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A stack of Manila paper

Manila paper is a relatively inexpensive type of paper, generally made through a less-refined process than other types of paper, and is typically made from semi-bleached wood fibers. It is just as strong as kraft paper but has better printing qualities, such as stronger pigment retention. Manila paper is buff-colored and the fibers of the paper are usually visible to the naked eye.

Manila is most commonly used for making file folders[1] and envelopes, called Manila folders and Manila envelopes, respectively. Some fashion schools and people in the fashion industry use large rolls of Manila to create finalised clothing patterns.[citation needed] Because the paper is generally inexpensive, it is commonly given to children for making art.[2]

Manila paper was originally made out of old Manila hemp ropes which were extensively used on ships, having replaced true hemp. The ropes were made from abacá or Musa textilis, which is grown in the Philippines;[3] hence the association with Manila, its capital city. Abacá is an exceptionally strong fibre, nowadays used for special papers like tea bag tissue. It is also very expensive, being several times more expensive than woodpulp, hence the change to that fiber for what is still called Manilla—usually with two L's. More recently new woodpulp has often been replaced with a high proportion of recycled fibers. True Manila hemp folders would have been much tougher and longer lasting than modern folders.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Knox, Frank M. (January 1965). The Knox standard guide to design and control of business forms. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780070352513.
  2. ^ Day, Michael; Hurwitz, Al (24 July 2012). Children and Their Art: Art Education for Elementary and Middle Schools. Cengage Learning. pp. 101. ISBN 978-1-133-42151-1. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  3. ^ Sumner, Judith (30 May 2019). Plants Go to War: A Botanical History of World War II. McFarland. p. 201. ISBN 978-1-4766-3540-8. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Word of the Week: Manila envelope, a holdover from Philippine fiber". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2021.