Look and Feel
Model Suitability (out of 10):
Attributes (out of 10):
Made in Germany, by Zanders (https://www.zanders.de/), it may be crowned as King of Paper. I tried to get some information on the process and ingredients of this paper, but this is privileged information and won't be shared by the manufacturer. 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." Can we ask for more? It got the FSC certificate, so you are helping to save forests by buying it. More than that, each sheet is unique, no two sheets are alike.
Discovered by origamists, it became very popular among them. Here are the reasons:
- Sizes: Once again, only two options here: 700mm x 1000mm, and A4. There is no square option, since it is not Origami-related paper. Of course, one can cut any size and shape from 700mm x 1000mm, but it is a tedious job to prepare 60 identical units for a modular model.
- Colors: The palette is very limited - only 7 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 10 colors, but out of those ten, the two most colorful ones (Dark Blue and Dark Green) are available only at A4 size. In the past there was a bigger variety and I have in my personal stock 14 shades, among them the red and blue which are out of print. The future is no better - after checking with the manufacture, there is no plan to widen the options, and there is no knowledge if there is any stock of the obsolete colors in the official distributors. If one would like to have a special order, it can be done in any color, size and weight wanted, with a minimal order of 5 tons (equal to 64,935 sheets of 700mm x 1000mm or 727,273 of A4).
- Paper coloring or colorability: Perfect! Elephant Hide can be colored beautifully with Ecoline Water Color made by Talens. The coloring does not seep through to the back of the paper. When dried there are no waves and the paper is still flat. See the Bull by Stephan Weber, folded and colored by Herman Mariano.
- Texture: Smooth, since the paper is laminated; the color is not homogeneous, and has a beautiful marble-like texture. There is a slight, hard to see, difference between the two sides, one of them is a bit more reflective. Every sheet is different. Beside the Black, all colors are transparent to light in some degree. Best for that are the Whites and the light Brown, both have a great effect while back-lighted. Grey and Black are hardly transparent, if at all.
- Photogenic: The camera loves this paper! You can use backlighting to make the texture of the paper especially visible, or use strong, frontal lighting to make it disappear almost completely. The paper almost does not reflect at all. I also use it for the background to get an interesting, but not distracting surface.
- Aging: Without acid, and with the special treatment this paper goes through, time flows slowly near this paper. I have few models that are 2 years old - and they look just as new. The manufacture is proud at this product durability. Do remember it is used for book binding, which meant to last.
- Forgiveness: Reversing a fold is easy as tearing up a tissue paper, if you go with the fibers. It is a bit harder at a perpendicular angle. To err is human, and to forgive - divine. If a crease is done a mere millimeter from place, one can easily create a new one in the right place, and even uncrease the first one with a determined fingernail. Score here is 7 out of 10.
- Tensile strength: Tensile strength is the maximum stress the paper can undergo while being stretched or pulled. This paper is made to last. Bend it, force it, stretch it, reverse it, and again, and there is no visible sign of fatigue. To check the strength I used a Reverse Fold test - reverse a mountain fold to a valley, and repeat again and again, using fingernails for a sharp crease. At 90 times it got ripples. At 300 times I said enough. For comparison, a Kami was rippled after 9 times and tear apart at 27 times. 10 out of 10!
- Wear and Tear: If you do have a tiny tear in the paper, there is no need to be alarmed. It won't spread easily, the paper is enhanced in some way and it seems to be tearing resistant. If it does happen, the fibers can hardly be seen at the torn edge.
- Bending resistance: Bending resistance relates to the amount of force required to bend the paper. This may be a sub category of strength, and it is valued just the same. Curved crease are held beautifully, as seen in the PowerPuff unit.
- Where to buy
- Modulor (Europe, Germany) have a nice site, easy to handle and interact: https://www.modulor.de/
- You can get 6 of the colors at Kim's Crane (USA) internet shop: http:// kimscrane.com, with 8 sheets limit per order.
- Paper Jade sells the same color palette: http://paperjade.com/ product_info.php?products_id=772
- Nicolas Terry sells Elephant Hide in squares of up to 68cm side length: https://www.origami-...
- Origami USA's The Source carries Elephant Hide, too: http://origamiusa.or...
