Paper Power

Discover why paper is one of the most versatile materials for the home


You've seen it. You've held it. You've written on it. Paper has been a part of life practically since forever. And for most people everywhere, they've encountered it too in various sizes, shapes, and forms. For some, paper's irresistible charm in fact lies in its simplicity. But for most, it is paper's delicate and fragile characteristics that keep people from using it for furnishings and accessories.

Here are 6 types of paper and how each is used at home:

Production by Coni Tejada. Styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez. 

Cardboard Cardboard is a heavy-wood-based type of papers. Corrugated cardboard usually consists of outer flat sheets or liners with rippled inner layer of corrugated short fiber in between. This "filling" in between resists pressure or compression.

Notable characteristics: Stiff, durable, and can withstand a relative degree of pressure

Most common use: Packaging boxes

Featured piece: The Wiggle side chair is part of Frank Gehry's Easy Edges Collection (1969-1973), a series of furniture pieces made out of edge board (cardboard). The more ecologically sound edge board is the answer of this multi-awarded North American Architect (recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1989, the National Medal of Arts in 1998, and the Companion of the Order of Canada in 2002) to the 1960s trend of cheap, lightweight materials. Edge board is made by gluing layers of corrugated cardboard in alternate directions, and the Wiggle chair takes its strength in the compressed layers.
Kraft Paper Kraft paper is a type of paper made from unbleached kraft pulp, an unbleached coniferous pulp.

Notable characteristics: Strong, durable

Most common use: Paper grocery bags, paper sacks, envelopes

Featured piece: The Spaceship vase and mobile vases are part of Filipino designer Tes Pasola's award-winning "James Bound" collection, a recipient of the G-MARK (Good Design) Award from Japan Industrial Promotion Organization. Product designer Tes Pasola ingeniously applied the common bookbinding technique to create such unique home accessories whose "leaves" open from a bound "spine."
Tyvek A registered trademark of the Dupont Company, Tyvek is a brand of spun-bonded olefin (an unsaturated chemical compound), and synthetic material made of high-density polythelene fibers. These very fine fibers are randomly distributed.

Notable characteristics: Lightweight yet strong, difficult to tear but can be easily cut by scissors, water vapor can pass through it but not liquid water

Most common use: Envelopes, banknotes (paper money), medical packaging

Featured piece: Designed by multi-awarded Dutch designer Tord Boontje, the popular "Midsummer Light" features two layers of Tyvek paper with intricate floral cutout detail. This romantic pendant light is the winner of the best product design award at the 2004 New York International Gift Show, the 2004 Stockholm Gift Show, and was selected for the 100 best design issue of 2004 Metropolitan Home magazine.
Newsprint Newsprint is generally made by milling wood without the chemical process that would remove lignin (the chemical in trees that make them stiff and wood stiff) from the pulp. Lignin also causes the paper to rapidly become brittle and yellow when exposed to air or sunlight. Nowadays, the paper makers are increasingly using waste paper pulps to create newsprint.

Notable characteristics: Low-cost, low-quality

Most common use: Newspapers

Featured item: The Kabayang basket is made out of rolled-up old newspaper. Made by Manila F.A.M.E. exhibitor Diwangs Arts and Handicrafts, this piece has an edgy, unexpected look that appears to be functional art and serves as a great example of another form of paper recycling. Similar pieces are now being exported to United States, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Acid-free Paper Acid-free paper is made from cotton fibers, rags, esparto, jute, and chemical wood pulp with special care to take out any active acid that might be present in the paper pulp.

Notable characteristics: With a pH of 7 or greater, this type of paper lacks chemicals that would harm any other paper attached or pasted onto it. It is also due to this basic nature that it hardly disintegrates over time. Because of this, acid-free paper is a popular and logical choice for medical, private, and public documents, albums, and matting for photographs.

Most common use: Books, scrapbooks, albums, canvas for artworks, matting for photographs

Featured item: Using the Japanese art of paper folding, origami, artist Cathy Lasam created a depiction of the prickly fruit Durian. This paper sculpture (it comes with a smaller piece) tries to convey the message that each creation of a whole is through smaller units.
Handcrafted Paper Handcrafted paper is a type of paper made by hand and usually appears to be "unrefined" or "unfinished."

Notable characteristics: : In this world of mass-produced items, this handmade item has a novel charm. Since the paper is handmade, it can be done to any specification such as the color or length.

Most common use: Journals, notebooks, greeting cards, wrapping paper

Featured item: Colorful handcrafted papers with their often rough-hewn edges are commonly used for giftwrap, boxes, and arts and crafts projects. For the home, they are mostly used for lampshades and decoupaged items.

Paper Care Tips: Make your paper accessories last longer in this throw-away world

1. Place paper items in a cool dry place for sunlight and humidity can seriously harm them.

2. Keep your paper items clean and dust-free as dust can also ruin them.

3. Clean your pieces only with a dry cloth or brush.

4. Handle your paper items only with clean, dry hands.

5. Keep them in a clean, waste-free area. This will help prevent insect infestations and damage caused by airborne particles.

Keep visiting the site to learn more about the different materials that we can use at home.

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