One Thousand Paper Cranes

cranes2I love folding paper canes, always and everywhere. At the moment I’m spending most of my time clearing out cardboard boxes full of old stuff and I keep finding paper cranes everywhere. Most of them aren’t made of origami paper, but of old receipts, flyers, pages of textbooks or corners of writing paper. I once read a book about a boy who had covered his entire bedroom ceiling in strings of paper cranes, and I think this inspired me to start folding

I rolled back over to look into the rest of the room and saw birds dancing between me and the ceiling. […] Dozens of origami birds of every shape, size, and color danced slowly in the air from the heating vents, life in slow motion. The now-brilliant light through the tall window cast moving bird-shaped shadows all around the room: on the ceiling, on the walls, over the top of the stacks and shelves of books, across the comforter, across my face. It was beautiful.

crane bookThis boy is called Sam, he is one of the main characters in Maggie Stiefvater’s book Linger. The book tells the story of a girl falling in love with a guy turns into a wolf when it gets colder. This story was moderately interesting to me – as a teenager even I had my ‘supernatural romance’ phase – but what stuck with me most is the fascinating idea of a thousand paper cranes full of memories.

I reached up to still it and then moved among the birds, looking at what they were made of. The one that had knocked against my head was folded out of newsprint. Here was one folded out of a glossy magazine cover. Another from a paper beautifully and intricately printed with flowers and leaves. One that looked like it had once been a tax worksheet. Another, misshapen and tiny, made out of two dollar bills taped together. A school report card from a correspondence school out of Maryland. So many stories and memories folded up for safekeeping; how like Sam to hang them all above him while he slept.

How to fold your own paper crane

The following tutorial comes from create-it-ni. To fold one crane you need one square piece of paper that is pretty on one side. You will not see the other side after folding the paper into a crane. If you can’t read the small text on the tutorial, you can enlarge it by clicking the picture and zooming in.


crane chainTo make your crane even prettier, you can omit the second part of step 12, (so do create the head, but don’t fold down the wings) and instead hold the crane by its wings and press down lightly on its body. This makes for a soft arch instead of the pyramid shaped body. You can curl the wings downwards by rolling them up a pencil.

Tip: if you want to make a string of cranes, it is easiest to fasten a small bead to the thread in the place where you want the crane. This will keep the crane from sliding down. To keep the bead from sliding you can pull the string through it twice, in the same direction.

Happy Crafting!

p.s. If you want to find out more about the book Linger, you can visit the Shiver Trilogy websiteLinger is the second book in this series.


7 thoughts on “One Thousand Paper Cranes

  1. Hi!!
    I love this entry! It’s so easy to understand.
    Can I please use the step-by-step tutorial picture to teach others?
    I tried to go to create-it-ni but an error kept popping out…so I thought I’d ask you first :)


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