This origami crane is one of the most recognizable of all traditional models. It represents honor and loyalty; and, legend has it that anyone who folds a thousand of them will be granted his or her greatest wish. So, fold away!
All you need is a square of paper and a place to work. You will get a more accurately folded model if you make your creases as sharp as possible and have edges and points meet evenly. Avoid soft or cushioned work surfaces use a table or hardback book instead. This will ensure that your creases are as sharp as possible. Also, make sure that your paper is a perfect square. You will not be able to fold a correct model if the dimensions of the paper are not cut into the shape of a true square.
Practice making your crane with some plain white copy or typing paper. After you gain some confidence in your ability to make an accurate model, then move on to a paper that can be displayed. Paper made especially for origami is available, but don’t limit yourself. Use paper made in any color or pattern you like. As long as it is sturdy and is cut into a perfect square, it will work.
- Place the square on your work surface, colored side down (if using two-sided paper) and position it so that its points are facing up and down, left and right.
- Bring the left point over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
- Bring the top point down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold. Turn the paper over.
- Position the square so that the edges are now facing up and down, left and right.
- Bring the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded. You should now have a rectangular-shaped model.
- Grasp the model at its left and right edges and push inward. It should collapse along the pre-existing folds. The result will be a diamond shape that has one folded flap sticking out toward the back of the model and another sticking out toward the front.
- Bring the front flap back to meet the left point of the diamond and bring the back flap up to meet the right point. Make sure all of the creases are as sharp as possible and that your model lies as flat as possible. Position the model so that the open end is pointing toward you.
- Bring the lower-left edge of the model’s top layer over to meet the vertical center crease. Crease and unfold. Repeat with the lower right edge.
- Bring the top point down toward the center of the model. Locate the crease lines made in Step 8. Fold the top point down just far enough so that the crease you make will touch each of the previous crease lines at the upper left and right edges. Crease and unfold.
- Pull the bottom point of the model (top layer only) up toward the top point. The top layer should collapse along the existing crease lines as you move upward and you should be able to take the bottom point up an over to lay flat on the work surface. The result will be a long, skinny diamond shape sitting on top of the diamond-shaped bottom layer. Turn the model over.
- Repeat Steps 8-10.
- Bring the lower-left edge of the model (top layer only) over to meet the vertical center. Crease and leave folded. Repeat with the lower right edge. Turn the model over.
- Repeat Step 12.
- Open up the outer left edge of the lower left “leg” of the model just a bit. Place your forefinger at the left leg’s right edge and push up and to the left. Push this edge up so that the leg protrudes at the top left of the model and is enclosed within the layers of the model. Repeat for the right leg.
- Fold the point of the left leg back and to the left so that the tip points left. This forms the crane’s beak.
- Pull the left leg a little more to the left and pull the right leg a bit toward the right.
- Pull the model’s center flaps down to form the wings.