Introduction: How to Make 1,000 Cranes (or Just One)!

Picture of How to Make 1,000 Cranes (or Just One)!

We've all seen the paper birds, but have you ever wanted to learn how to make one? If you don't know how to make one, this instructable will show you how to make one of the most elegant, timeless origami figures...

And then I'll tell you how to make a thousand.
(And it's really easier than you'd think.) (:

(1,016 are in the picture below.)

Step 1: Making a Square

Picture of Making a Square

First, you need to make a perfect square. The easiest was to do this is to get a piece of printer paper, or some other kind of rectangle paper, and make it from this. Or you can buy origami paper, which is already a perfect square but is a little expensive.

1. Start with your (rectangular) sheet.
2. This is where your fold will be.
3. Fold the top edge to the side edge; make sure you crease well.
4. Cut off the excess.

Step 2: The Square Base

Picture of The Square Base

In origami, most figures are made from bases. This one actually has two, the square, which precedes the bird base. These are the instructions for the square base.

1. Do preliminary folding. Fold corner to corner and edge to edge. (see picture for visual)
2. Fold the left corner to the bottom corner... You will NOT yet be able to flatten it. Keep the figure not-flat.
3. Then bring the right corner to the bottom corner...
4. You should have something like this... (the red is on the INSIDE btw)
5. Then put the top corner to the bottom.
6. Now you should have this: a squarish figure.

Step 3: The Bird Base (preliminary Folding)

Picture of The Bird Base (preliminary Folding)

These are preliminary steps to make the bird base, once you finish this step, you're halfway done with your crane!!

1 & 2. Fold the bottom right edge and the bottom left edge to the center of the diamond. MAKE SURE OF TWO THINGS:
a. that the bottom of your diamond is the throng of the corners and the top is the original paper's center. (picture 1)
b. that you only fold ONE flap to the center, not both.
(see picture 2.)

3. Fold the top area down over the top of the flaps.
4. UNfold.
5. Flip over and make sure the corners are still down. And do steps 1-4 again on this side.

Step 4: The Bird Base

Picture of The Bird Base

1. Make sure you follow the folds you made!!! Take the bottom flap and "hinge" it on the fold going across the paper. And by "inverting" the direction of the way you folded the diagonal folds, you make the square diamond into a rhombus diamond. (the left and right corners go onto the middle line next to each other.)

2. this is what it will look like halfway through completing this step the finished step is picture 3.
3. This is what it should look like. Now, turn over and repeat.
4. And this is the completed bird base!

Step 5: A Special Step.

Picture of A Special Step.

If you do this step, your crane WILL NOT be able to flap. However, it will look much nicer if you do. I recommend making a second crane (one with and without this step) and see which one you like better.

***NOTE***: i turned the figure ninety degrees to the right because i find it easier that way.
but i WILL refer to the directions as top, left right, blah blah blah. Even if its wrong.

1. Take the left and right edges and fold them them to the center. (sigh. or the top and bottom if you can't flip the orientation in your head.)
2. Repeat on the other side.

Step 6: Continuing On!!

Picture of Continuing On!!

1. Now, move the left flap OVER to the right side, so now you'll have one flap on the left, and three on the right.
::Flip it over and do it again. So now you have two on each side again, except it looks a little different. (Should look like picture One.)

2. Move the bottom flap allllll the way up.
3. Repeat on other side.

Step 7: Making Its Tail and Head

Picture of Making Its Tail and Head

1 & 2. All you have to do is fold one tip of neck down so it forms the head. I fold about a third of the neck down.

3. Move the flaps back to where the were. (move one flap to the right, flip over, repeat.)

4. Then pull out the neck and tail out and press on the bottom area to make a new fold on the joint.

Step 8: Unfurl!

Picture of Unfurl!

Pull the wings (gently) apart from each other...

And see your pretty crane! (or functional if you decided to skip section 5.)

Step 9: Now... 1,000!!

Picture of Now... 1,000!!

Okay. It's a big goal. But it's really a cool feeling when you get them done...

And according to legend, you get a wish. (:
i haven't made mine yet... hmm.

