Want to learn how to create a paper bird with wings that actually flap? You can create multiple artworks with a square sheet of origami paper. The Bird is an intermediate difficulty project that will impress anyone! If you prefer, you can also make a bird that flies like a paper airplane or that spins in the air. Read on to find instructions for each of the projects.
Method 1 of 3: Creating a Paper Egret That Beats Wings
Step 1. Start with a square sheet
The origami paper found in craft supply stores is usually colored and square. If you only have bond paper at home, make the sheet into a square by taking one of the top corners to the other end and cutting out the excess paper.
- Use the paper in the color you want. The multi-colored leaves work well with the project, as the heron's flapping wings will create a blend of tones.
- If the paper has two sides with different colors, choose which will be on the top and which will be on the bottom. If the paper has only one color, make a small mark to identify the underside, which will be visible when the bird is complete.
Step 2. Start with a diagonal fold
Place the paper on a work surface, with one of the lower corners facing you. Take the top end and bring it to the bottom end. Use one finger to create a crease in the paper.
- The paper should now be a triangle with the center edge facing you.
- Unfold the paper.
Step 3. Repeat the procedure
Rotate the paper and fold it again, creating a second crease perpendicular to the first.
- The two creases will form an "X" on the paper.
- Open the paper again.
Step 4. Fold the sheet in half, horizontally
Rotate the paper on the table so that the base of the paper is parallel to your chest.
- Fold the paper in half, leading the top edge to the bottom edge, and make a crease using one finger.
- Unfold the paper.
Step 5. Repeat the procedure
Rotate the paper and fold it in half again, creating another crease with one finger.
- Open the paper again.
- Now the paper should have four marks that meet in the center of the square.
Step 6. Turn the sides inward to form a smaller square
Start with the bottom corner of the sheet: "pinch" both sides of the square, following the horizontal fold, and bring them to the bottom corner. The sides will join in the center of the sheet and the top corner will fold over them, forming a square.
- Sometimes it's hard to get the move right on the first try. Keep trying until all sides are folded inwards. If necessary, reinforce all the creases to make them more flexible.
- If you do everything right, the small square will have a vertical crease in the center.
Step 7. Fold the right flap
With the bottom corner of the square facing you, take the top layer from the right corner and bring it in until the edge lines up with the center crease of the paper.
Create another crease in the fold
Step 8. Fold the left flap
Repeat the procedure on the other side, aligning the left corner with the center crease. Use a finger to reinforce the fold.
The new folds will create a kite shape
Step 9. Turn the paper over to repeat the folds
Now repeat the entire procedure on the other side of the paper.
- The result will be two identical sides that look like a kite.
- Fold the top of the kite down. Make a crease with your finger and unfold the paper.
Step 10. Open the kite
Rotate the paper so that the bottom corner (the part that can be unfolded to show the inside of the kite) is facing you. Unfold the top layer from the bottom corner onto the work surface. The result will be a diamond on the kite.
As you lift the top corner, the sides of the paper will naturally transform into the diamond, following the creases you made in the previous Steps
Step 11. Turn the paper over and repeat the folds you just made
Rotate the sheet so that the bottom corner (the part that can be unfolded to show the inside of the kite) is facing you. Unfold the top layer from the bottom corner onto the work surface. Now both sides of the paper have a diamond.
The two diamonds should be perfectly aligned
Step 12. Fold the two bottom tabs diagonally
Take the lower right tab and bring it to the upper right corner. Take the lower left flap and bring it to the upper left corner.
You should now have three face-up triangles
Step 13. Unfold the flaps so that the paper returns to the previous diamond
Rotate the sheet and open the flaps. Take the bottom that you just unfolded and fold it up to create another flap. Close the tabs. Now, take the inside of the paper and pull it out, sending the two folds closed.
- Pull the paper to align all edges and create a crease.
- Repeat on the other side to create the heron's head and tail.
Step 14. Bend the end of one of the diagonals
The reverse fold will form the bird's head.
