Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Art Of Hanji Introduction - Korean Crafts Series Part I

HanjiNaty Hanji Cabinet
Hanji Cabinet

What is Hanji?

One of the questions I have to answer the most frequently when I talk about my craft and my Etsy shop is simply : “What is Hanji, exactly?”....

It is actually a very good question...and I am thrilled to answer it for you today!

HanjiNaty Korean Paper Making
Korean Hanji paper sheets are pressed
by hand, using flat bamboo baskets.

The Paper of Korea

I had the great pleasure to discover this ancestral treasure shortly after I arrived in South Korea in 2004; but I know that for most people Hanji is still a mystery.

Hanji literally means The Paper of Korea. It has been a part of Korean life and tradition for over a thousand years. Hanji is an extremely durable and high-quality paper, made from the inner bark of the mulberry tree, which grows well in Korea.

Hanji has been used in very many ways in Korean life : covering of doors and windows of traditional houses, calligraphy and printing paper, wall papering, household objects (fans, tobacco pouches, notebooks, rope, baskets, shoes, clothes, etc.) and, of course, arts and crafts.

An old Korean saying states that Hanji paper lasts a thousand years, outlasting silk by 500 years. It is a great source of pride for Korean people and its high quality is renowned all through the world.

HanjiNaty Korean Hanji Paper
Hanji paper comes in many different
colors, patterns and thicknesses.

Arts and Crafts featuring Hanji paper

Shopping for Hanji paper is akin to shopping for fabric : there are so many different colors and patterns to choose from, and the thickness, texture and constitution of the different papers will influence the crafter’s choice.

Some papers are very tough and resistant, other ones are thin and airy, some have leaves or dried flowers mixed in with the pulp, some are patterned, printed, holed… No need to tell you that I am as excited as a kid in a candyshop everytime I enter my favorite Hanji paper shop!

There are about half a dozen types of traditional crafts featuring Hanji, depending on how the paper is handled: for example, Jiseung involves weaving the paper, while Jiho calls for a paper-mâché technique, using Hanji. 

The Art Of Hanji Korean Crafts For Adults And Kids

Stay tuned for my next article and learn some of the secrets of the famous Hanji paper!!!

HanjiNaty Korean Tiger Design
Korean Tiger Design


My name is Natalie. I am a French-Canadian gal, but I live in South Korea. My passion is called "Hanji" : sumptuous Korean paper made of mulberry pulp. Hanji has been used for a thousand years in Korea to create decorative or ceremonial objects.

For me, it is essential to offer useful and practical objects, that can enjoyed on a daily basis. Tissue cases, pen holders, piggy banks, fridge magnets: let the beauty and unique character of Hanji make our everyday life objects irresistible!

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  1. I can hardly wait for part 2! I've never heard of Hanji before and I am fascinated. Were circumstances different, I'd probably try it. Thank you for such an interesting piece. I love knowing more about how you craft your lovely designs!

  2. Thank you Diana for your lovely comments! I'll be more than happy to tell you more about it in my next post, and whenever you have questions just contact me! Thanks again!

  3. Thank you for bringing us such a unique topic! Had absolutely no idea what Hanji was! Love the analogy of going to a fabric store...that I can relate to! Wondering now how Hanji is it pronounced? :)

  4. Love the article and your beautiful items!

  5. The word "Hanji" is pronounced "Han-jee" :)

    Thank you very much for your lovely comments!