1. Paper cranes
It should be clear by my blogger name that I love making paper cranes so it will come as no surprise to you that it is one of my favorite crafts. Not only is it stimulating to your brain to fold origami and create these lovely paper birds, but it's also a meaningful activity.
It is said in Japanese legend that by folding 1000 paper cranes (and hanging them together on a string in what is called a senbazuru) you will be granted one wish. Also, senbazuru can be given to wish someone a speedy recovery when they are ill or to wish good luck to someone that you choose to give the senbazuru to. After the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who folded a thousand paper cranes but died from leukemia following the bombing of Hiroshima, it has also become a symbol for world peace.
So whether you plan to make just a few cranes to pass the time and sharpen your mind or 1000 to ask for a special wish for you or a friend, I think you'll enjoy this simple craft. They also make adorable gift tags on presents, tied to a bottle of wine for a hostess gift, or can be used to decorate your dinning room for a festive Japanese themed party. Even just one paper crane in a color that complements the rest of your decor placed on top of a neatly folded napkin at each place setting will do if you don't want to spend too much time folding.
I did my table, pictured below, in just a few minutes and it was quite fun (plus it helped me pass the time as my husband finished playing a game of football on his Xbox. The boy has to play sometime!).
www.wikihow.com/Fold-a-Paper-Crane, but if you get stuck send me a comment and I'll try to help you out! It may seem like a lot of steps, but it is mostly repetition and is pretty easy. Check out their site for pictures to help you along the way (that makes it easier to follow the steps but it would take too long for me to post all the pictures in this blog).
1) Start with a square sheet of paper. (I used Aitoh origami paper from Michael's craft store that comes in a pack of neon colors in the typical square size, but you can cut your own squares from normal paper bigger or smaller depending on what size crane you want to make.) The front of your paper (the side you want to show in the end) corresponds to the blue side of the paper in the photo. The hidden back of the paper is white in the photo (see the website link above for the photos).
2) Fold the sheet in half, into a rectangle. Be sure to crisply crease your folds.
3) Note that the previous crease is perpendicular to this one.Unfold, and fold in half the other way.
4) Unfold your rectangle. Turn the paper over and fold in half into a triangle. You should see the back of your paper. Unfold and repeat along the other diagonal.
5) Unfold your paper and turn it back over. You should see the diagonal creases create "valleys" and the perpendicular creases create "mountains".
6) Bring the corners together. Allow the valley creases to come together in the middle.
7) You should have a vertical crease running down the middle of your square. Align the square. By flattening two opposite sides, you should find yourself with a square that is open on the bottom. Make sure your square is rotated so that the opening is on the bottom, as shown in the picture.
8) Bring the right corner of the top flap to the middle crease, so that the lower right edge lines up with the crease.
9) Repeat this action on the left, so that the top looks like a kite.
10) It should look like a gem. Fold down the top corner to make the crease lie along the horizontal line created in the previous two steps.
11) Unfold. In doing so, you return to having a square with an opening facing down.
12) Take the bottom corner of the square and start to fold it up along the horizontal crease you made in the previous two steps.
13) As you fold, notice the four diagonal creases on the inside that you made earlier. You will need to reverse the two creases on the upper flap. To reverse a crease, fold it in the opposite direction that it naturally folds.
14) Bring the outer edges to the middle and flatten, so that you have a diamond.
15) Turn your paper over, and repeat the previous five steps.
16) Fold the edges to the middle crease.
17) Repeat on the other side.
18) Fold the right flap over to the left (in the same manner as turning the page of a book). Turn over and repeat on the back.
19) Take the bottom tip of the top flap and fold it up to the top corner. Turn over and repeat on the other side.
20) Fold the right flap over to the left (in the same manner as turning the page of a book). Turn over and repeat on the back. Now the head and tail are nestled in between what will become the wings.
21) Fold the wings down so that they are perpendicular to the body, head and tail.
22) Fold the tip of the head down.
23) Pull the head and tail out so that they line up with the outer edges of the body.
24) Create 3D volume. If you want a three dimensional body, you can grasp the opposite corners on the bottom of the body and gently pull to create the desired volume.
25) Give away, hang, string, or simply enjoy!