Open the paper to reveal the two flaps and fold them in half. Then "pinch" the flaps to create the bird's head
Step 15. Fold one wing down
Take the top layer of the central triangle and fold it down to create a wing.
Fold it so that the wing points diagonally forward, not straight down
Step 16. Turn the bird over
Repeat Step above on the opposite wing.
Align the folds of the two wings
Step 17. Pull the tail to flap the wings
Grasp the heron by the neck and pull the tail up so the bird flaps its wings.
Ready! Enjoy the origami bird
Method 2 of 3: Creating a Bird Shaped Paper Plane
Step 1. Start with square origami paper
Failing it, use a bond sheet. Take one of the top corners of the sheet and bring it to the other side, lining it up with the edge of the paper, which should have two shapes, a folded triangle and a rectangular overhang. Cut out the rectangular part to create a square.
- Place the paper on a work surface, colored side down.
- If the paper has two different colors, make a mental note of which side started face down and which side started face up. If the sides are the same color, make a small mark to identify them. For example, mark the bottom of the side that faces the table. The side starting down will be visible when the bird is ready.
Step 2. Fold the paper in half twice and create two creases
Start with a horizontal fold and move to a vertical fold, creating a cross over the sheet.
Unfold the paper on the table. Don't turn the paper over: the side that started facing down should stay that way
Step 3. Fold the paper diagonally
Take two opposite corners of the sheet and join them together, creating a diagonal crease in the paper. Unfold and repeat the process on the other side.
The sheet now has four marks, two diagonals, one vertical and one horizontal. The side that started facing down should stay that way
Step 4. Fold the paper in half again
Follow the horizontal crease when making the fold. Now the side that started facing down is up.
Rotate the paper so the open side is facing you
Step 5. Lift one corner and fold it following the diagonal crease
The result will be a triangle with a flap over the square part of the paper. Fold the triangle in half, taking the flap to the left side.
- Just follow the creases you've already created to make the folds.
- The inside flaps of the folds should be the unmarked color of the sheet, that is, the side that started facing up.
- Repeat the process on the other side, until you form four triangular flaps. The paper should now have a triangular shape, with two side flaps.
Step 6. Fold the top flaps towards the center crease
Take each one and fold it inward, lining up the inside edges with the crease.
- The paper should now be a diamond with two flaps over the base flaps.
- Fold the top flaps in half. Now pick them up and fold them back, aligning them with the outer edges.
- The paper will now consist of three layers of folds.
Step 7. Fold the top flaps together at the centerline
Lift them from the inside and bring them to the center crease of the paper.
- When you bring the tabs to the center crease, you will create another crease and expand the outer edge of the top tab.
- The outer edge of the top flaps will line up with the crease of the previous fold.
- The paper should remain in three layers.
Step 8. Fold the inner tabs to the edge of the previous fold
Take the tabs from under the paper and fold them inward, lining them up with the edges of the last fold made.
The paper will now resemble the shape of a bomber plane, with four points at the bottom and one point at the top
Step 9. Pull the bottom of the center tabs
Keep the anterior folds intact as you lift the center of the plane.
- Pull the two tail flaps to reveal a flattened portion of the paper. Pull the flat part up over the two tabs.
- Keep the tail folds reinforcing the creases, but in reverse. Thus, you will be able to flatten the layers of the folds.
- Now a piece of paper should be up, like a shark's fin. The outside of the fin should be on the marked side of the paper, the one that started facing inwards.
Step 10. Flatten the center portion of the paper
Take the tip of the fin and lower it onto the other layers of paper.
- You will now have a triangle between the inner edges of the wings.
- In total, the paper will have six layers of folds.
Step 11. Unfold the outer flaps that make up the wings
Each wing must have a center crease when open. Pull the top layers of them up diagonally, keeping the center folds intact. The idea is that the central crease of the wings forms the outer edge of the wings.
- The lower edges of the wings should now be straight. There should be a diagonal fold at the corners of the wings.
- When unfolding the wings, press the center creases and flatten the wings over them.
- Be careful not to disturb the central fold and tail of the bird.
