Traditional Origami Crane

Perhaps the most famous origami model of them all, the traditional Crane is known across the world and one of the first ones that people ask for when they find out you know origami. The crane is also one of the most attractive of the traditional models, with a simple, uncluttered appearance. It is used in the logo for the British Origami Society. Several million traditional origami cranes are sent to the Sadoko memorial statue in Japan every year.
As there are not many steps after folding the Bird Base, you can see the creases of the Base very clearly in the crease pattern.

Completed CraneCrane_CP
Step Diagram
1. Begin with the Bird BaseCompleted Bird Base
2. Fold the edges to the centre lineFold the edges to the centre
3. Turn the model overTurn the paper over
4. Fold the edges to the centre lineFold the edges to the centre
5. Fold the bottom left flap up and unfoldFold the point up and unfold
6. Reverse fold the flap along the crease you just madeReverse fold the point
7. Fold the bottom right flap up and unfoldFold the point up and unfold
8. Reverse fold the flap along the crease you just madeReverse fold the point
9. Fold the end of one of the flaps down at an angle and unfoldfold the head down and unfold
10. Reverse fold the flap along the crease you just made
Reverse fold the head
11. Gently ease the wings apart from each other, being careful not to rip the paper. The body of the crane should become more rounded with softer creasesEase the wings apart
12. The crane is completeCompleted Crane

 

Some Shaping ideas

The traditional origami crane is one of those models that is so iconic that shaping it probably isn’t necessary, and overworking the paper might just look odd. The angular lines of the model are part of its appeal. Nevertheless, there are no hard and fast rules on shaping an origami model. Experiment a little. See what works for you.

Some suggestions:

  • Try curling the wings around a pencil to make them feel more like a bird’s wings and less flat
  • Does the model look better if you adjust the angle of the head, neck or tail?
  • Experiment with the head shape. Can you make this feel less angular and more natural? Can you give it a separate head and beak?
  • Does putting some small pleats in the wings give the impression of feathers?
  • Can you soften the edges of the neck and tail to make them less straight?