::Take around small papers with you in an Altoids tin to make cranes in the car! (I will enter that into the pocket size competition if i have time!)
::At night, sit in your room or someplace nice, listen to music, and fold the night away.
::Do different papers! The same paper gets BORING. I used a National Geographic magazine for the 250. They have the prettiest pictures too!
::If you buy expensive paper, make the papers smaller, into fourths or sixteenths!
::Make a few a day. (With page-a-day calenders, make 4 cranes from that!)
::Have friends help! about 400 of these were made by my two closest friends.

Don't stress yourself over it. I made my 600 or so in about 2 months by devoting one to three hours a day to folding.

Thank you for checking out my 2nd instructable!!!


chocolatecake97 (author)2015-01-29

Thank you so much for making this, but I find it really confusing. I'm sure it's just the fact that I am not good at origami. I will continue trying to make these, though. Thanks for making this!

AlC2 (author)2014-12-07


chloe4hunter (author)2014-10-03

I have done 100 in this month alone! I keep my stuff in a basic one inch binder for on the go. I put a folder inside the binder to hold more cranes (folded flat) I keep and pad of paper and a pen (latched on a binder clip) inside because I label all my cranes with the number crane and the date. Super fun!

awesomecreations (author)2013-04-01

Here is that instructable;

awesomecreations (author)2013-03-27

I have also made hundreds or thousands of cranes over the years, but mine are different from any origami crane instructable I have yet seen. They are of similar difficulty to fold (as easy) as these ones, I think I'll make an instructable on one.

urtlesquirt (author)2011-11-29

my sister made 1000 for my cousin who had cancer.

HouseOfAnubis101 (author)2011-06-18

Its SOOOO hard I tried doing this 27 times!!!!!!!!!! Or MOre :-@

It's not hard. I make 'em form .5 x .5 in. paper! it not the smallest ever though. the smallest was made from 1mm x 1mm paper and folded with a sewing needle while looking at it through a microscope!

Pizzapie500 (author)2010-05-23

Cool! I made 1000 too! It's in my video, now i'm just sewing them together. Although, it only took me 2 months to finish 1000 and I only spent like 30 mins a day... Anyway, here's my video:

Miscelinious (author)Pizzapie5002010-05-24

(: very cool. But it really isn't difficult to sit down and make 1000, isn't it? haha!

4n0n4mb16u05 (author)2010-05-11

I used to make cranes just like yours in the pictures, but gradually, my cranes started growing fat around the body, and i have no idea why! It's depressing really, i like the sleek look of my original cranes :(

hmm. Not quite sure how you would get that, honestly. :p

But the only 'fault' i find that people do when they makes cranes is in step 5. A lot of people fold only the corner in, instead of the corner along with the side. That causes the wings to be really square/rectangle shaped and the neck to be kinda lumpy.

what step is yours different from how i was making mine?

woody558 (author)2010-01-06

Mine didn't work...

Miscelinious (author)woody5582010-01-07

what's the problem?

woody558 (author)Miscelinious2010-01-07
Step 4
Miscelinious (author)woody5582010-01-07

i'm sorry, that is the hardest step to explain...

the only thing i can tell you is to look at the picture and also make sure that you are following the creases... However, when bringing the top flap up, you will have to invert part of the crease while folding it up.

but i can't show a picture of that, unfortunately.

but try it again, and if you are still having problems, let me know, and i will post a video explaining this step more thoroughly and better visually, okay?

The Nomlack (author)2009-08-06

how long did it take u 2 make all of those cranes? all 1000?

Miscelinious (author)The Nomlack2009-08-06

it really didn't take too long, actually. it was only about two or three months, while folding for about an hour or two a night. of course, i'm a pretty fast folder and i had my friends do about 400 of them. i'd estimate, if you did try this (assuming you are an average folder and can fold cranes decently), i think you you could do it in about 4 months if you did an hour and a half a night. this is if you do it by yourself. with friends, one or two months, easy.

eetzel (author)2009-07-22

You make yours different than I do. Your head is my wing.

