My daughter and I always get addicted to folding paper ornaments that we slip into our holiday cards as a small gift. Our favorite is the crane, because of its wonderful tradition. It's a great toy for young children.
If you have never made an origami crane, you don’t know what you are missing. Here is how you can make one of these wonderful and fanciful creatures of your own:
1. Start with a square piece of paper colored side up. It’s essential that the paper is square, so I highly recommend using only origami paper that is white on one side.
2. Place the paper in front of you so that it is a diamond shape. Fold the top corner of the paper down to the bottom corner. We call this the taco fold. Crease VERY WELL and open again. (When I crease, I use the surface of my thumbnail and rub the crease a few times with it). Then, fold the paper in half sideways.
3. Turn the paper over so that the white side faces up and the paper is sitting in front of you looking like a square rather than a diamond. Fold the paper in half, crease well and open, and then fold it again in the opposite direction. We call these the closet folds.
4. Now you have some clean and useful creases. This sounds wild, but bring the top three corners down to the bottom corner and flatten the model. It now looks sort of like a silly puppet mouth.
5. Fold the top (side) triangular flaps into the center and unfold.
6. Fold the top of the model downwards, make great creases, and unfold.
Flip the model over and repeat steps 5 and 6.
7. Now, the model is flat and the open edges are facing you, the top is all folded together and it is again in a diamond (or kite) shape in front of you.
8. Open the uppermost flap of the model, bring it upwards and press the sides inwards at the same time. This is tricky! In class, we call this the banana boat fold. Flatten it and crease those creases!
9. Turn the model over and repeat step 8.
10. Fold the top flaps into the center crease.
11. Repeat on the back (other) side and your model should look like this:
12. Fold both legs of the model up, crease, unfold. We call this phase the dancing alien.
13. Inside reverse fold the ‘legs’ along the creases you just made.
14. Pull the wings out gently and smooth them. Decide which of the narrow tips should be the head and inside reverse fold the tip to form a head. Viola - a crane!