How to make an origami crane

Learn how to make an origami crane with our easy to follow step-by-step tutorial - so grab a piece of 15cm x 15cm paper, and let us show you how.

How to make an origami crane

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

There is an ancient Japanese legend that says, whosoever folds 1000 paper cranes, will be rewarded with a wish from the gods.

Traditionally, these 1000 paper cranes would be assembled onto 25 strings, each containing 40 cranes – called a senbazuru. Beads are placed at the ends of the strings to stop the cranes from falling off.

The traditional Japanese paper crane is an image that many people all over the world are familiar with as a symbol of peace. Origami cranes are often given as gifts, and folding origami is often used in mindfulness techniques. It is an extremely satisfying way to pass the time, and origami cranes (as well as other origami designs) make brilliant features for cards – just mount onto a coloured background (or card blank) and you’re done.

How to make an origami crane - image credit Carolina Garcia, Unsplash

If you like this article, how to make an origami crane, why not check out some of our other origami inspiration – like these easy origami projects or these origami Christmas decorations? If you’re in a crafty mood, why not check out the best glue gun and best die-cutting machine. Thinking about buying a craft printer to print all your free papers with? Check out our review of the best printer for card making and discover the best printer for printing on card.

We love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to share your craft projects with us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter, too!

Buy origami paper

Origami paper - how to make a paper crane

Buy now: £10.09, Amazon

Speciality origami paper is thinner than regular paper, to enable greater manipulation in terms of the folds. If you’re keen to get into origami, it’s worth investing in some proper paper as it can make the whole experience more enjoyable. This is the paper we used (bottom row, third from the left) – and you get a whopping 180 sheets with 45 beautiful traditional designs. Check out the plethora of 5-star reviews on Amazon for this product!

How to make an origami crane - overhead

How to make an origami crane step by step

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Step 1

Start with a 15 x 15cm square of paper. Begin with the coloured side up (the side you want to show on your final model), then fold and unfold along the diagonals. Turn the paper over.

How to make an origami crane - step 1

How to make an origami crane - step 1b

Step 2

With the “inside” facing up, book fold and unfold the paper.

How to make an origami crane - step 2

Step 3

With the inside still facing up, bring the corners together so that they meet. You will find the paper wants to fold in a particular direction, thanks to the folds we made in steps 1 and 2.

How to make an origami crane - step 3

Step 4

Fold one side of the top layer to meet the centre crease.

How to make an origami crane - step 4

Step 5

Fold the other side of the top layer to meet the centre crease, creating a kite shape.

How to make an origami crane - step 5

Step 6

Fold the top part (the triangle part) down, then unfold again. We’re just aiming to make a crease with this step.

How to make an origami crane - step 6

How to make an origami crane - step 6b

Step 7

Unfold the two side flaps.

How to make an origami crane - step 7

Step 8

Lift the top layer upwards. Thanks to the folds you’ve just made, the paper will want to go in a certain direction. Flatten the model and press the creases down.

How to make an origami crane - step 8

Step 9

Turn your model over.

How to make an origami crane - step 9

Step 10

Repeat steps 4-8 on this side. Your origami crane will now resemble an elongated diamond.

How to make an origami crane - step 10

How to make an origami crane - step 10b

How to make an origami crane - step 10c

How to make an origami crane - step 10d

Step 11

Bring the sides in to meet the middle, so that you are narrowing the bottom points on the top layer.

How to make an origami crane - step 11

Step 12

Repeat on the opposite side.

How to make an origami crane - step 12

Step 13

Turn your model over, and fold the sides inwards on both sides.

How to make an origami crane - step 13

How to make an origami crane - step 13b

Step 14

Next, fold one of the sides up. This is called a reverse fold – you are aiming to fold the point up so that the base sits inside the outer sections (this will become either the head or the tail of your origami crane). You may need to open the model a little to do this.

How to make an origami crane - step 14

Step 15

Repeat for the other point.

How to make an origami crane - step 15

Step 16

Decide which side you want to be the head, and which side you want to be the tail. To create the head, reverse fold one of the points down, about 1″ (2.5cm) from the end.

How to make an origami crane - step 16

Step 17

Almost there! Next, bring the wings down, and fold so that it holds its shape. Pull the wings gently outwards (along the horizontal) to shape the body.

How to make an origami crane - step 17

Step 18

Congratulations! You have completed a paper crane! If you make 999 more of them (so you have a 1000), your wish will be granted…

How to make an origami crane - step 18

How to make an origami crane - step 18b
How to make an origami crane
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How to make an origami crane, image credit Kevin Lanceplaine, Unsplash

More origami paper

1. Handmade origami paper

Buy now: £11.99, Amazon

Origami paper - handmade, Amazon

Okay – so you’ve practised a model, and now you want to make a special one? Perhaps as a gift, or to make a topper on the front of a card? Well, this handmade paper is perfect for when you want to create something a little more special.

2. Vibrant colours, double-sided

Buy now: £7.37, Amazon

Tuttle origami paper - vibrant colours
Tuttle origami paper - vibrant colours, back of pack

This is the origami paper we used for the steps photos – it’s great, because not only is it double-sided, but the sides are different colours so it really adds a little bit extra to those designs where you see both sides of the paper. Plus it comes as loose leaf, which is handy.

3. Traditional origami paper

Origami for beginners

Buy now: £5.99, Amazon

This pack of origami paper comes in traditional designs with a great price point. There are 24 different designs and 100 sheets. They’re double-sided, too so if you’re looking to get into the hobby without splashing too much cash – this is a great option.

4. Marbled origami paper

Marbled origami paper, Amazon

Buy now: £10.99, Amazon

This paper collection features more contemporary designs – but aren’t the marbled designs gorgeous?

How to make an origami crane

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article, how to make an origami crane. We have plenty of other origami projects here on Gathered, too – like these Christmas origami projects, this origami lampshade or these adorable (and super easy) origami cats.