How to Fold an Origami Swan

Graceful and elegant, a swan is the perfect subject for the graceful and elegant art of origami.


Up next in How to Do Origami (14 videos)

Master the ancient art of Japanese paper folding with the step-by-step instructions in these tutorials.

You Will Need

  • A sheet of square origami paper (6" x 6" / 15 cm x 15 cm)
  • A flat surface


  1. Step 1

    Fold one corner and unfold

    Begin with the white side up. Fold one corner to the opposite corner, making a diagonal crease, and then unfold.

  2. To make a family of baby swans, use a range of smaller sheets of paper.

  3. Step 2

    Fold both edges to the crease and unfold

    Fold one edge over, lining it up against the diagonal crease made in Step 1. Then repeat on the adjacent side, forming a kite shape.

  4. Step 3

    Fold the long edges to the center crease

    Turn the paper over to the colored side and fold the long folded edges to meet on the center crease, similar to Step 2. You should now have an even skinnier kite shape with two small white triangular "eyes" near the top.

  5. Step 4

    Fold the skinny point

    Fold the long skinny point to the opposite point.

  6. Step 5

    Fold the same point to the centerline

    Now fold the same point down so it meets the point at the centerline between the two white triangles.

  7. Step 6

    Fold the entire model in half

    Pick up the entire model and fold in half along the existing crease, making sure that the head and neck are on the outside.

  8. Step 7

    Fold a neck and head

    Hold the swan at the white triangles. Gently lift up the neck to a graceful angle and squeeze it at the bottom to keep it in place. Do the same with the head.

  9. Step 8

    Spread the base

    Spread the base slightly apart, and your swan is ready to swim.

  10. Did you know? A male swan is known as a cob, a female swan is a pen, and young swans are called cygnets.