Javin007 (author)eetzel2009-07-28

Yours looks to be a modification of the "seagull" or the "pigeon." The traditional "crane" of the instructable is also referred to as the "Peace Crane" and also has some interesting history behind it. The Japanese story is that the crane is "the bird of happiness" and can live for 1,000 years. There are many origins to this story, but eventually, it came to mean that a person who was ill would be granted a wish if they made 1,000 cranes. Eight years after Hiroshima, a young Japanese girl was diagnosed with cancer as a result of radiation poisoning. She proceeded to create the "peace cranes" (as they only came to be known after this incident) so that she could make the wish that she could one day run again. Friends and family brought her paper in the hospital, and she made the cranes until she died, ultimately completing only 644 of them. Her classmates finished the remaining cranes so that she could could be buried with 1,000 of them. Today, in Hiroshima, a statue of the little girl stands holding a golden crane, as a memorial to all of the children killed in the Hiroshima bombing. Every year on "peace day" people worldwide send the "peace crane" as it has since come to be known to the statue. Google "peace crane story" for the full story, it's quite interesting reading.

$ NAB $ (author)eetzel2009-07-23

Can you post an instructable about this one

Miscelinious (author)eetzel2009-07-22

with a lot of classic designs, including the crane, there are variations... my friend does everything I do except when he gets to step 5, he make the fold incomplete, so the neck of the crane is larger. a variation that i do make the crane into a flapping hummingbird, i'll make an instructable on that most likely. but its great that you have a different way, the one i have posted is the classic fold.

OakCariad (author)2009-07-23

While stationed with the USAF in Korea in 1983 a Korean friend presented me with a birthday present in December: 1000 'swans' or 'Chun Hak' that she had made from cigarette wrappers, gum wrappers, etc., etc.....unbelievable to me the time and effort it took. none of the swans measures more than 2 inches! I was a Korean Linguist so I know that, in this instance, the '1000' number is important. In Korea, '1000 Swans' (Chun Hak) means good luck and all the things that that entails. I still have my swans or 'haks' and will cherish them always. Thanks for giving me an idea of just what she did to make this gift for me!

kira kappuke-ki (author)2009-07-20

ok this is were i got stuck.
i dont get which part is the top bottom or end... and i just ripped my paper trying to figure it out. =(

the bottom left area is the bottom. The top right is the top. The top left is the left side. and the bottom right is the right. You're taking the first flap on the bottom and folding it waaaay up, like how the tags say... You have to fold using the creases, or else it will turn out lopsided... So just follow the lines you folded. :)

i'm sorry, its just pretty difficult to explain it, the best thing i can tell you is to look one step ahead and see if you can match up the folding process from the step you were currently on. what step are (were) you one? i can improve the directions if you can tell me which step is giving you trouble.

ChrysN (author)2009-07-18

1000 is pretty awesome, I made a string of cranes hanging in my bedroom, they look really pretty that way. I used to fold them while watching TV (that way I don't feel like I'm wasting time when I'm sitting in front of the TV.)

vargasdanny (author)2009-07-18

Nice ive always wanted to know how to make these cranes thanks for the good instructable and great job explaining. GL on the wish i have no patience for those lol.

monkeymandi23 (author)2009-07-18

I don't get what 'hinge" means in step 4

its just where the paper folds on itself. i couldn't think of a better way to explain it..

Yerboogieman (author)2009-07-17

Got leukemia?

Thanks for the link, the Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes book was where i first head the thousand crane story. Thanks again

REA (author)2009-07-17

センバズル seems like it would be painful. ill just stick to a couple a day.

onaclov (author)2009-07-17

For Christmas, I gave my girlfriend 1000 of these. I managed to do it in 3 weeks. I spent all of my free time in school doing them, and even the teachers didn't mind, they thought it was really neat. My girlfriend loved them, and has them in a box on a shelf in her room. Definitely worth the effort, and these instructions are great to help you get started.

Miscelinious (author)onaclov2009-07-17

That's really cool. Very soon, I'm going to string them all together and hang them. But for right now, i have put them in very nice boxes that are displaying them around my room. (:

thepelton (author)2009-07-17

I saved a copy of this. This is neat. Regardless of getting your wish or not, they make nice decorations.

Jake-off (author)2009-07-17

thats friggin awesom. my friend john was trying to make 1000 of these before school ended. i think it drove him insane

About This Instructable




More by Miscelinious:Father's Day--Broken Watch GiftHow to fold a Flapping Hummingbird!How to make 1,000 cranes (Pocket Sized!)
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