Origami is the traditional paper-folding art from Japan. Squares of patterned paper are turned into beautiful shapes, including frogs, giraffes and birds. The origami paper crane is one of the most basic concepts to master when beginning origami as a hobby. Once you master the folds of this art form, you can expand your origami hobby to more intricate shapes.
Place the paper, colored-side up, on a flat surface so it forms a diamond. Fold the top corner to meet the bottom corner, and crease the paper. Unfold to make the paper flat again. Fold the right corner to meet the left corner, and crease the paper. Unfold to make the paper flat again.
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Flip the paper over so it is white-side up and facing you in a square. Fold the top edge to meet the bottom edge and crease. Unfold the paper so it lays flat. Fold the right edge to meet the left edge and crease. Unfold the paper so it lays flat.
Turn the paper so it looks like a diamond. Using the folds you have made, bring the top three corners of the diamond to meet the bottom corner. Flatten to form a smaller diamond shape.
Fold the right edge of the paper, from the right corner down, to meet the middle of the paper and crease. Unfold. Fold the left edge of the paper, from the left corner down, to meet the middle of the paper and crease. Unfold.
Fold the top portion of the diamond down toward the center. Crease well. Unfold.
Open the uppermost flap. Bring it upward, and press the sides inward at the same time. Flatten down and crease well.
Turn the paper over, and repeat process.
Fold the top flaps into the center and crease. Turn over, and repeat on the other side, so the paper looks like an elongated diamond.
Fold both "legs" up, creasing well. Unfold.
Fold each leg up along the creases you just made, folding each leg, essentially, in half.
Fold one "leg" down about 1/2 inch to make the crane's head. Fold the large side flaps down to make the wings.
If you have never folded origami before, use store-bought origami paper so your dimensions are correct. As you gain more experience, you can cut your own origami squares.