Fly, my pretties, fly: an origami crane tutorial

Here’s a classic – an origami crane. In Japan, legend has it that if you fold a thousand cranes, you will be granted a wish by a crane or have eternal good luck. And who likes luck more than luckpaperscissors? That’s right. No one.

Now let’s start folding.

Step 1: Make mountain folds on the vertical and horizontal lines and valley folds on the diagonal lines. Remember, mountain = ^, valley = v. So mountain fold is shaped like a mountain (obviously), with the folded bit on top. Valley fold is the opposite.

Step 2: Bring all the corners together to make a smaller square. See photo below center for reference. Turn the paper so all four corners are facing you.

Tip: The parts that are folded inside will be the head and the tail. Good to know in case you intend to use paper with special print that will end up having different colors/pattern for each crane body part.

Step 3: Fold the bottom edges into the center of the diamond (not a square anymore since you turned it in Step 2). Make sure this is the side where the four corners of the paper meet. Use the center crease as a guide. See photo below right for reference. Flip the paper and make the same folds.

 Crane 1  Crane 2  Crane 3

Step 4: Undo the folds you just did and open the flap upwards. Flip the paper and do the same folds.

Step 5: Again, fold the bottom edges to the center. Flip the paper and do the same folds.

Crane 4  Crane 5  Crane 6  Crane 7

Step 6: Turn one flap over to one side, doesn’t matter if left or right. Do the same on the flip side.

Basically, the idea is to hide the folds you just made. If you notice the photo above (where my finger goes in the middle), the bottom half actually splits. Once you do Step 6, it becomes just one “tail”.

Step 7: Fold the tail up to meet the two spokes.

  Crane 8  Crane 9  IMG_3320

Step 8: Turn the flap to one side again so the tail is hidden. This will be the wing.

Step 9: Fold the wing down to reveal the spokes, which will be your head and tail. Fold the other wing down.

Crane 11  Crane 12  Crane 13  Crane 14

Step 10: Hold the crane from the bottom and slowly pull the spokes to the sides. Form the head by folding outside in, then down.


Now that’s done, 999 more to go.

I actually attempted to do this back in 2010, but I only got around to about 45 cranes (below left). I may not have completed the whole thousand (yet), but that doesn’t mean my fascination with origami cranes has ended. Quite the opposite, really. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have cared to snap a photo of Cathay Cineplex’s mall decor, nor craft a shrinky dinks keychain, nor make cake toppers out of them for my own wedding!

21092010285  20130602-234210.jpg  Shrink dinks crane  DSC_5414-2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: