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How to Fold Paper

Updated on October 12, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has spent 30 years working in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, and aerospace education for Active USAF Civil Air Patrol.

The art of folding paper takes on a variety of forms in each of several countries worldwide. These variations can include gift wrapping, making book covers, quilling, and the more well-known Origami, along with several other techniques.

A paper swan.
A paper swan. | Source

The activity of paper folding or paper creasing has been elevated to an art form in eastern cultures for some time.

Japanese origami as a paper-folding art uses a variety of papers that include delicate rice paper for tiny objects, construction paper, brown wrapping paper, dollar bills, waxed paper, aluminum foil, elegant decorative papers, and papers inlaid with thin gold leaf.

The objects that can be produced with Japanese paper folding within the creases made in paper is limitless: roses, birds, a bat, an elephant, a ship, an airplane. Below, you will find several patterns to amuse you.


Strings of paper cranes for prayers of peace sent to Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. (public domain)
Strings of paper cranes for prayers of peace sent to Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. (public domain)

It has been a long tradition for an ill child in Japan to be instructed to fold 1000 paper cranes to distract him or her from the illness. By the time they have folded the 1000th bird, they are well, or so it is assured to them. As the crane in the East represents long life, this reinforces the belief in the child that a return to wellness is close at hand, especially if that hand is folding 1000 cranes.


1. Begin with a square piece of paper, the same exact length on each side.

2. Fold the square along a diagonal from corner to corner and then unfold.

3a-b. Fold the paper inward as shown in the diagram. 3c. Flip the paper over

4. Fold the paper between the two corners and unfold along dotted lines.

5a-b. Fold those corners toward the center along the crease you just made.

6. Flip the paper over.

7a-b. Fold the sides into the center, but don't fold the flaps up from the bottom.

8a. Fold the pointed end inward as shown.

8b. Flip the paper over

10a-b. Fold the sides toward the center.

11. Flip the paper over.

12. Fold sides under the flaps towards the center.

13a-b. Push down the sides to meet under the flaps and appear as a normal paper airplane body, at right angles to the wings.

14. Staple the front of the paper airplane at the arrow.

15. Bend a paper clip so that it makes an "S" with one side pulled out farther than the other.

16. Slip the paper clip through the hole and pinch the paperclip tight. Launch the plane with the paperclip from a rubber band like a slingshot.

Another way to fold a paper airplane that will fly.
Another way to fold a paper airplane that will fly. | Source

Follow the easy directions below for your own paper elephant.

The Book of a Thousand Paper Cranes

Eleanor Coerr wrote a children's book titled

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Sadako Sasaski was a real little girl that was 2 years old when the "Little Boy" atomic bomb was dropped by the US airship Enola Gay on Hiroshima during World War II on August 6, 1945. The plane was piloted by Paul Tibbets and the event is memorialized in Japan and in the US at places like Wright Patterson Air Force Base. This air base has a wonderful museum and in it, a bookstore and gift shop where you can purchase origami-inspired paper airplane kits.

Sadako at first suffered no ill effects after the Hiroshima bombing. However, in 1955 at age 11, she was participating in a foot race and collapsed. Taken for medical examination, Sadako proved to have developed Leukemia, likely linked to the radiation from "Little Boy."

Sadako's friend told her to remember to fold 1000 paper cranes and wish for complete recovery and Sadako began to fold in earnest.

Some accounts say that she completed her 1000 tiny folded paper birds and died.

Other reports state that she could not complete her project and that her classmates at school folded the remaining cranes so that all 1000 could be buried with her in her coffin.

Regardless of the accuracy of either version, a statue has been raised to the memory of Sadako in Seattle and is inscribed at the base with this message:

"This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world".

Another statue was raised in Japan for Sadako, showing her holding onto one of her paper cranes come to life above her head.

Sadaku holding a crane, statue in Hiroshima, Japan.
Sadaku holding a crane, statue in Hiroshima, Japan. | Source

Folding Paper in Remembrance


Retired Air Force General Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, lived in Columbus, Ohio until his death on Thursday October 31, 2007 at the age of 92.

He chose to be cremated and his ashes spread across the English Channel where he often flew during the war. He had stated that he did not want his grave to become a gathering site -- The bomb he dropped killed children and caused others to contract cancers.

In Tribute to Japanese Children

If anyone would like to send 1000 paper cranes to the Children's Monument in the Hiroshima Peace Park, please thread them onto garlands of 100 cranes each. Then ship or mail them to the following address. They will be used in memorializing the children adversely affected by the war

  • Office of the Mayor
  • City of Hiroshima
  • 6-34 Kokutaiji-Machi; 1 Chome Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730; Japan


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    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I appreciate your hub! Please continue posting interesting stuffs, like paper folding, I really love this post!

    • ratnaveera profile image


      11 years ago from Cumbum

      Very interesting Hub which has lot of informations to entertain children! Thank you sir.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I sense the pain of frustration. Best of success to you!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      im still trying on how to fold a fucking motorcyle lol!!!!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Many books are in the library, giving clear instructions. Use any kind of paper. Even prison libraries may have some good Origami books. LOL :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      In elementary school I did not know about origami yet, but folded just a couple paper objects myself out of construction paper. Then I made small booklets and such. One girls said. "You're just wasting paper" and I kept folding and got A's and she got D's and F's and teacher comments about bad attitude.

      So keep folding! :)

    • oscarmecp4 profile image


      12 years ago from South Africa

      Interesting I used to do paper folding myself when I was much younger but ahhh know and then I caught myself doing it again. Who said paper is for writing and printing?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I very much look forward to reading THAT one!

    • MortimerWorth profile image


      12 years ago from Germany

      Hmmm. quite the coincidence. In about two blogs I introduce a character who uses origami in a theraputic manner. One creation is significant in the end.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Me too :)

    • thecounterpunch profile image


      12 years ago

      I loved Origami when I was a child ... and still today :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Resonel_gray, thank you so much for stopping by. I've done some origami in the past, but viewing documentaories on the war and seeing photoes and articles about Sadako really hit me.

    • reonel_gray profile image


      12 years ago from Philippines

      ohh thanks for sharing about origamis n__n

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thank you both for the comments. Origami is fun, artful, and this topic really resonated with me. I had just seen a documantory on Hirosima three weeks ago.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      12 years ago from Chennai

      And I bought one for making dinos!

      Great hub, packed with info and fun by painstaking Patty!

    • fridayonmymind profile image


      12 years ago

      Excellent information!  Thanks Patty.  I actually just bought my daughter a book on Origami last week.  This will give us more things to make : )


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