Introduction: How to Make a Paper Crane

Picture of How to Make a Paper Crane

Paper cranes are an origami classic, made popular in American culture by the stories inspired by the Japanese legend that one who creates a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish. (Read: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes)

But before we can get busy working on our wishes, we need to start with how to make one! Let's go.

Step 1: Hip to Be Square

Picture of Hip to Be Square

For this project you will need 1 square piece of paper (preferably origami paper)*, and nimble fingers.

*I used 5.9x5.9" origami paper.

Step 2: X Folds

Picture of X Folds

The first step is to fold the square diagonally, corner to corner. Repeat the same process again so that it looks like an x on your paper. Make sure that you properly align the edges or else your crane won't fold as well. Make sure it is as perfect as possible.

Step 3: + Folds

Picture of + Folds

The second step is to flip the paper over and fold the paper in half horizontally. Repeat this process again so that your paper looks like a + and a x on top of each other. Make sure it is pefect just like with the x. Making sure your folds are aligned perfectly is a key part of this.

Step 4: Accordion Fold

Picture of Accordion Fold

Open the square up, keeping the colored side down. Turn the square so that one of the corners is pointing at you.

Bring the two side corners in to meet the corner on the table that's pointing at you. (like pictured)

Take the top corner that's still sticking up and press it down to join the other corners, creating an accordion folded square.

Step 5: Superman Fold

Picture of Superman Fold

With the 'flap' corners still facing you, take the top right hand corner of the square and fold it into the center diagonal line of the square. The result of your folds will look a bit like the Superman logo shape. Repeat this with the left top corner.

Step 6: Top Fold

Picture of Top Fold

Once both parts are folded in pull the top part down and press the crease.

Step 7: Frog Mouth to Diamond Fold

Picture of Frog Mouth to Diamond Fold

After you have both halves of the triangle pulled in pull them back out and lift up the top piece of paper.

Next, lift up the top front corner and hold down the other three front corners. Pull the top corner up. It should look look like a frogs mouth.

The next part is a bit tricky. Pull the top corner all the up and back so that the top piece lies flat. Carefully press all the folds down so that you end up with a diamond shape on top of the bottom diagonal square.

Step 8: Press Repeat

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Flip the paper over and repeat Steps 5-7 to the other side.

Step 9: Skinny Kite Fold

Picture of Skinny Kite Fold

Next, fold the right top corner of the diamond in to meet the center line. Press down that fold.

Repeat this for the left top corner.

Flip the paper over and repeat the above steps for the other side. You'll end up with something that looks a bit like a skinny kite shape.

Step 10: Wolf's Head Fold

Picture of Wolf's Head Fold

Now, lift up the top right side and press it over to the other side, like turning a page in a book. Press down the middle fold.

Flip the paper over and repeat this in the same direction, right to left, on the other side.

You will end up with a very elongated 'wolf's head' shape.

Step 11: Snout Flip Fold

Picture of Snout Flip Fold

Lift up the wolfs snout and fold it so it meets with the tips of the ears. Press that new fold down.

Flip the paper over and repeat on the other side.

Step 12: Book Fold

Picture of Book Fold

Like you did in Step 9, fold the right side top layer of the paper in a book fold, from right to left.

Flip the paper over and repeat on the other side.

Step 13: Heads & Tails Fold

Picture of Heads & Tails Fold

Next, you pull out the long pieces of paper (the head/neck & tail). Pull them both out so that they line up with the angle of the body fold. (like pictured)

Bend the top of one side down to make the head.

Step 14: Flap Folds

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Fold both wings down where two different angles meet on the wing flaps. Press the folds.

Step 15: Puff It Up

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To finish off the crane and make it able to stand, gently pull the wings apart where they're folded.

Then turn the crane upside down and gently pull the opposite corners apart to finish opening up the body.

You can also try blowing into the hole on the bottom as you pulll out the wings to make sure you're crane's body is puffed out. Be careful to not pull out the wings too much or they'll rip. If the wings rip you will have to restart your crane with a new piece of paper.

Step 16: You're Finished!

Picture of You're Finished!

Enjoy your brand new origami crane! If you had problems with these steps, please watch the video and re-read the steps. Good luck! I did this project because I love making paper cranes and I'm really good at it. Paper cranes are also cute decorations that cost almost nothing. I hope you"ll enjoy paper cranes as much as I do!


JimL172 made it! (author)2017-11-18

Thank you! I went through a few tutorials online, but this is the first one that provides all the details that others seem to skip or gloss over.

lilyscole made it! (author)2017-07-06

I can't believe how easy it was to make this! Finally someone has made directions that lead to success!!

craftymom1956 (author)2017-07-04

I make a slightly different version that can flap its wings. After step 8, do the book fold, will look similar to wolf head. Fold wide wings up at a slight angle, pull head and tail out, small head fold, larger tail fold. When you hold the bird's chest and pull the tail, gently, the wings will flap. I will curl the wings a little, too. I love your crane, and your inatuctions are very clear and easy to follow. ?

