|Weight (gsm)||Sizes||Color Palette||Texture||Aging|
|35||A4; Letter; 84.5cm by 64.4cm||White||Cockled||Many years|
|Wear and Tear||Memory||Forgiveness||Tensile Strength||Bending Restistance|
|n/a||8 / 10||5 / 10||8 to 9 / 10||5 / 10|
|8 / 10||8 / 10||7.5 / 10||8.5 / 10||6 / 10||8 / 10||n/a|
Back in the days before contacting your overseas friends was a moment away by e-mail, we had air mail. You wrote on one side of a piece of very thin paper and then folded it over itself to show the envelope side of the paper. The idea was to minimize the weight for transporting by air.
Those envelopes were usually made from Onion Skin paper, a very light weight, but strong and durable, paper. It is made with a high percentage of cotton fibers, not wood pulp. It is an almost translucent paper and crisp to the touch like the outer skins of an onion, hence the name. A light strong, thin paper is not only useful for this airborne way of communicating but also for thick books such as the bible and the complete and unabridged version of the Oxford English Dictionary.
While researching the manufacturing of Onion Skin, the secret of the crumples in the Crumpled Paper was also unraveled. From Wikipedia: "The finish of onion skin paper is usually cockled, since it was air dried while it was being made. Cockled paper has a slightly wavy, handmade feel to it, along with a mildly dimpled finish. This property means that onion skin paper often crackles while it is being handled, as the sheets do not lie flat against each other. It also prevents leaves of onion skin paper from sticking to each other or other surfaces, a common problem with very light weight papers."
We got our stock of Onion Skin paper 4 years ago in a dusty warehouse in Jerusalem, at a bargain price of 100 USD for a pack of 500 sheets. The manufacturer of this particular brand of Onion Skin is the Barcino Paper Mill from Spain. You are unlikely to find this specific brand in your local paper store, but there are many other producers who still make this paper.
So, light and thin sounds like a perfect starting point for an origami paper, doesn't it? Here are the results of our tests.
Texture: Cockled paper is the perfect term. It's like the Crumpled paper, but the bumps are more subtle and they have a direction - with more length than width. The paper is semi-transparent and has a visible water mark. As always with white paper, playing with light and shadow with a back light gives interesting effects. This paper, being semi-transparent is even more impressive.
As always with thin papers, the result is very sharp. But it's a crisp paper so when I pulled the wings apart, the center did not curve gently, but broke into uneven surfaces.
Pushing the back of the dog's head demonstrated the paper's high elasticity.
The bird will flap for hours with no sign of fatigue or weakness.
The frog did not jump very high. The paper isn't springy enough.
During the grid phase, this paper reminded me of the thin Kraft paper from the previous review. It's hard to find and reverse the crease lines that go with the grain. Unlike the Kraft, the crease lines on the Onion Skin are hardly visible, which makes the next phase - the pre creasing - not an easy task to complete. The collapse was fairly good, since the paper is crisp and has some bending resistance despite its thinness. The final result looks elegant and clean. The back-lit image shows the grace of the white paper.
Since the Pineapple tessellation demonstrates the back light effect, I chose this tessellation to replace the Mystery tessellation. It was created for someone who wanted to present a beautiful antique ring in a jewelry exhibition and she found it as a perfect background. It is made by a very simple procedure of folding back and forth one line on two. This paper is perfect for this method. On a 22cm paper I made a grid of 64, with no particular problems. Folding was easy even with many layers that accumulated in the center, due to its thinness.
This section should be its bread and butter, and it is.
My first try of the Pegasus was 4 years ago with this paper. I re-folded it for this review. I must say it went very well. Forming the base was easy, open sinking stage 37 slowed me down but only a little, and the zig zag in the wings could be folded with high density. I compared both old and new models, and the only difference is a yellowish color resulting from some MC I applied on the older model.
This thin paper really needed another complex model. Box pleating the body went extremely well, similarly for the wing tips. The talons require gentle, accurate reverse folding and shaping, stretching my abilities but not the paper's. The cockled texture gives a lovely finish to the model.
Preparing the squares with an Envelopener caused some tears in the edges, since this paper is bumpy, or crumpled. Inside-reverse folds are difficult, and you need to fold it again on the other side to make it reverse correctly The 5 units I colored behaved much better, and reversing their folds was much easier. Puffing was not fun at all. It was difficult to get the shaping of the rounded parts and the inner flaps tended to open up again and again. Connection was a disaster. The paper is soft and I couldn't connect the units without the benefits of, well, glue. But glue raised another problem - if the paper gets wet, it curls quickly and becomes even softer. I had to put a tiny point of glue to avoid that problem. The final result is very airy and worth all the effort.
The paper is great for multi-layered models. Being so thin, it is easy to fold many layers. On the other hand, since it is a smooth paper, the layers tend to slip one on the other, so it is wise to pre crease each layer before. The final result is very satisfying but the paper is too weak to hold its weight.
All went well, until the last step, going 3D. The model spread its legs wide, and nothing could hold them back. I sprayed some water and the paper sucked it all and become highly flexible; too much to be molded nicely. On the other hand, it dries very quickly and the final posture is very stable. This paper is not for wet folding, but to shape here and there it is great.
The classic Omega Star is a modular, but not Montroll's version. This model is made from one sheet, and requires a thin paper making Onion Skin a perfect candidate. I was not disappointed. Folding went well, and the final result is nice, although the spikes are not as sharp and straight as I wanted them to be.
The paper is much too thin for wet folding the Polar Bear model.
Four years ago, and with very little knowledge on paper, I disliked Onion Skin. It was too crisp, hard to reverse fold, and easy to tear by an accidental move of a sharp finger nail. Today, older and wiser, with many paper types and brands in my paper collection I can say it is one of the best thin papers I have. But you have to choose your project wisely.
For complex models it is great - it's thin, durable and will stay for many years in your display cabinet. I wouldn't use it for modulars, and for tessellation I will chose complex ones, or such that have very little flat surfaces between the molecules, to avoid that crumpled look. I found it perfect for Goran Konjevod's organic collection of models. Being so thin it is absolutely not for wet folding, but for shaping here and there - it's great. For traditional, simple models it will work just fine, much better than Printer paper, with less problems of aging, or losing its whiteness during the years. 3D models need the help of a tiny amount of moisture here and there. Coloring the paper makes it even better, giving some extra crispness for folds that go along the grain.
In flickr - almost nobody uses it or cares to state that they do. I found only 4 beautiful back-lit stars made by gailprentice, and my own models.
Bottom line: nostalgia has its benefits!