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What paper should I use to fold a particular model?
It may be the most asked question in origami, yet no one has a complete and total answer to it. Truth be told, we will not attempt to determine a perfect solution to this question. Instead, we will try to build a foundation of knowledge, adding a few bricks based on our common experience and a few more based on the help of some colleagues.
In order to review a sheet of paper, one must first decide what the properties of paper are. Then, through hands-on experience, one can decide their value or grade, from low to high (0 to 10). This grade is not a measure of good or bad as different models require different qualities.
Moreover, a single grade is not enough. There is little point to reviewing Elephant Hide as applied to Miniature Unit Origami, or Foil to a wet fold. One should try to determine what a paper is good for, to be tessellated, or to fold insect models, for example. Only then can the paper be judged. There is no bad paper; there is only the wrong model for the paper.
Every complex model starts with a valley fold, so we'll start there.
- Friction - for the use of Modular origami.
- Transparency - for back-light Tessellations. This is an unvalued parameter.
This is of course an open list; suggestions for additions are more than welcome.
To value a paper in an origami sense, you must fold it. For this project, each paper was examined by two folders. We each folded the same six models out of the following Origami categories:
- Traditional - animals, mostly but not only - it includes all one-sheet, classical 2-D models. The most traditional model is the crane. of course, folded from a 15X15 cm square.
- Action model - There are three main action moves: a pull, a push, and flexing the paper. The following three models were selected to test for each of these action moves:
- Barking Dog by Gadi Vishne . This is a great model for testing the push mechanism, which makes the dog bark.
- Flapping Bird (traditional): We will examine the pull factor of the paper by flapping the wings.
- Jumping Frog (traditional): This model will be used to check the flex factor of the paper, measured with the distance the frog jumps.
- Modular/Unit Origami - all models that are based on tabs and pockets, inserts and locks, and need more than one sheet to be created. Two models were chosen:
- PowerPuff modular, by Ilan Garibi . made from thirty 15X15 cm units.
- Icarus Cube by Dave Mitchell . made from six 5x5 cm units.
- Tessellation - one sheet, repeated pattern. Two models were chosen:
- Pineapple tessellation. by Ilan Garibi . from a 70X70 cm paper, for complex folding and multiple layers.
- Mystery tessellation. by Ilan Garibi . from a 70X70 cm paper, for transparency and surface behavior.
- Complex - insect, ancient dragons, 100 plus stages of folds, entry paper size - 25X25 cm. This model must utilize multiple layer folds and some sinks. We have chosen Satoshi Kamiya's Pegasus folded from two sizes of paper - 25X25 cm (the recommended size) and 35X35 cm.
- 3D models and Wet Folding - wet folded or not, these include intermediate to complex models which have full body and can stand on their feet. We have chosen a Fox Terrier by Francisco Javier Caboblanco (20X20 cm) and Eric Joisel's Rat.
This list is neither final nor closed. There are many additional subcategories that could be added to this list of origami categories, like flowers, jewelry, toys and more. We will allow ourselves to deviate from the proposed list according to the paper's specific needs and characteristics. When relevant to a specific paper type, we will supplement our review with models from all relevant categories, addressing them in the "What is it good for" section.
Made in Germany, by Zanders . it may be crowned as the King of Paper. We tried to get some information about the ingredients of EH and its manufacturing process, but this is privileged information and would not be shared by the manufacture. Its Data Sheet says “Elephant hide is a rugged bookbinding paper with a parchment grain which can be used as a book covering paper or for making certificates. It is impregnated and therefore scratch and abrasion resistant, dirt repellent, can be wiped clean (wet-strength paper), has limited expansion and shrinkage and is not sensitive to acid. In addition, it is tear resistant and wrinkle and fold resistant as well as color-fast and lightfast.” What more could we ask for? It is FSC certified, so you are helping to save forests by buying it. More than that, each sheet is unique as no two sheets are alike.When this paper was discovered by paperfolders, it became very popular among them. Here are some reasons why:
- Thickness - today EH comes in two weights, 110 GSM and 190 GSM. This review will focus on the 110 GSM only. Although it is a heavy paper (we regard 100 GSM as the border line), it is still easy to fold and handle.
