We’re so happy to announce that we now sell Unryu paper at Origami Paper Monster.
For origami enthusiasts unryu paper is perhaps one of the most common kinds of paper being used. Unryu paper like lokta, hanji, gampi, abaca, kozo and saa are artisan papers favored by origami artists because of their strength and beauty. Unryu like many kinds of paper used in origami are floppy to begin with. They are usually treated with methylcellulose (MC) in order to resize the paper before folding.
Paper Making History
In Japan unryu paper was originally called “cloud dragon paper” due to the long strands of kozo added to give the paper contrast and texture. Aside from origami it is also used for calligraphy, decorative uses, and as cover paper. In Japan, paper is not only used for communication or decorative purposes but has ties in religion as well.
Paper is basically a maceration of bark, cloth or plant that is formed into sheets. Paper making started in China in 105 AD. Before this time, the Chinese wrote on strips of bamboo or silk. However bamboo is quite bulky and heavy to carry around and silk even during this time was very expensive. This lead the Chinese to find a more practical medium for writing and so paper was invented in China.
Korean monks brought paper making to Japan in 610 AD. They brought manuscripts written in mulberry bark. The paper making craft spread quickly and by 806 AD paper was being made in 40 provinces around the country. During this time a guild was formed by the Emperor that employed only the finest paper makers in Japan. Today “washi” from the Japanese “wa” meaning Japan and “shi” meaning paper refers to Japanese handmade paper of any kind whether it is traditionally made or not.
How It Is Made
Unryu paper is made from the mulberry bush. Once the bark matures it is then stripped off (don’t worry it grows back). Then it is soaked in water to make it soft and pliable. It is then boiled in sea water to further soften the fibers and plant cellulose. After this process the product is bleached to make the pulp even colored. The pulp, after it has rested will undergo a coloring process. After this the pulp will be formed into sheets by a screen tray and then dried under the sun.
Unryu In Origami
Depending on the use or purpose they come in different weights, sizes and colors. There are unryu paper that have inclusions like metallic strands, glitter or petals. When holding or even looking at unryu paper it feels and looks like tissue paper however it is much stronger. This paper is usually translucent allowing light to pass through them. When folded it does not form a crisp line which is why many origami users back-coat it with MC to make folds and creases hold.
Getting Unryu Paper Ready For Folding
Because this kind of paper is usually soft, origami enthusiasts use different ways to make it origami-ready. One popular way is to back-coat two sheets of unryu paper with MC together. This will make a thicker and stronger sheet and makes the paper easier to wet fold. An easier way is to simply treat it with MC and then fold to your desired model.
Origami artists usually favor handmade paper like unryu for super-complex models. This is because once treated with MC these handmade papers are more likely to last longer and are easier to fold. Even though there are many kinds of washi many origami artists recommend unryu paper to beginners as it is easier to work with, cheaper and more readily available even in the USA and Canada.
Please visit www.origamipapermonster.com to check out our latest Unryu Paper addition. We’ve also added Mango Paper, Sugar Cane Paper, Jute Paper, Metallic Frosted Paper and Gold Thread Inclusion Paper as well!