After the recent earthquake in Japan, people around the world reached out to help in any way possible. Many decided to make paper origami cranes to send hope since the Japanese say that if a person makes 1,000 origami cranes, their wish will come true.

The effort was also inspired by the non-fiction book called Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, which is about a girl named Sadako who got leukemia from the radiation after the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima in 1946. She wanted to fold 1,000 paper cranes, but passed away before she finished. Her family and friends finished her project and also built a statue of her holding a crane in Hiroshima Peace Park.

This is the most famous origami design. Start with a piece of square origami paper and then follow the instructions below!

Get a square piece of paper (colored on one side.)

Fold it in half four different ways…

…like this…

…and like this.

Now fold along all four creases at once.

Fold two edges in, to form a kite-shape (or ice cream cone shape) on top.

Do the same thing on the other side.

Undo the folds you made in steps 6 and 7.

Pull the bottom corner (top layer only) up above the top corner. Fold along the creases you made in steps 6 and 7.

Do the same thing on the other side. The top flaps are the wings and the bottom things are the neck and tail.

Fold two edges in, as in step 6. This makes the neck and tail thinner.

Do the same thing on the other side.

Now turn the page (so to speak)… do the same in back.

Fold up the neck and the tail as far as you can.

Fold the head down.

Repeat step 13 so things are more-or-less back to where they were.

Pull the neck and tail out/down a bit so they’re not actually vertical.

Pull the head out/up somewhat so it’s not parallel to the neck.

Pull the wings straight out from the body so that the body inflates. (The far wing is not pictured here.) If that doesn’t work, you can blow through a hole in the underside.

SOURCE:  http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/usr/sprite/www/Origami/crane_gif.html