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    Personalised Origami Paper Crane

    The art of origami has always seemed too difficult for me. There is, however, one model – origami paper crane with a flat back – that I have mastered and would like to share with you. Why? You will find out in today’s post!

    My first origami paper crane

    Several years ago I was helping with non-standard promotion at Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera. Before the Warsaw première of the Japanese opera ‘Matsukaze’, together with other volunteers we decided that we would decorate the lobby and the front desks with origami models providing information about the play. The idea was very well received. Several dozen origami paper cranes that we distributed were enjoyed by the audience and the staff, and I had learned to fold my first model ever.

    1 origami paper crane żuraw origami

    How did I come up with the idea of using origami paper cranes as gifts?

    Shortly after the Warsaw première of ‘Matsukaze’, I started my wedding preparations. It occurred to me then that an origami paper crane with appropriate captions could serve as an original keepsake for wedding guests. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to fold nearly 100 models, so eventually I decided to do something less time-consuming (perhaps I’ll write about it in the future).

    2 origami paper crane żuraw origami

    Recently, I was reminded of the origami paper crane by a question on Quora about a good gift for an origami enthusiast. A fiancé wanted to fold his loved one something for her birthday, but he had no experience and asked me for advice. I recommended him the crane as one of the simplest models and advised him to write or draw something personal on the back and the wings.

    origami paper crane żuraw origami 3

    The idea was so appealing that I decided to use it myself, and on the very same day I folded an origami paper crane and gave it to my husband as a surprise gift.

    I can also imagine other uses of the origami paper crane, e.g. as a part of a gift for the first – paper – wedding anniversary

    4 origami paper crane żuraw origami

    … or a unique decoration for a hen night party.

    5 origami paper crane żuraw origami

    Folding the origami paper crane

    On the Internet, you may find numerous instructions using various notation systems. I encourage you to fold an origami paper crane with a flat back, which has more surfaces that may be personalised than the one with a pointed top.

    When I tried to remind myself how to fold it, I used the following You Tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kcn7iF4aqU.

    As regards customisation, there are 3 ways to do it:

    • Write on a folded crane – however, I don’t recommend this solution since it is uncomfortable, and the effect is far from aesthetic.
    • Fold the crane, outline its wings and back, unfold it and write your texts within the outlines before folding it again – I don’t recommend this either because each subsequent folding and unfolding will have a negative impact on the appearance of you model.
    • Predict where the personalisation surfaces will be, and write your texts before you start folding.

    In my opinion, the third solution is the best, albeit the most difficult one. Fortunately, you can count on me J. Specially for you, I have designed a downloadable template . On the template, I marked three fields where you can put your best wishes, words of encouragement or pictures. That’s how we did it in the theatre. Owing to that, each crane was identical, with the authors of the opera on one wing, its title and performance dates on the other one, and the theatre’s logo on the crane’s back.

    What would you put on the wings and back of the origami paper crane? Try out my template and share your ideas!

    origami paper crane template

    szary z fioletowymżółty z zielonymszary z fioletowymżółty z zielonymszary z fioletowymżółty z zielonymszary z fioletowymżółty z zielonymszary z fioletowymżółty z zielonymszary z fioletowymżółty z zielonym

    My advice:

    – Origami designs always begin with a square sheet of paper. For your origami models, you may use a small square notepad. This, however, will leave you little space for personalisation. My template has been designed with A4 paper in mind, which you need to cut to obtain a square.

    – Before you print your sheet, after you have written your texts in the marked fields using the Word Art tool, delete all shapes and lines which are only there to guide you.

    – When you start folding, your texts or pictures need to face up.  You should see them until you fold triangles into squares (they disappear from view at the point that the video author describes as the ‘tricky part’ at 3:15). The ‘north’-‘south’ position of the paper is not important. You will decide on how your texts will be read (whether they are not upside down) at the stage when you make the head of the origami paper crane from one end and the tail from the other end.


    • Hello again 🙂 You might also consider putting quotes or personalized messages on the inside part of the paper before folding, in the vein of Make-A-Crane’s “quoted cranes” – that can be fun (and a challenge for some!) to open. Then they are like fortune cranes!

      All best,

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