Sunday, March 20, 2011

Paper Cranes

I have always loved the Japanese art of folding paper called Origami.  In particular, paper cranes.  In Japan, the crane is a symbol of hope and good luck.  And it is said that if you fold 1000 paper cranes your wish will come true.

A few years ago, I organized a project based on the children's book "Sadako And The Thousand Cranes" by  Eleanor Coerr.  

The kids and adults at our church folded 1000 cranes, strung them together on long strings, and sent them to Japan.  They were hung in the Peace Park in Hiroshima, with our wish for world peace.  
(This photo courtesy of Children's Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, Japan.)

This week I spent a lot of time  glued to the news, hearing about the multiple disasters that have affected the people of Japan.  Earthquakes, tsunami, fire  and the nuclear threat.  My heart goes out to all those who have lost family, friends, homes, pets, livestock and businesses.  I pray for those on the search and rescue teams,  and for those brave souls,  who at great personal risk, are trying to keep the nuclear plant from a complete meltdown.

There are groups that are using the paper crane to raise awareness about the plight of the people in Japan.  Groups like  American Red Cross,   Heart to Heart,   Shelter Box,  etc... are collecting funds to provide humanitarian relief, food, shelter and medical care to the survivors.  PLEASE GIVE WHAT YOU CAN.   Every dollar helps. 

Do you want to learn how to fold a paper crane?

 There are lots of colored and printed papers available.

Select  one square.

Fold it in half diagonally, both ways.

 Fold it in half to make a rectangle,  both ways. 

Keeping the fold at the top, take one corner and fold it to the center.

 Flip it over,  and fold the other corner to the center.

 Insert your finger into the bottom, slightly turn the paper and flatten into a square.

Fold the open edges towards the center to form what looks like a kite shape.

 Flip it and fold the other side the same way.  It will look like this.

 Fold the top point down.  (fold it to the back and to the front, to make the next step easier.)

 Unfold  the top point and sides to look like a square again.  Then lift the open edge. Pull it all the way open bending along that top crease.  This will pull the sides in.  Invert the side folds to make a diamond shape. 

 Flip it over and and do the same thing to the other side and it will look like this.
The top half will be solid and the bottom half will have a split.

Fold the split side in towards the center again, to make it more narrow.  

 Do that to each side.

 Then flip it over and do it on the reverse side too.  It will look like this, with solid pieces at the top.  And the bottom will have two skinnier split section that look like long points.

Take one pointed bottom piece and slightly unfold it and push it  almost all the way up into the middle of the top section, and then pinch it flat again, inside itself.

 Repeat to the other  pointed section and it will look like this.
(Note: that the bottom edge should be at an  slight angle, not exactly straight.)

 Push the tip of one of the  points down into itself and flatten and  to make a head.   
The remaining point becomes the tail. 

Gently pull out on the wings and the crane will open up.  
You can push down on the body a bit to make it stay open.  

I folded more paper cranes today.  
I hope you will join me.
Fold a crane.  Make a donation.  Keep the people of Japan in your thoughts and prayers.


  1. Wonderful idea. Our daughter and son-in-law were married just after 9-11 and instead of flowers at their wedding they donated the money they would have spent on flowers to the victim funds for 9-11.

    She also folded 1,400 cranes - each with a wish written inside for their wedding - we strung them vertically, combined with beads and ribbons - and hung them all over the hall where they were married - it was magnificent.

  2. We need to be reminded every day because our world news is so fast-moving (and media's attention span is the size of a gnat).

  3. I've never made a paper crane. Even though you wrote out all the steps, it still looks pretty hard.

  4. WoW that's a lot of cranes! What a great project. It is such a tragic situation in Japan.

    There is a little flower shop up in KC called Crestwood Flowers. It's in Brookside. They have paper cranes hanging in their window. For some reason I'm drawn to paper cranes too.

  5. Thanks to share this wonderful post with us.
    Our daughter Fleur made many cranes for us, they are hanging in our bedroom. It was a gift for our wedding anniversary and I enjoy the sight of it every evening ánd morning ...

    Bye, Carolien

  6. Your cranes are beautiful, Gayle. The papers are so colorful. The dear people of Japan have suffered greatly these last few weeks.

    Thank you for stopping by with your words of encouragement. They mean so much.

  7. This is so cool, and yours were so pretty, thanks for sharing.

  8. I had a book on origami and could spend hours foldin' my creations. What an awesome array of cranes you have photoed.

    Yes, my heart and prayers go out to Japan. I just cannot wrap my brain around what they are goin' through.

    God bless ya and enjoy this beautiful day we are given. :o)

  9. I used to do that with my class when i was teaching full-time. What a good idea to do it now to help he japanese people.

  10. HOW WONDERFUL! I have always wanted to know how to make these. I had a friend who had 1,000 given to her as a wedding present. They hung from a very tall ceiling in her home, just beautiful!

    I have put your name under the Owl Pinkeep. Just as cute as can be! Thank you so much. My address is on my blog for you.


  11. Thanks for your visit. I love this idea..we used to have Japanese students stay with us and they made lots of things like this, We all need to be giving thats for sure! :D

  12. Wonderful how you explained the how-to. And great work you are doing! Thank you for your lovely comment on creJJtion,
    love Maaike

  13. First can I just tell you...I am so glad to see a post from you! and your sweet coment just made me smile. I love all the cranes...a few years back when my oldest daughter was going through a really hard time she made cranes ALL THE TIME. She then made a garland that went around her entire bedroom. I didn't know that they are a symbol of hope and good luck. Love that! Have a sweet day!


  14. Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting on my doll bed post. I'm looking forward to exploring your blog too! Your cranes are fabulous.

  15. What a wonderful post. And great detail in your instructions. We make a origami bird mobil kit out of recycled newsprint and book pages in our shop. Love it. Thank-you for your visit. Happy Spring.

  16. I loved your post, you are a true blessing! We use to host Japanese students and they taught our girls how to fold a few different origami animals. We have made a donation to the American Red Cross to help. This was indeed a tragedy and our hearts and prayers go out to all.
    Have a sweet day and hugs,

  17. I'm going to mark this page to come back and try to make these! I would love to try! ♥


THANK YOU for your thoughtful comments. Replies to your questions will be posted here, so be sure to check back soon. Have a wonderful day! - Gayle, Garden Of Daisies