Crepe paper, or crêpe paper, is tissue paper that’s been coated with sizing and then “creped” to create gathers. Sizing is a material such as glue, gelatin, gum, or starch, added to paper pulp or cloth to add sheen and stiffness, among other things. This gives the paper a distinct texture and feel, and one quite different from untreated tissue paper.
Tissue paper, as defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) paper industry standard, is the lightest weight paper on its scale. The ISO measures weight in grams per square meter (gsm), and with this measurement system, it is easy to see where crepe paper lines up:
|10–35 gsm ||tissue paper|
|35–70 gsm ||lighter textweight|
|70–100 gsm ||medium textweight|
|100–120 gsm ||heavy textweight/light cardstock|
|120-150 gsm ||regular cardstock|
|150-200 gsm ||heavy cardstock|
|>200 gsm ||super heavy cardstock|
Sometimes the division between tissue paper and textweight paper is given as 40 gsm, rather than 35 gsm.
Crepe tissue paper comes in white, as well as an array of bright and pastel colors, and it may or may not bleed. Creping can also be applied to specialty papers, such as mulberry paper or Lokta paper, which is made from the Daphne Bush of the Himalayas and is sometimes called Lokta crinkle. In addition, crepe paper is important as the backing for various types of tape, including masking tape and electrical tape.
Crepe paper is popular for streamers and other party decorations, but it has other uses as well. Props and costume accessories can be made of this paper. It can be soaked in a small amount of water to create a dye for Easter eggs, white cardstock, and other materials. It can also be used to make paper flowers, appliqué, and paper sculpture.
Crepe paper is sold in long narrow rolls — 1 7/8 inch and 2 inches wide in the US and 4.5 cm wide in the UK for streamers and such, as well as in sheets and “folds” — large folded sheets. It is often made to be fire-resistant.