How to Make Paper Cranes

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Paper cranes are a classic origami project, and making them involves a series of carefully placed creases and folds. Create origami cranes that can be used as decoration with instructions from a former middle school art teacher in this free video on paper crafts.

Part of the Video Series: Paper Craft Projects
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Video Transcript

I'm going to show you how to make a paper crane out of a flat piece of paper. It helps when your paper is exactly square, so that's what you want to make sure. And I happen to have some origami paper which happens to be colored on one side and white on the other, which is making it more fun. What you want to do to start off, turn your color over, if you have that kind of paper, and start with diagonal folds, line up your corners, bring it down to the center and crease it out. Now if you're having problems with doing creasing, because you do want these creases to be as sharp as possible, you're going to line up the other one, if you have problems doing creasing, you could use your hands or you can use a ruler or you can even use a pencil, something that you can drag across to give you sharp edges. Now that you have your X, you want to take and fold it into rectangles, like that, open your paper and do the other side. So you're going to have an X in the middle and across in the middle, you're going to have four lines, just like that. Holding the point towards you, so you're going to have it turned a little bit, you're going to take the left corner, and hold the point down with your thumb, bring this up to your diagonal fold and crease it down, remember, keeping it sharp. I like to turn it and hold the point up above to keep it so it will line up to that center line also, and bring it down and crease it. Now that's one of your four corners. You have three lines, 1,2,3 there right coming out, I still have to do these three corners. So all four corners should have this crease. And if you do, besides looking at it, you should be able to kind of get it bunched up a little bit together, it looks like a four pointed star. So you got them all. Go back to your original diagonal, like this, re-crease. Whenever you're redoing something go ahead and crease it again, it helps. We have a square right in here that that's where we're going to fold it down into, so you kind of hold this down, slip your thumb inside, and kind of bring this up into that fold, or that line I should say, tuck it in, fold it down and crease it, so we've tucked it in. I'm going to do the same thing on the left side. I'm going to hold the right side down, get my hand up inside there, open it up, fold it back in. Sometimes you have to help them get where you need to be. So now you have this, kind of a square and it's opened into that. Laying it back down again, I'm going to make the kite fold again, but my lines are already here. So this end is all closed, this end has all these flaps, that's the side towards you, you're going to hold all but the very top piece down, and you're going to kind of guide it up in and follow those lines that are forming your kite, and crease it back down, so I've done that, flip it over and do the same thing. Hold all those pieces down, just take the top, guide it in, tuck it in to that previous line that you had in there, and bring it back down. And make sure that you have the nice folds, maybe even flip it over one more time to get that. Now the open side with all the flaps is still towards you. You're going to open this all the way up flat, turn it over and open that flat and crease this down. So this side is together, this side has a split. So you're going to fold this in to the center line and into the center line, so you're making this area stronger and thinner. Turn it over and you do the same thing on the other side, so both the sides will be nice and thin, like that. This will be for the head and the tail. Okay. Now on these sides, you see how you can kind of slip your fingers inside here, you're going to just pinch these sides together and these sides together, and press that down. So you folded this over, you still got your split down here, it almost looks like two little legs, what you're going to do, these will be your wings, you fold- or those will be your wings eventually, the head is going to come from here, so you fold this all the way up to the point, turn it over, fold it up to the point on the other side, so it's looking like this. Now you reach, once again, inside the sides and you pinch, or fold this together to close it and you fold the other side together. So it's going to look like this, and these two little things kind of poking out here. And what you're going to do is, you're going to take one of these and you're going to bring it forward out of that inside tuck, out to the edge here, which is part of the leg, so see how that's showing there. You do the same thing on the other side, bring it out, guide it, and press that down in. Then these two come right out like this, these will be the wings for the crane. Now choosing whatever side you want, I think I'll make this side my head, because it's a little bit messed up there and this side will be for the tail so that looks nicer. And what you do is you take and you bend the head down how you want the cranes head to be, that's going to look good, and you bring it back up and you tuck it down inside and give it a pinch to help it stay there, so this would be the tail, this would be the head. And we can make this body kind of be out poofy a little bit so it'll stand on its own. So what you need to do is kind of reach down here on the body, and just very carefully pull out on the body to get him to be a little bit fatter and we can make him stand a little bit by helping his legs kind of fold out just a little bit, not necessarily a big huge crease, but something like that. And there's your crane. Thank you very much, this has been Lynn Reynolds with your paper crane.


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