200514 (author)2017-01-09

i hate this i dont know what i am doing wrong

ZizieA (author)2005142017-04-14

pherhaps you could make sure to look at the pictures and compare with yours during each step. if you put a picture here, i could help u figure out where you wnet wrong

MichelleL267 made it! (author)2017-04-02

Finally, a paper crane tutorial I could actually follow and which led to success. Thank you for sharing your simple directions and step by step photos.

ridgwsam0 made it! (author)2017-03-08

It was a lot less complicated then I thought is was going to be, but the end result was really satisfying.

JeanetteV5 made it! (author)2017-01-25

It was complicated for me but I made it!

ClaytonD11 made it! (author)2017-01-09

Wonderful, the steps are simple and easy

sederboy (author)2016-12-19

I loved the easy to read and follow instructions!!

PilgrimDuran made it! (author)2016-12-09

Thank you for the guide. I made myself a small crane.

Rickky261 made it! (author)2016-11-20

Really easy to follow. I already memorized it and have a pile on my table because it's the only thing I know how to make so far... its like my own little army.

Mooghes made it! (author)2016-06-27

I have tried numerous "how to" guides to help me to make one of these and this is the first site which has given clear enough instructions to enable me to make it! Thank you so much!

MattS254 made it! (author)2016-06-20

This was a very swag thing.

Doggy101 (author)2016-02-27

Loved it! :)

candace01 made it! (author)2016-01-06

We have a glass display case in which we feature counting contests at the library I work in. I made these paper
cranes from recycled book pages using your instructions. This set of
instructions was the easiest for everyone in the library to follow! We made dozens!

RenaeN (author)candace012016-01-13

I'm so glad this helped!!! The cranes look wonderful!

JasminG3 (author)2015-12-20

I did it finally!!

dragon0421 made it! (author)2015-11-19

Awesome! Super easy instructions!

RenaeN (author)2015-10-26

I'm so glad this has been of use to all of you lovely commenters. I made this for a school project (the original account was closed as I hadn't used it for 3 years) and I'm shocked that almost a million people have seen this. Good luck to all of you attempting to fold a crane, and thanks for the amazing responses.

sparkld made it! (author)2015-09-11

I MADE 3!!!!!!! ONLY 997 LEFT TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!! but my camera isn't working so no pics just random stuff so it will let me post:(:

MIX_MASTER89 made it! (author)2015-09-07

I made this for a school project! Love these Instructions! Super helpful and the outcome is amazing!

Poppster made it! (author)2015-08-17

This is the only guide that was actually useful for me!! Thank you so much. I have to learn how to make these for school and this has helped me so so much!!!

keracrafts (author)2015-08-16

keracrafts made it! (author)2015-08-16

cool and fun .

keracrafts made it! (author)2015-08-16

cool and fun

irctcweb (author)2015-07-09

In detail step by step guide. I followed your steps and made it.

nllommertnl (author)2015-07-09

nice instructable, and +1 because you didn't call it a swan :)

DanielleG3 (author)2015-07-06

Made it! Getting smaller and smaller now! Brilliant instructions!

Super_seal (author)2015-07-02

thanks for the great instructions!! i have finally made origami that actually looks good because of this!!:)

hsong712 made it! (author)2015-06-14

i made it!

SamStafford95 (author)2015-04-03

Absolutely love it hun! Now that im on tag i have so much time on my hands and this keeps me busy and creative! Looks lovely with coloured paper aswell! X

Guys i am off tag now but i am still enjoying doing this

Cupcake11450 made it! (author)2015-06-08

I liked the instructions. I was successful because of them. :)

Jonathany2 made it! (author)2015-05-08

I think this is how you do it.

DominicB3 (author)2015-04-01

lol cool

GiovannaS (author)2015-03-29

Awesome. Thank you so much for this instructable.

tylerlowe18 made it! (author)2015-03-25

:D loved it. I used to make these all the time, thanks for reminding me how to!

brobbins10 made it! (author)2015-03-19

thank you, I made #1 of 1000 for my true love!:-)

proskills123 (author)2015-03-14

pixelcurious made it! (author)2015-03-01

Great instructable! Thank you very much.

miranda.whitehead2 made it! (author)2015-02-26

here mine

Excellent job Miranda.

Byakuya Uzumaki made it! (author)2015-02-24

thanks this is the easiest tutorial yet!

mac user2234 (author)2011-12-15

perfactly worded. amazing!!!! :-)

#1 way 2 do things (author)2011-12-15

Hi! i want to make one to. See yu at science and at the concert to night. Bye. :)

GeoStelar1224 (author)2011-12-15

Hi, RNmaster! Your paper crane is amazing! I want to make one!

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