TUTORIAL Folding the origami crane

If there is a traditional folding par excellence, it is that of the origami crane ( tsuru in Japanese). In Japan, this majestic bird is a symbol of good fortune and longevity. In this new article, I will teach you how to make an origami crane step by step.


Folding the crane was the first thing I learned to do, more than 15 years ago now! It was during a small designer fair, during which I presented my work, that an adorable Japanese woman taught me this folding. For more than an hour, I made dozens of cranes, tirelessly. Today, I could almost do it with my eyes closed!


This folding, although it involves many steps, is actually much easier than it seems! It's an origami classic. In Japan, it is linked to the tradition of 1000 cranes (senbazuru in Japanese) which consists of making a garland of 1000 paper birds in order to offer it to a sick person to wish them a speedy recovery. It has also become a symbol of peace and a call to life since the end of the 1950s following the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who fell ill following the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima, of which I invite you to discover the story.



In order to make an origami crane, you will need:


This folding can obviously be available in several sizes . If you choose :

  • 1 square of 7.5cm side , you will obtain a crane approximately 3.3cm wide by 3.8cm high (flat)
  • 1 square of 15cm side , you will obtain a crane approximately 6.6cm wide by 7.6cm high (flat)
  • 1 square of 20cm side , you will obtain a crane approximately 8.3cm wide by 9.5cm high (flat)

If you want to practice this folding, you can use 15cm by 15cm squares of paper from the Japanese brand Toyo . With one side colored and white on the other, they are perfect for practicing origami. It is a paper that marks the folds well and is perfect for learning origami.

Let’s move on to the folding explanations without further ado!


  1. With the white side facing you, mark (fold and unfold) the medians (horizontal and vertical) and the diagonals.
    Then take
    your square of paper, white side towards you and points placed up and down (in a diamond shape). Fold in half....
  2. ...to form a triangle.
    Fold the tip of left (indicated by the •) downwards, ...
  3. ...by opening the fold.
  4. Flatten to form a square.
  5. Turn the fold over.
  6. Fold the tip at the bottom left (indicated by the •) on the tip at the bottom right, ...
  7. ... gradually open the fold...
  8. ...and flatten to form a square.


  9. Rotate the fold, opening down.
    Fold the right and left sides over the central fold.
  10. You get this.
  11. Turn the fold over.
  12. Fold the right and left sides over the central fold.
  13. Fold the tip from top to bottom, on the fold.
  14. Unfold the top flap...
  15. ...then the left and right shutters.
  16. Grasp the bottom tip,...
  17. ... pull it upwards, opening the fold ...


  18. ...and flatten. You get this.
  19. Turn the fold over.
  20. Repeat steps 16 to 18 on this side. Grasp the bottom tip, ...
  21. ...pull it up and flatten it.
  22. “Front” side: Fold the small points on the left and right onto the central fold as indicated by the dotted lines.
  23. You get this.
  24. Turn the fold over.
  25. “Back” side: Fold the small points on the left and right on the central fold as indicated by the dotted lines.
  26. You get this.
  27. Fold one against the other: the two “Front” flaps and the two “Back” flaps...
  28. ... like this.
  29. You get this.


  30. Grab the bottom tip and pull it up onto the top tip.
  31. Flatten.
  32. Turn the fold over.
  33. Repeat steps 30 and 31 on this side.
  34. You get this.
  35. Fold the two flaps on the front and the two flaps on the back against each other.
  36. ... like this. You get this result.
  37. Make an oblique fold.
  38. Unfold.
  39. Tuck the fold inward. The head of the crane is formed.
  40. The crane is formed.


  41. Gently open the wings.
  42. The crane is finished!

This folding is taken from my origami book published by Marabout, “ Origami as by magic ” which brings together no less than 50 foldings. Designed to be as accessible and fun as possible, this book details each fold, classified in order of difficulty, composed of photos and drawings (for the most complex steps). If you want to be tempted, it is available in store and on the e-shop!


I'll be back in the next few weeks for new articles about origami!

See you soon,



Have you ever made an origami crane?
What was the first origami fold you learned ?

Tell us more below in the comments!

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