Easy Origami Crane Instructions

Steps to Fold a Paper Crane

  • 01 of 06


    easy origami crane tutorial 01
    Chrissy Pk

    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.

    Everyone associates origami with this 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 to introduce after 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 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Make a Square Base

    easy origami crane tutorial 02
    Chrissy Pk

    Start by making an origami square base.

    Begin with your paper color side up.

    1. Fold the paper in half diagonally and unfold, then fold the paper in half diagonally in the other direction.
    2. Flip the paper over to the other side. Fold the paper in half, and unfold, then fold it in half in the other direction. 
    3. Bring the top point down to the bottom, whilst folding the left and right corners down into the center as well.
    4. You should now have this, this is an origami square base.
    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Make a Squash Fold

    easy origami crane tutorial 03
    Chrissy Pk
    1. Starting with your square base, make sure the open end is at the bottom. Fold the left and right lower edges to the central crease, and unfold.
    2. Fold the top section down from the previous two creases. Unfold.
    3. Pull one layer up from the bottom, along the areas you just made.
    4. Push the left and right edges inwards, this is called a squash fold.
    5. Now the wing is fully squashed into place.
    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Repeat the Squash Fold

    easy origami crane tutorial 04
    Chrissy Pk
    1. Flip the model over to the other side from left to right and repeat the same steps on that side.
    2. Fold lower left and right edges to the central crease.
    3. Flip the model over to the other side, from left to right.

    Repeat on this side.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Finishing the Crane

    easy origami crane tutorial 05
    Chrissy Pk
    1. Fold the lower right flap up and out to the right and unfold.
    2. Open out that flap and inside reverse fold it up to the right.
    3. Do the same with the tail.
    4. Now you can fold both wings down and create a head by flattening the flap and inside reverse folding a little section down at the top.

    You have finished your origami crane.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    How to Display Your Cranes

    Origami Cranes Hanging from a rod on beaded strings
    sarabbit/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Now you can decide how to use your paper crane. There are so many ways you can display your origami cranes. Simply placing them on a surface can look wonderful.

    You can also hang them from clear plastic thread, string them up together—either one on top of the other or on separate strings for a very Asian look. Other ideas include attaching them to a wall, attaching them to skewers to put in drinks or on top of cakes.

    A more elaborate idea is to get a large branch that you can hang up, you can then decorate it by hanging origami cranes and other origami models from it.