An ancient Japanese legend says that by folding 1000 origami paper cranes, you will be granted a wish by a crane, such as long life or recovery of illness.
You may have heard of the story, or read the book "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes."
It tells the story of Sadako, a Japanese girl who began folding the paper cranes in the hopes of not dying from leukaemia, which had resulted from radiation during Hiroshima. Before her death, she managed 644.
Her friends completed the rest and buried them with her. A statue in the memory of Sadako Sasaki now stands in Seattle Peace Park, as she has now become the symbol of the impact of nuclear war, and is also said to be a heroine for many girls in Japan.
It is also common in Japan for one to fold 1000 paper cranes and offer them as gifts for friends and family.
Australian musician 'Old Man River' has a goal. After becoming the only Australian music artist in decades to reach number 1 in Japan in 2008/09, 'Ohad' is making 1000 origami cranes and delivering them to Japan as a sign of thanks.
Artists such as Ben Lee and Washington have supported him in his quest, and the public can help Ohad reach his goal through his website 1000 Cranes for Japan.
Maybe you have been trying to think of a unique wedding or birthday gift, or just want to keep the kids occupied. Whatever your reason, here's how you can get started. Your 1000 paper crane journey begins here.
How to Make a Paper Crane:
To start, you'll want a perfectly square piece of paper. Most craft stores supply paper which is specifically designed for making paper cranes.
1. Begin by folding one edge to meet the other.
2. Open up the paper and lay it flat. Now repeat step 1 in the other direction, and open it up again.
3. Now fold the paper diagonally, point to point to create a triangle.
4. Open up the paper, and repeat step 3 in the other direction. Open up the paper again.
5. Step 5 is a little tricky. You want to bring in the side corners, whilst bringing the top corner down like this. This should create a smaller square.
6. Now, fold one corner of the square so that the edge is lined up with the centre line.
7. Repeat step 6 with the other flap.
8. Turn the paper over, and repeat step 6 for the other 2 flaps.
9. Fold the top flap down, and crease hard.
10. Now fold it the same way in the opposite direction.
11. Open up one side and lay it flat.
12. Lift the top flap on the open end, and fold it upwards, bringing in the sides. Then lay it flat to get this.
13. Flip the paper over and repeat steps 11 and 12 for the other side.
14. Once again, fold in one flap so that the edge matches up with the centre line.
15. Repeat step 14 for the opposite flap.
16. Flip the paper over and repeat steps 14 and 15 for the flaps on the other side.
17. Fold over one side and lay flat like this.
18. Fold up the top flap on the open end, so the tip of the lower flap reaches the tip of the upper flap.
19. Fold two of the flaps over, and repeat step 18 for the other lower flap.
20. Fold one flap over and lay flat.
21. Fold the top flap down to get this.
22. Flip the paper over and repeat step 21 for the other side.
23. Invert fold one of the upper tips like this to form the head.
24. Pull back the other tip like this to form the tail.
25. Gently pull the wings apart to form the body. And there you have it.
Crane number 1 of 1000 paper cranes.
You can also view a video of how to make a paper crane;
I wish I could even make one paper crane, but I am absolutely hopeless at them! Although I have some very lovely friends who will often just make a whole heap for me, so I'm quite lucky because I absolutely love them. My nieces also love them and always ask if they can have some 'birds' whenever they come to my house.
I've also told them about the book, but haven't got a chance to show it to them yet. It is one of the books that I probably remember most from my childhood. It was always such a touching and moving story (in fact I'm getting a little bit teary just thinking about it!)
I may not be able to make a paper crane, but I might be able to send one of the many that I have in for the appeal, and donate some money. I like to support a good cause.
It certainly isn't simple Natasha. Which I suppose is another reason why 1000 paper cranes is an extremely thoughtful gift from one person to another. - Bek
By Old Account - senior reviewer Wednesday, 20th of July @ 03:14 am
What happens with the cranes after you fold them? Do you mail them somewhere? It is a beautiful idea and something that seems very worth while. I have some friends over tomorrow, we will try and fold some with your instructions =) Thanks Bek
By Gebbie Smith - senior reviewer Thursday, 21st of July @ 01:39 pm
Hi Gebbie, Old Man River is making the 1000 for Japan, and if you click on the link to his website in the article you can contribute. Otherwise people usually tie them together and give them as gifts. Best of luck with the folding, they get a little tricky! Bek
By Old Account - senior reviewer Friday, 22nd of July @ 12:20 am
How beautiful. I would love to make those in Fremantle. Recycled of course, with notes upon them. I spent alot of time in Perth at Nuclear Free rallies etc. I have found Perth to be one of the cities that really cares about what happens in the world.
The story you have told too, is quite profound. Such simple things can create such happiness and inspire many.
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer Monday, 29th of August @ 06:48 am
Ahhh with notes. What a beautiful idea Jody! I hope this article has inspired even more people to take part. - Bek
By Old Account - senior reviewer Tuesday, 6th of September @ 07:58 am