How to Make an Origami Bird

Learn how to make an origami bird with this origami video from Howcast.


So these are the instructions for making an origami flapping crane.

For the origami flapping crane, we're going to start with a sheet of paper with the color side up. We're going to begin with a diagonal fold. So the diagonal fold, we're going to take the bottom corner. We're going to fold it all the way up to the top, and make sure that it lines up so that the points are right on each other instead of having one a little bit off to the side either way. Just make sure it's nice and exact, and hold it down with one finger, and then slide down to the bottom so that it's nice and flat. Hold it in place with your thumb, and then slide out to one corner, and then slide out to the other corner. And that should give you nice, sharp corners for a diagonal fold. Open it up, and then we're going to do one more diagonal fold in the opposite direction, like that.

Next, flip the paper over. We're going to take the bottom edge, and we're going to fold it up to the top edge. This is called a book fold. So with this book fold, again, we want to be as precise as we can before we make a nice crease. Open it back up, and then we're going to do the other book fold as well. And after we get that last book fold, go ahead and pick up the model. Leave that book fold there. We're going to pinch right on the top point next to these diagonal lines right here. We're going to hold it, pinch it right there, and then we're going to rotate the model up so that all four corners touch each other at the same spot.

And once that happens, go ahead and flatten the model down. This is called a square base, or a preliminary base, in origami. We haven't made any new folds on that at all. We've just reorganized the ones we've already made. So go ahead and flatten that down, and find the spot that's got the extra flaps, like this. There's one spot that's going to be locked in, and that's the top of the model. We want to look at where the bottom is with the open flaps and have that towards you.

Then we're going to make two kite folds. We're going to take this edge right here and this edge right here, and we're going to fold both of those into the middle of the paper, right up against that middle line, on the left side, also the right side. It should terminate right down to a nice point right here at the bottom. Right there. And fold the top point all the way down over the top of them, just like that.

We're going to rotate. We're going to turn the entire model over. And now we're going to fold these two kite folds into the middle here, as well. So again, both of these going into the middle line but not overlapping like that.

Now, all those folds that we just made, those are preliminary folds so that we can do what's called a petal fold. So unfold these two flaps, and what we're doing is we're going to try and isolate this one flap of paper, just the one sheet right here, and I'm going to use my other finger to sort of lock the other two down on the table, on the flat surface. And we're going to pick up this flap all the way up to the top. And as you watch when I do that, these two outside edges naturally want to move in, which is good, because we've already made this crease right here, so we have a crease for them to just fall naturally into.

And when this happens, we can flatten the whole model while stretching this top flap all the way up so it lies flat on the table. This is again called a petal fold, and it starts down here like this, and we pick the whole thing up and then flatten the model down. And we're going to do this petal fold also on the back, so flip it over. Pick up that triangle. Open up these two flaps, and fold the flap back down. And then pick up just one sheet of paper, and pick it all the way up to the top, again, stretching it all the way up until the other two sides want to come in and flatten down. And this is called the bird base that we've got right here. It's got these two open spots. This is going to be our head and our tail for the crane.

So this right here is the bird base. What we're going to do is, now I'm going to fold one flap from the right hand side all the way over to the left hand side. Just like that. You'll see now this triangle shows up here in the middle. After we do that, we flip the whole thing over and then do it one more time. So we take one flap from the right. We fold it all the way over to the left, and that's going to give us these two flaps here at the top, and then two flaps on either side on the bottom.

Next step, I'm going to pinch right here on the model, so that I can isolate this flap. And see how I can get that to move back and forth a little bit, and it rotates all the way across? I'm going to pinch this, and I'm going to rotate it over just so that it lines up along this line. So it'll line up right here with the bottom of the wing. So I go ahead and pinch on this side now. I'm going to do the same thing over here. I'm going to rotate this over, and when I get it right where I want it to be, I'm going to flatten it down. So I had it up here at the top, and then I've rotated it down and squished it flat.

Next, I'm going to pick up both of the wings. So I pick one up on the front side, and then flip it over and pick one up on the back side, like that. Next, I'm going to pick one side to be the head and one side to be the tail.

On this model, I think I want to use this side as the head, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to take my thumb, I'm going to open it up. There's two flaps in there. I'm going to open it up, and I'm going to push down until it goes all the way through to the bottom and reverses the fold. That's called an inside reverse crease. So I'm going to push it down. It comes all the way down, just like that. So that's the entire base for the flapping crane.

Next, we're going to curl the wings, and the really important part is when we take the wing, we want to curl it towards the head. So don't curl it just straight down. Try to curl it over to the side towards the wing. So I just pinch the wing right here, and I twist it over towards the head, and I sort of pull it over towards the head. Don't go farther than this point right here, or else you might rip it a little bit. But it'll have just a nice little light gentle curve towards the head, and I want to do that on the front and also on the back. So both of these wings will have a curl towards the head. And if you look at it from the head on, you can see how it's go the wings just a little lightly curled towards the head.

After that, I'm going to pinch right here where at the base of the head and the neck, and it's going to have a little bit of a wing pinched right there. I'm going to grab the tail. Now, in order to make this work, you might have to pull a little bit harder than you think you want to, and it might feel like you will rip the paper, but if you do it really carefully, you shouldn't rip the paper.

So in order to make the crane flap, what we're going to do is, we're going to pinch right at the base of the head where the wings are curved towards, and then we're going to grab the tail, and I'm going to pull the tail out of it's socket this direction. It's not just going to rotate up and down. We're actually going to pull it out of it's socket. And you may feel like you might rip the paper, but do it as slow as you can and really careful until it establishes itself, and then the paper will be fine.

Just go ahead and take this and pull it just a little bit, just like that, and see how it popped out? And then after, make some tiny adjustments. And then after that, you can pull it up as much as you want, and you have a flapping crane.

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