How to make an origami flapping bird

This origami project is similar to the crane, except this bird is designed to flap its wings when the tail is pushed and pulled. Beginners should be able to complete this model in just a few minutes.

As with most origami projects, you need very little in the way of equipment in order to fold this bird successfully. You need a piece of paper that has been cut into a true square and you need an appropriate work surface.

Use any sort of paper that you like. Start out with a plain, white copy or typing paper first and then move on to special patterned or colored paper if desired. Any paper you choose should be heavier in weight than the average notebook paper.

Make sure that your work surface is stable, hard, and flat. The appropriate surface will allow you to make the accurate folds and sharp crease needed for successful completion of your model. Run a ruler or pencil edge over each crease as you work if you want even sharper creases.

  1. 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.
  2. Bring the left point over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
  3. Bring the top point down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold. Turn the paper over.
  4. Position the square so that the edges are now facing up and down, left and right.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Bring the lower-left edge of the model’s top layer over to meet the vertical center crease. Crease and leave folded. Repeat with the corresponding lower right edge.
  9. Bring the top of the model down to fold along the flaps made in Step 8. Crease and unfold.
  10. Unfold the flaps made in Step 8.
  11. Pull the bottom point of the model (top layer only) up toward the top point. The left and right edges will come together at the center and the top layer should collapse along the existing crease lines as you move upward. Bring the bottom point all the way over to meet 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.
  12. Repeat Steps 8-10. The result will be a diamond-shaped model where the lower half is divided into two legs.
  13. Place your thumb on the right side of the left leg and push it up so that the leg is flattened out and sticking straight out from the model. You will have to lift the model up a bit.
  14. Pinch the flattened leg so that the direction of the pre-existing crease is reversed and the leg comes to rest between the top and bottom layers of the model. Pinch the base of the leg to secure and pull the point out so that it juts out from the side of the model at an angle.
  15. Repeat Steps 12-13 for the remaining leg; however, make sure that one leg rests higher than the other does. The higher positioned leg will serve as the bird’s neck, while the lower will serve as the tail.
  16. Hold the bird’s neck at the midpoint and push up just below it point so that the first third of the neck is flattened. Pinch the flattened portion so that the direction of the pre-existing crease is reversed. Tuck this portion back into the folds of the neck. This creates the head of the bird.
  17. Roll, do not fold, and crease the wings of the bird down and away from the model.
  18. Hold onto the base of the bird’s neck and push and pull the tail to make the wings flap.

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