This is a slight variation on the paper swan seen here.

The end result is the same (i.e., the shape of the swan), but the method I approach it is more efficient, in my opinion. Also, I have step by step instructions, and detailed high res pictures (whoo!) that make this more enticing. So enjoy!

Easy to make and fit to impress, these are a great time killer and can be made anywhere that some form of memory-retentive fabric is (paper, aluminum foil, cardboard, posterboard, steel, etc.)

BONUS! I am including in this Instructable, a method for making this out of nothing but paper and your two hands! Makes for great first impressions, as you can use any sheet of paper and instantly make a flapping crane.

Step 1: Obtain the Materials.

The material list for this Instructable is very simple.

- Paper
- Nimble fingers
- Hard surface to press down on

Just for the sake of making this as easy and as followable as possible, I'm going to use a standard sheet of computer paper at 8 1/2 x 11 inches. It doesn't matter if anything is printed on it (as seen in my example).

Included in this Instructable! How to make perfect creases and semi-awesome looking tears with just your hands!

Step 2: First Impressions.

Here we make our first crease. Using a standard sheet of paper, fold one corner to the opposite side of the sheet, until it goes no further. Don't go over the line, don't stop short. Try to line it up as close to the edge of the paper as possible. Now using your thumbnail, or some other hard implement (pen, knife, toenail), bear down on the crease and pushhhh. You will now have a crease that will be the envy of all the kids in the neighborhood.

Step 3: Divide and Conquer.

Now, fold the junk that's left over, and make another awe-inspiring crease out of it. Then, ever so gently, start at the vertex (that's where the two creases meet), and ever-so-gently start to tear the paper. Move slowly, and you will have a great looking tear! (unlike mine)

Step 4: Squaring Off.

Congratulations, you have now made a very simple geometric shape out of another geometric shape! This is the moment that your geometry teacher always told you would happen.. where you would actually USE geometry in real life! (well.. mine always told me that it would save my life, but she was German) So once you have your equilateral figure (yes, I can use that term), fold it in half to form a right triangle (gasp, the geometry references are horrifying!)

Step 5: Mind Bending.

Now that your minds are warmed up from those geometry exercises, prepare to flex them. You will now open one of the triangular flaps, and push down on the top ridge, causing it to deform into a square (geometric transformations can be exciting, eh?)

If you've gotten this so far, repeat for the opposite side. Or adjacent. Whichever you want to call it.

Step 6: Quartering.

Once you have both sides folded into neat little squares, place it so that the open end is facing you. Proceed by folding the edges into the middle, they can't go any further. Repeat for all four sides. Now, take the top portion, the little hat like thing, and fold that down. I hope that you're still creating incredible creases, because they will make your life increasingly easier from here on out.

Step 7: A Step Backwards.

And now, much to your dismay, we will be undoing our hard work. But fear not! It shall bloom soon. Once you have all your creases undone, take the bottom point (the open end), and fold it out. It should sort of.. pop out. This is probably the most difficult step, so don't hesitate to look at the pictures a few times and ponder over it. Make some symmetry! Do it on both sides.

Finally, fold the two sides into the center, and crease them down. They should already be creased from your previous creasing, so this step should be easy.

Step 8: Winging Onward.

Once you have both sides folded over, bifold the whole thing along the center axis (bet you wished you had paid attention in geometry now, huh?) In reference to the picture, you are folding the flap next to my thumb to the left (away from Susie Derkins), leaving you with a flap that you will fold upwards.

Fold afore mentioned flap up, to form a wing. Repeat for the other side.

Step 9: Breath of Life.

Finally, pull the two ends down that aren't the wings, and push the wings in to form a sort of stand (actually feet I suppose. Although swans don't really have feet. They sort of have paddles. Is there a name for their type of feet? Or are they just feet?) Anyways, pull one of the pointed ends and crease the inside of it into a head (cranes got to have a sense of direction, even if you are guiding them)

To make it fly: Grasp the crane under its head, in front of its wings, and yank on the tail (not too hard, it'll come off). A constant motion will cause its wings to flap in a flying motion!

I hope you enjoyed the egregious use of geometry terms, and had fun building this with me!
What do do in the step 5?
Does it fly like an airplane
i know you worked hard trying to find this but mine didn't work.if u could please please pretty please with a cherry on top make a video????????????? If u could i'd really appreciate it. Good pics and the hardest part for me is making it flap and easiest part was the bird base(before the bifold).so please make a vid. thank you
I agree with the Calvin and Hobes. It's better than Shakespear.
good instructable, i left a note for my other half inside my version, (btw swans and most other waterfowl have webbed feet but they're still called feet although they deserve to be called something else) my only criticism- some of the pics are a little hard to see against your choice of background although ive nothing personal against calvin & hobbes!

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