami projects. It’s important to purchase paper which folds easily, can retain its shape and suits the final aesthetic appearance of your finished design. The most popular type of origami paper is washi paper. Washi paper is a superior quality range of Japanese origami paper. The name washi directly translates as wa meaning Japanese and shi which mean paper. Traditionally, washi paper is handmade using very long soft fibres from the bark of the Gampi tree and a variety of shrubs found in Japan. More recently, washi paper can also be made from organic materials such as bamboo, rice and wheat. The soft fibres used in washi means the paper can be folded and manipulated easily and once folded, the paper retains its shape. The size of your origami paper. Before you begin folding and sculpting, you need to have an idea how big or small you want your final sculpture to be. As a general rule of thumb, smaller pieces of paper create more detailed and delicate final pieces but usually require a meticulous level of skill. A bigger piece of origami paper will give you a bit more room to play with and helps you create big, bold and impressive designs. If you are feeling experimental, you don’t always have to opt for the traditional square piece of origami paper either. There are also triangular and circular shaped origami paper available online which provides a completely different finish and encourages you to employ different folding techniques to achieve your desired sculpture. The colour and design of your origami paper. The great thing about origami paper is the endless possibilities in colour and design. With everything from bright and bold pattern work to subtle pastel shades, there is a huge selection of colour combinations you can purchase to enhance the overall design of your origami sculpture. You can also purchase origami paper which has a different colour on the back and front of the paper. A great choice for the more advanced paper folder, double sided origami paper is designed for more intricate projects which benefit from a layered colour effect. It’s important to keep in mind that precise folding is an absolute must when using dual colour origami paper as any misalignments are highlighted by the strong contrasting colours. If you would like further inspiration for your next origami project, our instructions and inspirational ideas for origami is a valuable resource for the avid paper folder. From step-by-step instructions to online forums and communities, these resources will assist you along every step of your paper folding journey. We offer a range of decorative Japanese origami paper, including an extensive selection of the finest quality washi paper which is suitable for beginners and advanced origami enthusiasts to flex their fingers and get folding! We would love to see the beautiful designs you have been creating at home, from the bold to the intricate, share your love of origami on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and show off your paper folding skills.