How to Make a Paper Crane

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Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 7: 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

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

Step 9: 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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 15: Puff It Up

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!


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!

27 People Made This Project!

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21 Comments

it was great i made it differently but still works and looks great

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. ?

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i hate this i dont know what i am doing wrong

1 reply

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

I loved the easy to read and follow instructions!!

I did it finally!!

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.

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

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

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

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

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

1 reply

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

Awesome. Thank you so much for this instructable.

perfactly worded. amazing!!!! :-)

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