What are Fiber Papers?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Fiber papers are not entirely made from wood pulp, but include some characteristic plant fiber that gives them their character. Cotton fiber paper is the most common example, but many fiber papers include more exotic materials. Fiber papers may be handmade or machine made, and may include traditional or newly conceived approaches and materials. When the addition of fiber is decorative, fiber paper is considered an inclusion paper.

Some fiber papers are made with bark from the banana plant.
Some fiber papers are made with bark from the banana plant.

One of the most well-known and most popular fiber papers is mulberry paper, or kozo. Kozo is available in both hand and machine made versions and comes in various weights, including a lighter tissue weight. It is available in a wide variety of colors.

Mulberry paper is made from the fiber collected from mulberry tree bark.
Mulberry paper is made from the fiber collected from mulberry tree bark.

Banana fiber papers incorporate chunks and strands of banana bark into kozo sheets. This kind of fiber paper comes in an array of colors and in a natural shade, and the bark can be dyed as well. There is also wheat straw paper, in which the wheat straw is an artistic addition to the kozo.

There are some less common fiber papers that are worth noting. Mixed fiber papers incorporate multiple fibers, and may include jute, wool, straw, grass, and other natural fibers. Cagome and Basho are Japanese specialties: they are woven bark backed with paper.

Alternative fiber paper is a name given to fiber paper created in order to reduce the use of trees. It is sometimes called “tree-free” paper. Fibers used or proposed for use in this kind of paper include hemp, kenaf, wheat straw, sunflower stalks, and rags.

Fiber paper also refers to paper made of alumina and silica threads that is placed between glass being fired and the kiln shelf and affects the underside of the glass in various ways. This type of fiber paper is pre-fired before use and can often be reused, though the number of times of reuse will depend on the paper’s thickness. Kodak makes a enlarging paper for printing photographs with a fiber base that is called a fiber paper. Carbon fiber paper is a gas diffusion layer (GDL) used in fuel cell applications. Ceramic fiber paper is a product used in asbestos replacement.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments


Has anybody reading this actually used that fiber photo paper? I've heard mixed reviews and I'd love to know what you fellow wisegeek-ers (wisegeeks?) think.


What is the kind of fiber that is used in paper money? I had heard it was cotton, but is that true?


I love fiber papers -- I think they're just so much prettier than normal, bleached paper.

When my mom was getting re-married, she used kozo for her wedding invitations, and I thought it was just so gorgeous.

I definitely think that there is nothing prettier than ecological fibers paper.

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