This is a set of instructions for learning how to fold a standard paper crane.
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Step 1: Step 1: Start With a Piece of Square Paper.
Lay your sheet face down (plain side up). Pay attention to paper orientation.
Thinner pieces (such as origami paper) is best.
Step 2: Step 2: Fold Diagnally
Fold the paper diagonally from one corner to the other by bringing the top to the bottom. Try to keep your folds as precisely as possible by carefully matching edges and creasing as firmly to get the neatest final product.
Step 3: Step 3: Repeat in the Other Direction
Step 4: Step 4: Fold the Base
Open up the space between the flaps and flatten so that it creates a square shape. Repeat on the other side.
Step 5: Step 5: Fold Edges Towards Center
Make sure to orient the paper so that the open end points downwards (you shouldn’t be able to unfold anything near the top). Bring one flap to the center line. Repeat on the other three.
Step 6: Step 6: Fold Down the Top
Fold down the triangle created by the last step at the top of the paper and crease. Unfold. Turn over and repeat.
Step 7: Step 7: Unfold the Four Flaps
Step 8: Step 8: Open the Flaps and Flatten the Model Into a Kite Shape
Pull the bottom corner open towards the top of the model, reversing the existing creases from the last three steps, and flatten. Turn over and repeat.
Step 9: Step 9: Fold the Edges of the Model Inwards
Make sure that the top corner (pictured above) inside the model points up. Bring outside of flap towards center crease (similar to what you did in step 5). Repeat on other three.
Step 10: Step 10: Reverse the Flaps
Bring the right hand flap on top of the adjacent one and flatten. Flip over. Repeat (again on the right hand flap) so that two flaps are on each side.
Step 11: Step 11: Fold the Bottom Flaps Upwards
Bring the bottom flap upwards so that the tip is near the top of the model and flatten. Flip over. Repeat.
Step 12: Step 12: Reverse the Flaps Again
Bring the left hand flap on top of the adjacent one and flatten, similar to step 10, creasing the triangle you just made in half. Flip over. Repeat (again on the left hand flap) so that two flaps are on each side.
Step 13: Step 13: Form the Head and Tail
Pull each triangle flap downwards and crease so that it sticks out at a 45 degree angle. These will be the bird's head and tail.
Step 14: Step 14: Tug the Wings Away From the Center
Hold the model so that you can see the top and gently tug the wings away from the middle.
Step 15: Step 15: Flatten the Center
Gently push down on the top of the triangle sticking up in the middle of the model until it flattens into a square. If flattening it is difficult, you can flip the model upside down and blow air into the open space to spread the paper a little. This will create the wings and back.
Step 16: Step 16: Fold the Head
Fold over the end of one of one of the protruding triangles to form the head. If one end is more neat than the other, it’s a good idea to use that one as the tail and hide any imperfections by folding the other one.
Step 17: Step 17: You're Finished!
Congrats! You’ve folded your first crane from start to finish.