- There are some in Singapore in Fancy Paper, but go to the warehouse to get 700 x 1000 size (9 Playfair Rd, Singapore 367985, Tel : 6748 1268)
- In the UK there is Shepherds. See it here: https://www.nitrosell.com//missing/?www.falkiners.com/
The Crane from a 15X15 cm square. It was fun to fold. The weight of the paper requires accurate fold, otherwise the beak is not sharp as it should.
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.
Traditional Flapping Bird
I also tried the traditional flapping bird. It is the best paper for this model! It's easy to fold the bird and it will flap perfectly. Both wings move evenly, and there's no chance of tearing the lower part of the wings, especially in the first couple of strokes. The paper will not tear even if I pull it intensely.
Traditional Jumping Frog
I got the best results with the frog. I used a 15cm square and folded it in half. Then I folded a waterbomb base for the head. The Flex is amazing! I measured a few jumps, most are around 60 to 80cm and once I crossed the 1m mark!
PowerPuff modular, by Ilan Garibi, made from 30 14x14 cm units
Icarus Cube by Dave Mitchell, 6 units, 5x5cm.
This paper is very smooth. The cube breaks into pieces too easily. A modular folded from this paper, must have good lock between the units or a very tight pocket.
3D models and Wet Folding
Fox Terrier by Francisco Javier Caboblanco, 20cm square
For wet folding, I wet a 20cm square and got a small effect on the proportions. Nevertheless the Fox Terrier didn’t suffer from it too much. At the end the model was nice and stable. The paper holds the exact amount of water I needed. I didn't have to re-wet it in the middle of the folding, and didn’t need to wait for it to get dry at the end.
Rat by Joisel, 25cm square
The Rat mixed straight lines with curved model. In this section the focus is on the 3D and curves. To shape the tail I (Gadi) tied it in a wet rag and let it dry curved. The result was nice curved tail. The ears shaped easily by pinching them in the center. Here the strength of the paper was an advantage. It helped to make it rounded.
Pineapple tessellation, by Ilan Garibi, from a 70x70 cm paper
This paper is made for tessellators. Folding the grid makes a very accurate one, although the paper is a bit hard to fold in perpendicular to the fibers. Reversing a fold [I (Ilan) make my grid by matching every two adjacent creases to create the fold between them, which needs a lot of reversing the folds] is quite easy, and the paper tends to "break" on the right place with a bit of pressure. Pre folding is very clean, where short fold lines do not affect the surrounding surface, so the final result is uncontaminated. Strength is another strong point, no tearing or weakening points, no fibers are showing in the corners.
Mystery tessellation, by Ilan Garibi, from a 70x70 cm paper
For the Mystery model, with the light brown, the back light made a great effect. (See a picture in the Texture section above.)
Pegasus, by Satoshi Kamiya, from 2 sizes of paper
The pre-crease 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 put the poor Pegasus into a clamp for a night and closed it very tight. This paper is not willing to torn! After the night it could stand on three legs. Although the folds hold very good and the final model look nice, I strongly recommend using thinner paper for complex models.
In clamp: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/5200985031
In tight clamp: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/5201577218
(no real Pegasus where hurt in this fold)
Being the inexperienced one with complex models, I (Ilan) happily choose the biggest size. Even so, it was a fight! The paper is too thick for this model, even at an almost double size than recommended. I couldn't fold the last stages, finalizing the small details, or even to bend the front leg, as shown in stage 92. The body is fat, maybe too fat, and some glue is needed to hold it together. Nevertheless, the final result is beautiful. The Pegasus stand still, wings held up high, in a majestic pose.
What is it good for? For traditional use, it seems a bit of a blasphemy. For tessellations it is no less than perfect, as for 3D models, wet folded or not. With complex model you should not consider EH as your first choice, and if you do, prepare for a struggle, with an amazing possible result. If you have the time and patience for cutting your paper for Modular Origami, EH is great, with a very strong and stable result but not for models that are connected based on friction! This paper is the best for action models – strong, hold the creases nicely, and it is not going to torn even in small kid hands (tested on Gadi's 4 years old boy).
Beginner shouldn't use this paper – It is too heavy.
Going through Flickr search engine after EH images, the vast majority (90%) is tessellations. The other 10% are masks and 3D animals, mostly high to intermediate level (and the common one is, no surprise here, elephant!). In 749 images there are less than 10 images of complex models.
Bottom line: Must buy and experience. Full satisfaction guarantee!
Special thanks to Herman Mariano for his colorability section.