DIY Origami Swan Tutorial

Just the other day I did something fun and new. I taught tiny humans how to fold paper and make origami models. There were two classes consisting of 10 preschoolers each. I hadn’t ever taught origami to anyone so young before so I wasn’t sure how things would go. I did a lot of research to look for simple, beginner level, origami model instructions that 4 and 5 year olds would be able to master in 15 minutes. LOL. I wanted two so that if they breezed through the first one we could try a second.

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All I can say is they were ADORABLE! I don’t usually spend time around children this young, especially so many at one time, so it was a lot of fun. First of all, their little voices are so cute. They were happy, curious, and very creative. When I asked if anyone had any questions after showing them my work no one said anything. All of a sudden one little girl walked up to me and hugged me *melt*. SO SWEET!

I laid out 6″ squares of origami paper for them and invited them to each choose two they liked. Fortunately there were plenty of grown ups on the field trip with the class so they were my impromptu assistants.

The kids really loved making the swan. I made this photo tutorial so that if they wanted to continue they would have a reference guide to fall back on.

You can try to if you want to just for fun. You can use any size and really, any kind of paper keeping in mind that thicker papers are harder to fold.

origami-swan-instructions-31. Begin with a square piece of paper. Here I’m using a 3″ square of origami paper.
2. Face front (printed) side of paper towards tabletop and fold in half at center to create a guideline fold.
3. You’ll end up with a large triangle shape. Then unfold.

origami-swan-instructions-44. You’ll use the center crease as a guideline and fold the right outer edge towards the center guideline.

origami-swan-instructions-55. Now fold the let outer edge towards the center as well.

origami-swan-instructions-66. Your model should look like this.

origami-swan-instructions-77. Turn over your model and repeat the same two folds to narrow the shape. Pictured above fold the right outer edge towards the center line.

origami-swan-instructions-88. Now fold the left outer edge towards the center.

origami-swan-instructions-99. Your model should look like this. Note the dashed line at the center of the model. Fold the model in half taking the point on the bottom and folding up to the point at the top.

origami-swan-instructions-1010. After the model is folded in half it’s time to fold the head. I like to visualize an imaginary line from the edge of the top corner of the white triangle (the backside of the paper) and fold the paper downward.

origami-swan-instructions-1111. This is what your model should look like. Layered upon itself accordion style is the body, then neck, then head.

origami-swan-instructions-1212. Now lift up the model and holding it accordioned  together you’ll fold the model in half following the arrows so the left edge and right edge meet together creating the base of the swan.

origami-swan-instructions-1313. Hold the base with your fingers and use your other hand to gently pull the neck upright away from the body.

Folding Tip: Do not set the neck at a 90º angle from the base, it will be top heavy and have a tendency to tip over. If you fold the neck just before it reaches 90º(pictured with the dotted line at the back of the neck above) or even sooner the weight of the head and neck will rest over the body and will be more stable. Aim for 11 O’Clock or just a bit more instead of all the way to 12 O’Clock. 

origami-swan-instructions-1414. Once the neck is pulled upright be sure to pinch along the base to set the fold in place.

15. Then use the same process holding the neck with one hand and using your other hand to lift the head away from the neck.

origami-swan-instructions-1516. Then pinch the top of the head to hold the fold in place.

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17. Gently push the body apart to create the base the swan sits upon and set on tabletop.

18. Woo hoo! You just made an origami swan!

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LowellArts! Artprize: Second Glance 2016

If you missed seeing my miniature origami cranes at ArtPrize 2015 this is your second chance at the “ArtPrize: Second Glance” exhibit currently hosted at LowellArts! King Gallery in downtown Lowell, MI. Exhibition details are at the end of the post.

I have to say I’m very happy and honored to have been invited to exhibit “4000 Culture Cranes,” particularly in a gallery.

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Over the years in California I’d found that there was a certain pretentiousness when some “art establishment” people saw both pictures of my work and my work in person. “Oh, this isn’t fine art” more than one told me, “This is crafts.” Um, ok, but people like it no matter what you label it, I’d think to myself. One person in particular immediately undervalued my work to the point I didn’t want to show it to anyone professional ever again saying in his expert opinion it was worth around $75.00. I’d like to say what they thought didn’t matter to me, but it did. It caused me to think my work didn’t belong in a gallery, that it wasn’t good enough.

Happily, thanks to my two ArtPrize experiences and LowellArts! that misimpression is gone for good. I guess the lesson I’ve learned is to believe in myself even when others don’t. My art is made with so much love and is such a personal part of me, a reflection of who I am, that I’ll admit I’m much more thinned skinned about it than most other aspects about my “self” when it comes to criticism. I know it’s not for everyone, and there will always be critics but (for me) the good news is they will no longer stop me from putting my work out there. I owe those who love and believe in my work (and me) a huge THANK YOU for that.

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I even had custom acrylic display cases made to protect the cranes from dust and damage. I was particularly pleased with how they look in the gallery.

This is just part of the show description on the LowellArts! website:

“This is the third exhibition of this kind to be held at LowellArts!, and gives a great snapshot of artwork by local artists. Artists featured are from: Kentwood, Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Ada, Lowell, Rockford, Comstock Park, and Greenville. 

This is an invitational exhibition, and artists were selected by the LowellArts! Gallery Committee. The committee reviewed over 300 pieces of artwork by artists who fit the geographical criteria – both by visiting works in person during ArtPrize and by utilizing the ArtPrize website.

This is a wonderful opportunity to re-visit artwork, or see for the first time artwork by local artists who worked hard to be prepare for and be a part of ArtPrize 2015. Many great pieces were tucked away in venues less visited by ArtPrize crowds. Or, in hustle and bustle of the event, other great pieces were not admired as long as they should.”

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The 21 featured Artists include: Ann Dyer, Charles Smalligan, Colleen Kole, Colleen O’Rourke, Frank Speyers, Gerard Wood, Jay Constantine, Jeffrey Jan Lende, Jill Risner, Leanne McGann, Margaret Farrell, Maria Joy Lemon, MaryJo Fox Fell, Monica Stegeman, Ron Lichtenstein, Ross Mccrory, Sarah Knill, Stacie Tamaki, Stone Peng, Susan L Anderson.

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ArtPrize: A Second Glance – website
Jan 9-Feb 15, 2016
The LowellArts! King Gallery
149 S. Hudson Street
lowell, MI 49331 – map
Tuesday through Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM