A paper crane is an ancient origami pattern that symbolizes health and peace. For centuries there were no written directions for folding origami models. The directions were taught to each generation and then handed down to the next. This form of art became part of the cultural heritage of the Japanese people. In 1797, How to Fold 1000 Cranes was published. This book contained the first written set of origami instructions which told how to fold a crane. The crane was considered a sacred bird in Japan. It was a Japanese custom that if a person folded 1000 cranes, they would be granted one wish.
Making an origami crane is not too difficult. Here’s how:
1. Fold the bottom point of a square piece of paper up to meet the top point. Crease and unfold. Repeat for the left and right points.
2. Turn the paper over (one edge should face you) and fold the left edge to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold. Repeat for the top and bottom edges. Rotate the paper so that any point faces you.
3. Grasp the left and right points and push them together and down to meet at the bottom point. Flatten. This step will give you a two-layered, diamond-shaped piece of paper.
4. Fold the lower right edge of the top layer of paper in toward the center so that it lies along the center vertical fold line. Crease and repeat for the lower left edge. Turn the paper over and repeat for the other side.
5. Fold the triangle at the top of the paper down. Crease and unfold. Turn your paper over and repeat. Unfold the flaps made in Step 4.
6. Point the open end of the diamond shape toward you. Bring the bottom point up (top layer only) toward the top point. The left and right points will be drawn inward and the paper will fold backward along the crease made in Step 5. Flatten the paper.
7. Turn your paper over and repeat Step 6. You will have two triangles on either side of the paper that touch at their bases. The two bottom flaps will be the crane’s neck and tail; the top flaps will be the wings.
8. Repeat Step 4 for the longer diamond shape you now have in front of you. This narrows the crane’s neck and tail.
9. Fold the bottom flaps up as far as you can so that their points angle up and out. Crease. Turn the paper over and fold one of the points down to make the crane’s head.
10. Pull the top flaps (wings) down and out so that the center portion of the paper (the crane’s back) is rounded out instead of pointed.
Work on a hard surface and sharpen each crease by running your thumbnail or a pencil over it. Sharp creases are essential to the successful completion of this model.
Practice on scrap paper first and then move on to specially made origami paper. Origami paper has the appropriate thickness and weight you will need to achieve clean, sharp creases.