How To Make An Origami Crane

Posted: September 24, 2011 in Artwork, Unrelated to incarceration
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Help Japan Brighton University Peace Cranes

Help Japan Brighton University Peace Cranes by Dominic’s pics on flickr under Creative Commons. These cranes were made by a group of Brighton University art students in support of the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami victims.

How to make an Origami Crane, by Crane-Station on YouTube.

Now that Fall is here, I am going to begin making origami cranes for holiday gifts. I enclose them with cards and also chain the cranes together into beautiful, colorful decorations. I spray my chains with acrylic to preserve them.

To make an origami peace crane, you will need a square piece of paper. Many beautiful papers are available. Although I prefer origami paper, it can be expensive, so you may want to cruise the scrapbooking aisle. I do not advise using card stock because it is too thick. If you are a beginner at this, avoid foil papers until you get a good handle on crane folding.

Key: You must align edges exactly for all folds from the beginning. Early misalignment will affect later steps.

1. Turn the square of paper so that the colored part of the paper is on the bottom.

2. Fold the paper diagonally into a triangle. The color is now on the outside.

3. Match the bottom left corner of the triangle to the bottom right corner of the triangle, and fold it, making another triangle, with the edge of the fold on the left and the matched corners on the right.

4. On the right hand side, lift up the top corner of the new triangle. Insert your index finger into the middle of the triangle, so that your finger is only touching the non-colored side of the paper, and flatten the now-opened triangle into a diamond shape. The diamond shape is now visible on the top, and it has a diagonal crease down the center.

5. Turn the object over and do the same thing on the other side- lift up the triangle corner, insert finger and flatten the triangle into a diamond.

6. Now you have a diamond sandwich with a crease down the middle. You can separate the layers at the top of the diamond, but the bottom part of the diamond sandwich is closed.

7. Lift up the top diamond flap on the right and pull the corner to the center crease. Align the flap-crease with the center crease of the diamond, from the top of the diamond shape. Do the exact same thing on the left.

8. Pick up the bottom corner of the larger diamond, the part of the diamond that does not separate, and fold it into a triangle, then unfold the same triangle so that a crease is left behind. The identical flaps to the sides look a bit like doors.

9. Open the doors a little ways, and go to the very tip of the object, the diamond, and separate off only the top layer so the you are holding the tip.

10. Bring the top tip that you are holding down to meet the bottom tip of the diamond. As you do this, you will see a boat emerge and then envelop itself, with the inside of the boat being white and the outside of the boat being a color. You must line the edges of the boat to the center line of the object, and then flatten the boat. When you start to flatten the boat, the paper will naturally seek to fold itself into a new, long, thin diamond shape.

11. Turn the object over and do the same thing on the other side.

Now you have a diamond that consists of a top flattened boat and a bottom flattened boat.

12. Start with the top flattened boat. Go to the right hand corner and fold it to the center. Do the same on the left. Left corner of flattened boat to the center and fold. The top of your object will be able to scissor open, but the bottom of the figure will be closed.

13. Turn the figure over and do the same thing.

You have a new, skinny diamond.

12. On your new diamond, you should have flaps on both the right hand side and the left hand side. You have duplicate flaps on the bottom of the figure. Start with the top flaps. The flaps resemble doors. Move the right hand top flap over the center line, so that the right-hand tip meets the left-hand tip and fold. In other words, move the right top door over the left top door, and fold.

13. Now move the bottom left hand flap, or door, over the center line underneath so that it covers the bottom right hand door and fold.

You have a new diamond that is closed at the top, but can scissor open at the bottom.

14. Set the figure down and rotate it 180 degrees clockwise.

15. Go to the bottom tip of the top flap, and match it to the very top tip of the figure, and fold. Turn the figure over and do the exact same step on the other side.

16. Repeat the doors: top right door over top left door and fold, and bottom left door over bottom right door and fold.

17. Now, the wings envelop the beak and the tail. Gently pull the tail out a bit and crease it into a tail shape.

18. The beak starts off like another tail, so pull the other tail out, and perform an inverse fold where the beak should be. The inverse fold takes a bit of practice.

Trying to explain how to make a crane is a bit like trying to explain how to tie your shoes or ride a bike- you sort of have to ‘get it.’ Once you do, however, crane folding is an excellent stress reducer, and the end product is really beautiful. I often include beads in my chains, and I have seen some spectacular mobiles made of cranes.

If still photos would be more helpful, let me know and I will do another post with stills.

  1. Please note: I have edited step 7 in the written instructions to include: “Repeat this step on the left flap.” I am sorry that I did not originally catch this. The video does show it.

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