In short, a three layer laminate consisting of two layers of tissue paper with a layer of aluminum foil between them.

Here I shall present a simple how-to for making your own tissue foil, but first some explanation should be offered as to why anyone would want to muck about trying to make this stuff.

Now, if you enjoy origami this will make perfect sense to you, at least if you have ventured into the realm of exoskeletal creatures. They rank among the most complex of origami designs, often attempting to not only capture the essence of the creature, but rather render it as anatomically correct as possible. Attempting this with a normal (80g/m^2) printer paper will normally produce a wonderful origami boulder, with pointy bits sticking out of it if you are somewhat successful. You will quickly learn that as a model reaches a certain level of complexity the paper is simply layered so many times that it is impossible to produce elegant results

Any skilled folder would probably at this point object and say: "Yes this is all nice and good, but this is why we have Washi"

A reasonable reply would first agree, then partake in the praising of washi, but then state the obvious fact; handmade Japanese mulberry paper is expensive, prohibitively so. And in my opinion it is quite frankly not worth it unless you plan on exhibiting your work. And there are alternatives.

This brings us to the point: In most cases tissue foil will be the alternative of choice. It's cheap, strong, thin, and fairly easy to make.

It also allows you to shape the paper in a way somewhat similar to wetfolding since the aluminum foil helps the material retain its shape. Furthermore if you should happen to misplace a fold you will be able to gently rub it out of existence, which may be both good and bad. One thing to be mindful of when folding this material is that reversing the parity of folds is more difficult that with normal paper, but with some practice you will not be hapmered by this. Wether tissue foil possesses other areas of application is currently not known.

You will need to get the following objects before proceeding:
  • Tissue paper (Two sheets of almost equal size, depending on what you like different colors are acceptable.)
  • Aluminum foil (One sheet slightly smaller than the tissue papers.)
  • Glue (In a spray can.)
  • A roller (To remove those nasty pockets of air)
  • A ruler (Should be longer than the final product)
  • Something sharp (Make him proud... or you could just use a xacto knife)
  • A cutting board (To protect any precious surfaces from sharp objects)
  • A newspaper (As not to get glue onto everything)
Start out by locating a suitable place to work, it should feature two flat spacious surfaces, one of them should be protected from random sprays of glue with parts of the newspaper. You will need to reapply the newspapers at some point in the process, so keep the remains of it within reach. The cutting board, knife and ruler are not important at this point, but should also be kept within reach. Place the roller by the other empty surface.

The tissue paper will have two sides, one will feel slightly rougher to the touch, remember which side is the rougher one as the glue will stick better to it. Place the smaller sheet on the empty surface, the rough side facing up, put the larger aside.

You will now apply glue to one side of the aluminum foil. Which side you start out with is a matter of choice. The shiny side will produce a somewhat more "metallic" look. It is at this point a final decision is made as to which side is the front and which is the back of the tissue foil. When applying the glue be sure to evenly coat all areas of the foil, a moderate amount will do.

Pick up the sheet of aluminum foil and place it gently onto the sheet of tissue paper lying on the other surface, try to not crease any of the sheets too much in the process. When done use the roller to make it nice and flat, removing any pockets of air by rolling from the centre towards the edges. Since the foil is smaller than the tissue paper there is not much need to carefully align the edges, just make sure the foil stays within the tissue paper and all will be good, also you will not smear glue on the roller or table since the sheet with the glue on it is the smaller one.

Throw out any sheets of newspaper that have glue on them, replace them with fresh ones. Getting glue on the wrong side of the finished sheet is a complete pain in the ass, and should be avoided at all costs. (If this happens start over or be fully prepared to meet the horrible wave of annoyance which will overtake you as you start folding something which will want to stick to anything it touches) Place the sheet of foil and tissue paper on the freshly prepared sheets of newspapers and place the larger sheet of tissue paper on the empty surface, the rougher side facing up.

Apply glue and mate the two sheets, as before, making sure not to crease them more than necessary, remove any pockets of air. If all went well you have before you a sheet of tissue foil.

Use the ruler and knife to trim the edges so you end up with a perfect square.

Fold it

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