Origami essentials

About origami techniques
Majority of books that teach origami techniques start with the basic description of the methods and then show their usage for construction of paper models. The guidelines include simple diagrams exhibiting basic folds like squash folds, sinks, reverse folds, pleats, mountain folds and valley. There are standard names for the bases used in creation of several different paper models, for example the board base is considered an intermediate stage during the construction of a paper flapping bird. Some of the other commonly used bases are the frog base, the water bomb base, the fish base and the square base.

About origami paper
When creating folding art works using the origami techniques, you can use any flat material for folding, the only prerequisite is that it should be able to hold a crease.

Also commonly referred to as ‘kami’ in Japanese language, origami paper can be purchased in prepackaged squares of different sizes. They vary between 1 inch (2.5 cm) to 10 inches (25 cm) and sometimes even more. The paper is usually colored on either of its sides, with the other side being white. Nevertheless, you can even buy patterned and dual-colored papers for creating attractive colorful paper models. The weight of origami paper is lesser than the regular copy writing paper.

You can create simple folds like a water bomb and a crane using the regular copy paper (weighing 70 to 90 gsm). Heavyweight papers of around 100 gsm can be wet-folded to give them the desired shape. This technique helps in creation of well-rounded paper models as the paper returns back to its sturdiness and rigidity after getting dry. Many origami artists even employ foil backed paper having a thin sheet of foil glued to a thin paper.

When it comes to the traditional origami art of Japan, it’s the Washi paper that is used by them. This paper is tougher than normal paper. Washi paper is actively used in various Japanese conventional arts. It is made using fibers obtained from gampi tree’s bark, paper mulberry or mitsumata shrub. Many artisans even use wheat, rice, hemp and bamboo for creating this paper.

Quite interestingly, there are many paper folding or origami experts who actively use paper currency of various countries for creating origami art works. These are referred to as money origami, orikane or dollar origami!

Tools used
Origami is usually created using a flat surface, but you can even do it in the air without any tools. Although tools aren’t necessary for paper folding, you can take help of few of them like bone folders, paper clips, tweezers, a ballpoint embosser and a ruler for creation of complex paper models.