Step 12. Fold the wings inwards
Now, take the edges of the wings and bring them inward, lining them up with the bottom edge of the first layer of paper.
The bottom edges must remain straight
Step 13. Undo the previous Step
With wings spread, make a small triangle on each side.
Align the long side of the triangle with the crease you created in the previous Step
Step 14. Fold the wings in again
The idea is that their inner edges will continue to touch the outer edge of the bird's tail.
- Press the triangle you made in the previous Step. Keep it intact.
- Use the creases as guides to fold the wings twice for each side. The first fold should be the same as the one you made before creating the triangles in the previous Step.
- A portion of the paper from the second fold should cover the center area of the paper. The wings should be in line with the bird's tail.
Step 15. Fold the top of the paper towards you
Take the tip of the plane and bring it to the bottom edge of the paper's center layer above the tail.
There should now be four tips at the bottom of the paper, two from the wings and two from the tail. The top should be flat now that the tip is facing down
Step 16. Fold the tip up
Take the bird's beak, which has just bent down, and bring the tip of the bird up so that a small triangle juts out from the top of the bird.
The zigzag fold you just created makes up the bird's head and beak
Step 17. Pull the underside of the nozzle you just created
You have to stretch the sides to the sides; pull them so that the bottom of each is flat and horizontal again.
- Be careful, the Step is a bit tricky: you need to keep the bottom of the bird's head intact while unfolding the wings underneath.
- Flatten the bird. It's okay if the area around the bird's head is a little wrinkled.
Step 18. Turn the paper over
Now the flat side without too many folds is facing up. Fold the bird in half to expose the folds.
Try to make the edges of the wings line up as much as possible
Step 19. Fold the wings down
Leave enough space to be able to pick up the bird's body as you would a paper airplane.
- Fold the wings down so that the top of the bird is straight and the wings point down.
- Now pull the wings up, making them level with the top edge of the bird. Repeat the process with the tail.
- The outside of the bird will be the color marked in Step one.
- Launch the bird now, as you would a paper airplane.
Method 3 of 3: Creating a Bird that Spins in the Air
Step 1. Take a sheet of paper
To create a bird that spins, you'll need an A4 bond sheet. Preferably use a colored sheet.
In the absence of a bond, use a notebook sheet
Step 2. Position the paper to create a diamond, with the bottom edge facing you
If the paper has two colors: choose the color you want for the bird and start with it face down. After folding the paper in half to form a triangle, the desired color for the bird will face up.
- Fold the paper in half, bringing the bottom edge to the top edge.
- The sheet should now be a triangle.
Step 3. Fold the paper in half again
Create a vertical crease and reopen the sheet.
The fold only serves to create the crease
Step 4. Back to the original triangle, bend the tip of it
Bring the tip of the triangle down past the bottom edge.
- The tip of the paper should go beyond the base of the triangle.
- Fold the paper vertically. Follow the crease you made in the previous Step to make the process easier.
- Rotate the paper counterclockwise 180°. It should be upright, with the tip facing to the right.
Step 5. Fold the paper flaps
Take them down, but leave enough room on the bird's body to hold it.
A triangular shape will form in the center of the paper. Fold the wings so their top edges are aligned with the triangle, which is the bird's beak
Step 6. Fold the wings up
Hold the bird's body and bring the wings up so they are flat horizontally.
- The wings need to be flat.
- Launch the bird as you would a paper airplane and watch it spin through the air.
- Choose papers with different and eye-catching colors. All colors work when the idea is to make origami.
- Try using recycled paper. Make art and help the environment!
- Folds should be very precise from the start. Any error can create an unsatisfactory result.
- The origami heron is very similar to the flapping bird of the first Method. If you want to make something special for a friend's wedding, create several origami herons. It's a very old tradition in Japan that never goes out of style.
- If the bird's wings are not flapping, loosen the folds in the cause a little.
- Keep trying even after making some ugly birds. You will improve with practice!
- Use very thin paper!
- Be careful not to cut yourself with the paper!
- Keep birds away from water.