|Weight (gsm)||Sizes||Color Palette||Texture||Aging|
|35||15cm; 30cm; 48cm; 35cm; 40 by 60cm||Light brown||Smooth and a little shiny on one side||Unknown|
|Wear and Tear||Memory||Forgiveness||Tensile Strength||Bending Restistance|
|n/a||9 / 10||5 / 10||8 / 10||4 / 10|
|8 / 10||7 / 10||8 / 10||9 / 10||6 / 10||8 / 10||n/a|
Contrary to what many think, Kraft is a high end paper. In German, Kraft means “strength”. The name is actually derived from the Kraft process that converts wood into wood-pulp consisting of almost pure cellulose fibers.
Kraft has no lignin (or almost none). Low lignin is important to the resulting strength of the paper since it weakens the connections between cellulose in the fibers. It also has the tendency to oxidize, making the paper yellowish and crispy with time.
Since there are no extra materials added in the process, Kraft usually has a brownish color and a rough texture. Bleaching is possible but it weakens the paper and, for many purposes, strength is more important than beauty.
In the origami world, Kraft usually means low quality, unwanted, always waiting at the bottom of the pile. As a generic type, again, we have a problem reviewing it. I have 8 different types of Kraft paper in my stock and the variety is enormous. There are colored Kraft, white Kraft, coated Kraft, Duo Kraft, thin and thick Kraft, for various uses such as wrapping and cardboard manufacturing.
With so many options, we had to juggle between the idea of reviewing the generic Kraft, but also to evaluate one particular product which is sold as an origami paper, hence making this review more beneficial for the reader.
We chose Kraft paper from Origami-Shop. It may be the only paper that is sold as a draft or test paper. Again, this raises another problem for us - even the seller doesn’t see the aesthetic value of it. In order to do justice to the paper, we have put this bias to one side.
Texture: One side is coated with a smooth, translucent layer. The other side is striped, easily showing the grain direction. The paper is transparent, put it on your hand and you can clearly see its contour or even color. Raise it to the light and you can see how the pulp was spread on the felt drum in the machine.
The strongest impression I got was “Sharp!” It was very easy to get a very accurate result. Opening the wings requires reversing all the folds, but since they are not going exactly with or against the grain it was not a major problem.
Being so thin, the springiness value is extremely low.
The dog barks, the push mechanism worked just fine.
The Flapping Bird flapped well; the wings held up, never sagged and returned sharply into place when you let go of the tail.
The frog hardly jumped.
Oh, the temptation! Thin paper always drives me into a bit of madness and to reduce the molecule size. From a 48cm square I decided to try and make a 10×10 molecule tessellation which requires a 64×64 grid. Unlike other models, tessellations require many crease lines parallel to the grain direction. Since I always reverse my grid in both directions, it was a taxing job with this paper. Doable, of course, but to repeat it 64 times was far from relaxing. The nice effect of this paper, showing the crease lines vividly (especially lines that go against the grain, because of the strips on the other direction), was very helpful, and completing the pre-creases went well. With each square at a size of 7.5mm, the paper enabled accurate results. The collapse was done in two phases and the first one went perfectly. Then disaster struck! The second collapse phase requires some bending resistance. You need the small surfaces to stay flat and not to sag away, so that they can snap into place. This can be done easily with the outer molecules, but from the second line inward it was almost impossible. My wife urged me to give up, but I am a stubborn man, and disagreed. The final result, I must say, is mesmerizing. Although the back part is far from clean, the front is marvelous. I managed to rearrange all petals and flaps to the right position. But it was a lot of work.
I folded this only for the back light image. I just love this paper with back light!
This section should be its bread and butter, and it is.
Since complex folds are the strongest point for Kraft, I decided to try this model from the cover of the 17th Tanteidan Convention Book. Box-pleating the body went extremely well and shaping the wing tips, with many feathers, was just as easy. I managed to succeed on my first try to complete all but the talons, but not because of the paper. The paper was responsive and therefore easy to shape and fold even tiny details.
The rat was very easy to fold. All went well, and there was no problem with the many layers at the back. The final result is satisfying, but can hardly stand on its legs.
I used the colored paper. Easy to fold, easy to shape without any wet folding, due to the stiffness the color gave it.
This is a classic model, based on a box pleating technique and asks for a lot of shaping at the end. We folded it together, and both agreed that box pleating it is tedious, fighting with reversing creases (that go with the grains; against it the paper snaps backwards much easier.) Trying to fold many layers together is easy but they tend to open up. Shaping at the end was rewarding, getting all the details easily.
This is one of the most difficult papers to summarize. As a test paper it has many benefits - it`s extremely thin yet it’s strong and it’s accurate. But there are short comings - it’s difficult to reverse creases, the pattern on the bright side may make it tricky to find the creases and it’s not easy to manipulate. We felt that the better folder you are, the more you can exploit this paper, but being a test paper, it would be used by novices who may have some difficulties with it.
So here is the paradox - as an origami paper, it’s a very good for complex models, but it doesn’t have the right look! As a test paper, if this is the first time you try a model, it may be too difficult to handle.
I couldn’t find models on flickr that are made from this particular Kraft. More than 1000 resulted when I searched for the generic Kraft paper, with models from all ranges and types, mostly animals.
Bottom line: good for complex, but for the experienced folder.
as selected by Sara Adams