What is it that makes holiday ornaments feel so festive? Whether made from glass, porcelain, sequins or even craft paper and glue, each one embodies the spirit of the season by rekindling memories and sparking a particular kind of joy. They remind us that a quiet evening at home, gathered together with those we love, is a gift in itself.
This year, why not spend an evening away from technology, making a few ornaments by hand with loved ones? Origami ornaments are a pleasure to fold, require only paper and care, and are sure to spark joy for everyone — after all, they’re made with love!
This guide will teach you how to fold traditional origami cranes, then turn them into festive ornaments or a garland over a doorway. Hang cranes throughout the house to add a sense of holiday celebration everywhere.
How to Fold an Origami Crane Ornament
- Sheets of Japanese origami paper, in solid colors or festive patterns, or any square-shaped paper of your choosing
- Needle and thread for ornament loops
- Optional ribbon, twine or additional thread (if you’d like to string them up as garland!)
Note: Folding origami takes practice! You may want to use a sheet of draft paper to try each of the steps before moving on to nicer origami paper.
- Place your sheet of paper flat on the table with the patterned-side face down. Fold it in half, top corner to bottom corner.
- Fold the triangle in half again.
- Open at the white arrow to form a pocket.
- Flatten the pocket by pushing the crease down to form a square.
- Turn over.
- Open and flatten the pocket on this side (like you did in steps 3-4).
- Follow the arrows in the diagram to fold, then unfold to make three creases.
- Pick up the top layer of the bottom tip, folding upwards to make a space.
- Flatten the pockets into the center.
- Turn over.
- Follow steps 7-9 on this side by folding, opening and then flattening.
- Fold edges into the centerline.
- Fold the bottom points into the top fold, up, then out.
- Pocket fold the top point to form the crane’s head. Fold the wings down and out to open them.
- To turn your finished crane into an ornament, use a threaded needle to punch a hole through the top center point.
- Knot the thread to form a loop for hanging. If you’d like to create a garland, string a series of crane ornaments onto silk ribbon or twine!
The beauty of origami ornaments lies in their versatility. Drape them over an entryway or fireplace mantle, or use them as a simple centerpiece on a holiday table. Wherever you display your cranes at home, let this project remind you that often, the most beautiful objects are also the simplest — and that a special moment with family requires only love, presence and occasionally, a few squares of paper. Wishing you a joyful holiday!