Mulberry trees are the unsung heroes of silk fabric, as their leaves make up the diet of silkworms. But the bark of the tree gives us another gift. It’s used to make traditional Thai mulberry paper, or saa paper, which is valued for its delicate look and surprising sturdiness, not to mention its sustainability: The tree naturally sheds its bark once a year. Textured with sweeping arabesques of long fibers, mulberry paper makes for beautiful gift boxes and wrapping paper as well as more intricate craft creations like lanterns, scrapbooks, and origami. Even book and manuscript conservators value the paper for its ability to hold and blend in with the original. Whatever your project, a quality mulberry paper is key. Here are our favorites.
1. MulberryPaperStock Handmade Sheets
The wide variety of solid-color and patterned sheets in this pack offers versatility for all kinds of projects, and in good supply. The patterns come from smatterings of real petals, leaves, and minuscule printed hearts, and the swirl of fibers and interspersed bits of color is delicate and subtle, making some sheets artworks on their own. The papers come in a folder made of mulberry paper that will long outlast your project and are accompanied by small floral cutouts and a handwritten Thai postcard.
2. NaturesGardenCards Handmade Mulberry Paper Multipack
Though it’s beautiful, decorative mulberry paper can be difficult to print on due to its naturally coarse texture. These sheets have a semi-rough but even surface, allowing ink to sit more stably. They are still thin and light permeable, though, which makes them good for lanterns but will allow some ink to bleed through. Choose from five pastel colors or the remarkable cream option with pressed bamboo fronds marbled into the paper.
3. Nava Chiangmai Thin Mulberry Paper
Real—and surprisingly beautiful—onion skins pepper some of these pages, and oblong tamarind leaves lace through others. Though there are many accents to choose from in these bundles (banana bark, thread, and rice straw, to name a few), the calm earth tones of the onion skin and tamarind leaves sit comfortably within this paper, decorative without diminishing its versatility. The flexible yet sturdy sheets come in two weights—those with onion skin clock in at 45 grams, while the gauzier tamarind pages are only 35 grams.
4. Graphic Products Mulberry Paper Scrap Pack
For smaller projects like scrapbooking, paper fragments trimmed from larger sheets are an easy and economical option. There is no guarantee of what you’ll receive in this grab-bag sampler, but expect most styles to have multiples, with an emphasis on solid colors. Scraps range from three square inches to smaller irregular snippets.
5. Ratree Shop Mulberry Paper
Charmingly inconsistent sheets show off the handmade quality of this paper. Unlike more standardized options, the flora included in each page is multicolored, including bright petals and green leaves. The package is a true sampler, with each piece unique. It also includes a range of visibly different fiber content, with some sheets better suited to retain ink and some more textured.