Origami Crane Ornaments

“An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury…. In Asia, it is commonly said that folding 1000 paper origami cranes makes a person’s wish come true. This makes them popular gifts for special friends and family.” (from Wikipedia)

Origami cranes make beautiful ornaments that look much more difficult to make than they actually are! The keys to success with origami (from my experience, anyway!) are clear, well written and illustrated instructions, precise folding and the right paper. I found a great website with easy to follow instructions for a variety of origami projects – this site even offers videos and printable pdf’s! How much easier can they make it??! Check out instructions for the origami crane pictured here, and many others, on origami-fun.com.

(As for paper, I recommend not using foil paper until you’ve had a chance to practice with some of the more basic papers. While foil papers can be beautiful, they are also much less forgiving of mis-folds! And most important of all…. before you begin, make sure your paper is a perfect square – equal on all sides!)

I will be making cranes with my 6th graders this week, but a motivated 4th grader could also handle this project. I like to have my students fold their cranes along with me as I demonstrate with a larger piece of paper. Some students will need individual attention when they get “stuck”, so if you have a large class, it’s a good idea to have extra parent volunteers circulating the room. I also give each student a page of printed instructions to follow, which they can take home if they feel inspired to keep folding!

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