The crane is a Japanese symbol of good fortune and one of the most common origami models. This model is folded in the same way as the traditional crane, but with a twist. Instead of beginning with the usual square of paper, you begin with a rectangle that, when folded in half lengthwise, will fold into a perfect square. The rectangle is cut into its two squares, with a small portion left uncut. Each square is then folded into a crane and the uncut portion becomes the point where the beaks join.

The easiest method of getting the appropriate sized rectangle is to trim a standard sheet of copy paper. Use a pencil, ruler, and scissors to measure and trim a 3-inch strip of paper from one of the long edges of the paper. This rectangle (and as many others as are necessary) can be used for practice. Once you have successfully folded the model a few times, then move on to colored or patterned paper, if desired. Any paper you choose should be able to maintain both a sharp crease and its folded shape. Work only on hard, flat surfaces (tables, floors, etc.) and run a ruler or pencil edge over each crease as you work to make them as shape as possible.

Follow the steps carefully and rotate or turn the model only when instructed to do so. Move on to the next step only when you are sure that all previous steps have been correctly completed.

- Position a rectangular piece of paper on your work surface so that the short edges are facing left and right. If you are using two-sided paper, make sure that the color you want for the exterior of the cranes is facing down.
- Use a pencil and ruler to mark the vertical center of the model.
- Use scissors to cut along the line drawn in Step 2, from bottom edge to top edge. Stop cutting when you are approximately 1/10 of an inch from the top edge. The portion of the paper that is left uncut will serve as the meeting point for the two cranes. The model should now be divided into two equal squares.
- Rotate the model to the right so that the left square’s points are facing up and down, left and right. Ignore the right square as best you can until the left square has been completely folded. In the steps that follow, “the model” refers to the left square.
- Bring the left point of the model over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
- Bring the top point of the model down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold.
- Turn the model over and position it on your work surface so that its edges are facing up and down, left and right.
- Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
- Bring the top edge of the model down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded.
- 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 (top layer only) over to meet the model’s vertical centerline. Crease and unfold. Fold the lower left edge backward along the crease line you just made. Crease and unfold. Repeat for the lower right edge of the model.
- Bring the top point of the model down toward the bottom of the model, to a point that just past the model’s center. The resulting horizontal crease line should touch the top of each of the crease lines made in Step 12. Crease and unfold.
- Bring the bottom point of the model (top layer only) up toward the top of the model, opening up the top layer as you go. The top layer should collapse along the crease line made in Steps 9-10 and the bottom point should come behind the top point to touch your work surface. The left and right points of the model will meet at the center. The result will be a narrow diamond-shaped top layer. Press flat.
- Turn the model over and Repeat Steps 11-14.
- 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 and repeat Step 16. Position the model so that the adjoining square is to the left and the legs of the folded model are pointing toward you.
- 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.
- Position the unfolded square so that the point where the two sections meet is at the top and the completed crane is at the upper left.
- Rotate the model to the right so that the unfolded square’s points are facing up and down, left and right. Ignore the completed crane as best you can until the remaining square has been completely folded.
- Repeat Steps 5-21 to complete the kissing cranes.