Easy Origami Crane Instructions

Steps to Fold a Paper Crane

origami crane
Creedence Gerlach
  • 01 of 36

    Introduction

    origami crane
    Creedence Gerlach

    Learn how to make the iconic traditional origami crane with this easy to follow step-by-step tutorial. You will need one sheet of square paper for this project.

    People often associate origami with the origami crane, or tsuru. It's especially popular due to the story of 1001 cranes (senbazuru), but its simplicity is hard to argue with.

    This well-known origami model is easy to intermediate level. It's a great model for beginners after you've completed other simple models, such as the boat or fox.

    To make this project, you need a square piece of origami paper. A larger piece of paper will be easier to use if you are a beginner.

    Continue to 2 of 36 below.
  • 02 of 36

    Make a Square Base

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Start by making an origami square base. Begin with your paper color side up.

    Continue to 3 of 36 below.
  • 03 of 36

    Fold Diagonally

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold the paper in half diagonally.

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  • 04 of 36

    Unfold

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Unfold. There should now be a crease in the paper from the diagonal fold.

    Continue to 5 of 36 below.
  • 05 of 36

    Fold Diagonally Again

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Now fold the paper in half diagonally in the other direction.

    Continue to 6 of 36 below.
  • 06 of 36

    Unfold Again

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Unfold the paper. Your square should now have two diagonal creases, forming an "X."

    Continue to 7 of 36 below.
  • 07 of 36

    Flip Over

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Flip the paper over to the other side.

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  • 08 of 36

    Fold Horizontally

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold the paper in half horizontally.

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  • 09 of 36

    Unfold

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Unfold to reveal the new crease from the previous fold.

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  • 10 of 36

    Fold Vertically

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    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold the paper in half in vertically. 

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  • 11 of 36

    Unfold Again

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Unfold to reveal the new crease.

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  • 12 of 36

    Fold From Top Down

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Bring the top point down to the bottom, while also folding the left and right corners down into the center.

    Continue to 13 of 36 below.
  • 13 of 36

    Finish Origami Square Base

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    You should now have a diamond shape, with a vertical crease running down the center—this is an origami square base.

    Continue to 14 of 36 below.
  • 14 of 36

    Begin a Squash Fold

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Starting with your square base, make sure the open end is at the bottom. Fold the right lower edge to the central crease.

    Continue to 15 of 36 below.
  • 15 of 36

    Fold Left Side

    origami crane instructions - squash fold
    Creedence Gerlach

     Now follow suit with the left side; fold the left lower edge to the central crease.

    Continue to 16 of 36 below.
  • 16 of 36

    Fold Top Down

    origami crane instructions - squash fold
    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold the top section down.

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  • 17 of 36

    Unfold

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Now unfold the previous three folds.

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  • 18 of 36

    Pull Bottom Up

    Origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Pull one layer up from the bottom, along the creases you just made.

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  • 19 of 36

    Finish Squash Fold

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Push the left and right edges inwards. 

    This is called a squash fold—you can see the wing is fully "squashed" into place.

    Continue to 20 of 36 below.
  • 20 of 36

    Flip Over

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Flip the model over to the other side.

    Continue to 21 of 36 below.
  • 21 of 36

    Repeat the Squash Fold

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Repeat the same steps of the squash fold on this side, starting with the lower right fold to the central crease.

    Continue to 22 of 36 below.
  • 22 of 36

    Fold the Left

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Now fold the left side to the central crease.

    Continue to 23 of 36 below.
  • 23 of 36

    Fold Top Down

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold the top section down (the smaller triangle) to meet the two folds you just made.

    Continue to 24 of 36 below.
  • 24 of 36

    Unfold

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Unfold the last three folds you just made.

    Continue to 25 of 36 below.
  • 25 of 36

    Pull Bottom Up

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Pull one layer up from the bottom, along the creases you just made.

    Continue to 26 of 36 below.
  • 26 of 36

    Finish Squash Fold

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Push the left and right edges inwards to complete the second squash fold.

    Continue to 27 of 36 below.
  • 27 of 36

    Fold Lower Right

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold lower right edge to the central crease.

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  • 28 of 36

    Fold the Other Side

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold the bottom left corner in the same way, to the crease.

    Continue to 29 of 36 below.
  • 29 of 36

    Flip Over

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Flip the model over.

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  • 30 of 36

    Fold the Right Corner

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Now fold the entire right lower corner to meet the central crease.

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  • 31 of 36

    Fold the Left Side

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold the left lower corner to meet the central crease.

    Continue to 32 of 36 below.
  • 32 of 36

    Fold the Neck of the Crane

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Fold the lower right flap up, under, and out to the right.

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  • 33 of 36

    Fold the Tail of the Crane

    origami crane instructions
    Creedence Gerlach

    Do the same with the left side (the tail).

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  • 34 of 36

    Fold the Head of the Crane

    origami crane
    Creedence Gerlach

    Create a head by flattening the flap, and inside reverse folding a little section down at the top.

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  • 35 of 36

    Fold Out the Wings

    origami crane
    Creedence Gerlach

    Complete your crane by folding out the wings.

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  • 36 of 36

    How to Display Your Cranes

    origami crane
    Creedence Gerlach

    There are so many ways you can display your origami cranes! They make great party decor, table decor, or string together a bunch to make a garland.

    • For a more creative approach, try attaching them to skewers to put in drinks or on top of cakes.
    • Gather a large branch that you can hang up, and then hang a bunch of origami cranes and other origami models from it!