Years ago I purchased a book that featured the Japanese art of “Renzuru” which is to fold multiple, connected, origami cranes from a single sheet of paper. When I saw @kenji_kujime‘s Instagram feed it reminded me how I had experimented with renzuru in the past but that was many, years ago.
I was inspired to try again but this time to be a bit more creative and combine two of my favorite folds being the tiny 3/4″ origami frog with a paper crane. The smaller (1.5″ high crane) on the right was my first attempt which led me to try a second time making a larger crane (2″ high) and suspending the frog by its front leg rather than its rear leg. Am quite happy with the result. Not sure how this will factor into future designs but it’s always fun to challenge myself with things I’m not certain can be done.
The finished models remind me very much of when I used to visit the Colusa Wildlife Refuge in California and Monterey Bay and would see herons and egrets catching their meals in shallow water.
An original design idea inspired by a piece of gift wrap cellophane that would be going into the trash. Could I make a crane from it? It turned out yes, yes I could! My very next thought was: “Hmmmmm. . . What can I put inside the hollow of the body?” Immediately I realized I wanted to fold a tiny origami heart and slip it into the crane. I tried it just in time for Valentine’s Day and was very pleased it worked!
This is a design idea I will be exploring further. There are so many possibilities! The cellophane is difficult to fold, as was the 1/4″ diameter origami heart. But the moment I finished the first one all I could think was it was well worth the effort.
If you’ve ever received a Tinygami crane that was folded flat you may wonder how to spread its wings without damaging it.
The picture above on the left shows how even when unopened the crane will usually stand on its own. But the picture on the right shows how you are able to appreciate the delicacy of this model when its wings are spread open. The problem is once you spread the wings apart the crane (often) will no longer stand up and tips to one side or the other.
The trick is found on the base/underside of the model. When folded flat the base of the wings are parallel to each other which won’t always give enough stability for a crane to be able to stand on its own.
Three things must happen to create the same stable base once the wings are opened:
1. The wings must be pulled both down and outward. I do this by placing my thumbs on the topside of each wing right up against the body to add some support as I gently pull the wings down and out. Pull too hard and you can tear the wings where they attach to the body, so slowly and carefully is the best way to do this.
2. Once the wings are down the body should have inflated with air to create a pillow effect.
3. Whether the wings are closed or open the base needs to spread open (a little or a lot) to create the four contact points that stabilize the crane. I create them by gently pinching the base of each wing between my thumbs and index fingers at the same time to create this pronounced X shape.
The wings will look like the top right figure above just after pinching the base because doing so pinches the wing to its tip. To flatten out the wing I simply smooth the crease out, again pinching with the same two fingers but this time above and below the wing to flatten it. But be careful not to lose the X shape at the base.
Some papers are easy to re-flatten the crane again. The now inflated body will simply fold back down along its original creases. But others aren’t so pliable and the body will crush instead of re-fold so be careful if you decide to flatten the crane again once you’ve opened it.
I hope this tutorial is helpful to you. If you have any questions or need clarification feel free to leave a comment or contact me privately by CLICKING HERE.
Aside from making dozens of crane and menko sets I’ve been a busy bee both shipping some out to thank friends who gave me product feedback I had asked for late last week as well as figure out how to photograph my offerings on Etsy.
I’m happy to say I think I’ve come up with my “look” on Etsy.
What do you think?
I’ll be offering up several different standard products:
- Tiny Cranes that are 3/4″ high
- Itty Bitty Cranes that are 3/8″ high
- Tiny Frogs that are 3/4″ in diameter
All orders will include:
A menko envelope to protect your order during shipping. That is the “Tiny” sized crane and menko pictured above. To open the menko simply pull free any section and it will unfold. To re-close the menko fold it back down to the picture on the lower left then choose any section and press it flat. Follow folding the rest down in clockwise order and tuck in the fourth section beneath the flap of the first one you folded down.
2. A personalized note (especially nice if you’re giving a gift)!
At the encouragement of friends I’m adding in the option of a complimentary (free), personalized, fortune cookie styled note (3/8″ high and no longer than 3.75″) that is folded and tucked into the menko. I thought I’d have to come up with a portable laser printer for the job but I was told a handwritten note is more personal. What do you think? I think I’m going to have to work on my penmanship a bit!
3. (This promotion has ended as of November 2016) Free shipping within the U.S. (and no charge for additional items after a small fee for international orders)