Basic Tools Needed for Origami – Stationery and Equipment

With nothing but a mere sheet of paper and your hands, you can bring intricate sculptures and designs to life. But behind this novice outlook of origami, the expert origamist uses specialized supplies and equipment that elevate the aesthetics and design of their origami models. The paper and tools listed before are meant to assist you in the best way possible, regardless of your skill level.

Origami Paper


Most origami models can be folded from almost any type of paper. However, certain designs need special materials. This is mostly because a certain thickness is needed to achieve the intricate folds.

Specialist/Stan Origami papers (also known as Standard Origami paper or “Kami”

These are precut multi-colored packs of paper that are flimsy and crease well. These are ideal for beginners. They come pre-cut perfectly square so you don’t have to worry about cutting rectangular sheets of paper.

The most common sizes are :

  • Standard Size: 15cm x 15cm (approx. 5.9 inches x 5.9 inches)
  • Smaller Size: 7cm x 7cm (approx. 2.95 inches x 2.95 inches)

Other sizes are also acceptable, the most important aspect is that the paper is square.

You can get them in assorted solid colors and packs:

  • 200 sheets of bulk Paper
  • 50 Colors Basic Paper
  • 50 Colors Paper
  • 500 Sheet Bulk Paper
  • 500 Sheets 4” Vibrant Colors Paper
  • 500 Sheets of Rainbow Colors Paper
  • 1000 sheets of origami paper
  • 35 Color Assorted Origami Paper
  • 60 Color Origami Paper
  • 60 Colors Basic Origami Paper
  • Basic Variety Origami Pack
  • Baby Pink Single Color Premium Origami Paper
  • Blue Assortment Origami Paper
  • Blue Single Color Premium Origami Paper
  • Chartreuse Single Color Premium Origami Paper
  • Brown Single Color Premium Origami Paper

Duo paper (Different colors on each side)

This is a great material for Origami as it gives alternate colors to finished models. As with specialist origami paper, they come in different sizes and dimensions. Most of them are marketed towards craft projects and not specifically towards origami, so don’t feel hesitant if you don’t see origami for the intended use on the packaging.

Textured and Patterned Paper

These are excellent for when you want a realistic texture or pattern. For example, folding an elephant or a snake with a texture or patterned paper respectively would give an oomph of realism.

Metallic, foil, and opaque Paper

These materials are extremely difficult to work with and would recommend that beginners just avoid them unless you enjoy frustration. They are difficult to crease and reverse creases can split or crack. There is a hack to make this easier, however(more on this later).

  • Silver foil assorted pack
  • Gold Foil origami paper

Washi Paper

Washi paper is a traditional handmade paper used mostly by old-school origami artists. You can find them in specialist shops. The creases are lighter and the final models have a very soft and blunt look to them. Great if you want a really traditional look for your models.

Household Materials

Copy paper, newspaper, gift wrap, greeting cards, and even magazines can be used to for folding origami models. While you will not get the same end result as you would with high-quality origami paper, it’s a great start for someone dipping their toes into the craft without investing in fancy paper.



There are plenty of origami models that can be made with nothing more than a pair of hands and paper. However, if you want to become a serious origami artist, you will need a few sets of tools to make life easy.


Guillotines will become very useful if you are constantly practicing origami. You will come across some designs that require rectangular sheets of paper and multiple sizes for one model. With a guillotine, you can buy a single-size stack of paper in bulk and trim them down in batches to your desired dimensions rather than buying and storing random sizes of paper. This also becomes exceptionally useful if you’re teaching origami to a class of kids and don’t want them to use scissors.

Cutting Blade and Mat

top down shot of a box cutter, self-healing cutting mat, metal ruler, laid out on work table

A cutting knife is extremely useful. The sharp blade makes slicing through any thickness of paper like a hot knife cutting through butter. Always use a metal ruler when using a cutting knife as well as a self-healing cutting mat. This will ensure no slipping as well as prolong the sharpness of the blade.

Spray Adhesives

As mentioned earlier, foils and metallic paper are terrible to work with. But they do give a very aesthetic finish to your models. One way of making these materials easier to work with is by mounting them back to back with a more easy-to-work-with material. This is where a spray adhesive comes very much in handy.

Paper Folding Tool (Bone Folder)

You can pretty much get away with using your fingers to fold for a long time. As you get into more complex designs though, a bone folder really comes in handy. It gives you that precision that you simply cannot get by using your fingers alone.


From specialist origami tools that simplify the folding process to textured papers that add a touch of realism, each element plays a role in turning a simple piece of paper into a work of art.

Remember, in the beginning, you can get away with pretty much anything. But as you progress, your choice of paper starts to matter a lot more. To the point where complex designs can turn meditative art into a frustrating nightmare, simply due to a lack of the right tools and materials.