- Sizes - once again, only two options here: 700X1000mm, and A4. There is no square option, since it is not origami-related paper. Of course, one can cut any size and shape from 700X1000, but it is tedious to prepare 60 identical units for a modular model.
- Colors - The palette is very limited - only seven colors are listed on the site of the manufacture today (15 Nov 2010): White, high White, Ivory, light Brown, light Grey, Charcoal, and Black. On Modulor there are ten colors, but out of these ten, the two most colorful ones (Dark Blue and Dark Green) are available only at A4 size. In the past there used to be larger variety of colors, and the author has a personal stock of 14 shades. Among them are red and blue which are no longer produced. It doesn't look like these colors will come back in the future. After checking with the manufacture, there is no plan to widen color options, and they are unaware if any stock of the obsolete colors is currently being held by official distributors. If one would like to place a special order, it can be done in any color, size and weight required, with a minimum order of 5 tons (equal to 64,935 sheets of 700X1000 or 727,273 of A4).
- Modulor (Europe, Germany) has a nice site with an easy interface.
- You can get six colors at Kim's Crane 's (USA) internet shop, with an eight sheet limit per order.
- Paper Jade also sells the same 6 colors.
- You can find EH in Singapore at Fancy Paper. but go to the warehouse to get 700X1000 size. It is located at No. 120 Genting Lane, Singapore 349571, Tel. 6748 1268.
- In the UK, Shepherds also sells EH.
- lastly, Origami-Shop has it for Europe or for the USA.
- Traditional - The Crane from a 15X15 cm square was fun to fold. The weight of the paper requires accurate folding, otherwise the beak will not be as sharp as it should be.
- Barking Dog. by Gadi Vishne 15cm. This paper gave me the best result I (Gadi) ever got with this model. I refold it several times, gave it to my 4 years kid, and it still moves very easily. The only complaint against this paper is the colors. With this "both sides same color" paper, I had to paint the paper to get different color for the nose.
- PowerPuff modular, by Ilan Garibi . made from 30 14X14 cm units - having to cut these sheets by hand was a major drawback. I (Ilan) cut it to 14X14 to fit five units in the 70 cm length of the sheet. Folding 30 units with such heavy paper required very strong finger pressure, but the final result is superb. Friction is enough and the bending resistance is excellent, especially with the puffing part of the PowerPuff unit. The final model is very stable and strong. Note that this model's lock is not based on friction but on pressure.
- Icarus Cube by Dave Mitchell made from six 5x5 cm units that (Gadi ) folded a few weeks ago. For this model, the paper is very smooth. The cube breaks into pieces too easily. A modular folded from this paper, must have a good lock between the units or a very tight pocket.
- 35X35 cm - For pre-creasing, this paper was excellent; the final steps hardly folded. The final model was so wide that it couldn’t stand on three legs as it should. I (Gadi ) put the poor Pegasus into a clamp for a night and closed it very tight. This paper is not able to be torn! After that night it could stand on three legs. Although the folds hold very well and the final model looks nice, I strongly recommend using thinner paper for complex models.
- 45X45 cm - being inexperienced with complex models, I (Ilan ) happily choose the bigger size. Even so, it was a fight! The paper is too thick for this model, even at a size almost double than recommended. I could not fold the last steps, finalize the small details, or even bend the front leg, as done in step 92. The body turned out fat, maybe too fat, and some glue was needed to hold it together. Nevertheless, the final result is beautiful. The pegasus stands tall, wings held up high, in a majestic pose.
What is it good for? For traditional use, it seems almost blasphemous. For tessellations it is no less than perfect, as is also the case for 3D models, wet folded or not. With complex models, you should not consider EH your first choice, but if you do, prepare for a struggle, with the possibility of an amazing end result. If you have the time and patience to hand cut your paper for Modular Origami, EH is great, being very strong and stable, but perhaps not for models that connect using friction! This paper is the best for action models; it is strong, holds creases nicely, and is not going to tear even in the hands of small children (as tested by Gadi’s four-year-old boy).
Beginner should not use this paper; it is too heavy.
Browsing through the Flickr search engine for EH images, the vast majority (90%) are tessellations. The other 10% are masks and 3D animals, mostly high to low intermediate level models (the most common one being, no surprise, an elephant!). Of the 749 images, there were less than ten images of complex models.
Bottom line - this paper is a must buy and a unique experience. Full satisfaction guarantee!