Origami mobile tutorial: cranes garland

As promised, here is a new tutorial.

I’ll show you how to make this kind of pretty origami vertical garland.

Origami is a nice and relaxing activity that I recommend to everyone. There is something peaceful about folding paper with care that is similar to threading beads or knitting: I guess it has to do with the repetition of simple movements.

I make garlands with cranes, the most common folding, but of course there are plenty of other shapes to choose from.



You will need: 

  • 5 sheets of origami paper (4 x 4 in.)
  • 28 in. of stringing wire or any resistant thread
  • 16 bicone Swarovski crystals (see below)
  • 17 crimp beads
  • 1 small metal bead (2 mm)
  • 1 larger bead (around 0.5 in.) or a tassle
  • 1 head pin
  • cutting pliers, flat-nose pliers and round-nose pliers

origami garland tutorial

I selected four types of Swarovski bicone crystals, shown above:

  • 5 light brown crystals to go under the cranes as the crimp beads would be too small to hold them in place (4 mm)
  • 5 very small light browns crystals to go on top of the cranes (2 mm)
  • 4 black crystals to go in-between the cranes (4 mm)
  • 2 yellow crystals to go on the very top and the very bottom of the garland (4 mm)

Feel free to change colours and types of beads for your garland!


Step 1 : the cranes

For this tutorial, I chose paper in sunny yellow tones. Some are plain and some have patterns; I like mixing the two.

origami garland tutorial

First things first, let’s fold! Here is how to fold a crane. We will need 5 of them.

origami garland tutorial

Two down, three to go. I enjoy listening to music or a podcast while keeping my hands busy.

Voilà! All five cranes are done.

Prick each crane’s back with a needle so you can thread the wire through it later. There is no need to make a hole on their bellies as the folding already leaves a space there.


Step 2: the top loop

First, we will make the loop from which to hang the garland. Slide a crimp bead on the wire and make a loop by threading the wire back through the bead, as shown in the picture below. Leave a bit of a wire tail so the bead has a good hold, but don’t make it too long.

Flatten the bead using the flat-nose pliers.

origami garland tutorial

Thread a yellow crystal and slide it through the wire tail to hide it. If the tail is too long, you can cut it. Then thread another crimp bead and flatten it so the crystal holds into place.

Your garland’s top loop is now ready!

Step 3: beading

Now thread the cranes and their accompanying beads, in order: one small brown crystal, one crane, one regular-size brown crystal, and lastly one crimp bead.

I don’t put a crimp bead on top of the crane: it’s not necessary and the result looks better that way.

Measure approximately 2 inches (5 cm) from the yellow crystal to the small brown crystal on top of the crane. Then flatten the crimp bead.

origami garland tutorial

For this manipulation, I find it easier to hang the garland on a nail and work vertically. Gravity helps measuring: push the beads and crane high then let them slowly come down until they are where you want them to be. Pinch the wire just below the crimp bead to hold it in place then flatten it.

origami garland tutorial

When your first crane is up, thread a crimp bead at a 1.5 in. distance of the previous one, and flatten it. Thread a black crystal and another crimp bead, flatten it. Next will be another crane like the first one, then another black crystal, then a crane, etc. Rinse and repeat five times, finish with the last crane. Here is a breakdown:

origami mobile sketch

Step 4: the bottom loop

Same concept as the top one.

Thread and flatten a bead at a 2 in. distance of the previous one. Thread a yellow crystal and another crimp bead. Using your round-nose pliers, make a smaller loop that goes back through the crimp bead and crystal. Cut the excessive wire if necessary so the loop is small, and flatten the bead.

origami mobile

The bottom loop is now ready.


Step 5: the weighted end

You now have a large bead, a small metal bead and a head pin left. I like teardrop-shaped beads to end the garlands, but a tassle look very nice too. Just be careful it weights enough so that the stringing wire is straightened when hanging.

Set the beads on the pin.

Cut the excessive part of the pin. I leave about a finger’s width, as shown in the picture.

Using the round-nose pliers, make a loop; don’t close it yet.

Hitch this open loop with the garland’s bottom one then close it using the flat-nose pliers.

Congratulations, the garland is now done! You can hang it anywhere you like. It looks lovely either on a wall or on the side of a mirror, door or window. The cranes can spin freely on the wire so they interact nicely with the wind.

Origami mobile

origami mobile

There can be many variations on this theme: you can hook several garlands on a stick and make it a wide wall decoration. Or hook them on a circular hoop to make an origami mobile to hang above a crib. The limit is your imagination… so no limit at all.

Happy folding!


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