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Making origami paper cranes is a rewarding hobby

Kidsday reporter Emily Wu, of Candlewood Middle School,

Kidsday reporter Emily Wu, of Candlewood Middle School, Dix Hills, is nearly halfway toward her goal of folding 5,000 paper cranes. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

Birds are wonderful creatures. They have grace and elegance and the freedom to fly anywhere. And then there is origami, the skill of folding paper into something beautiful, an art that originated in Japan.

Combine these two things and you get paper cranes. It might be considered silly — most would question the point of folding countless pieces of paper into birds.

I started folding cranes in March 2018. My goal is to fold 5,000 birds, which isn’t much compared to the most cranes ever folded. I fold cranes as a hobby and a way to pass time.

I also love challenging myself at different things while folding the birds. For example, I would time myself with my phone to test how fast I can fold one bird, or I would attempt to fold the perfect bird. This also helps me stay motivated because like many kids I have a short attention span. In my most recent count, I have folded at least 2,200 paper cranes.

Of course, folding birds is time-consuming. When I was younger, my friend was into origami. My mom caught wind of this, and she brought us origami paper (fancy paper that is already square) and decided to join us. At first, we started off strong, but I couldn’t fold it perfectly. I now fondly think about that time and laugh about how silly I was. Since then I’ve grown much more patient and accepted that everything doesn’t have to be perfect.

Since I’ve started this project, my family has been finding these little cranes scattered around the house. I’ve developed new ways of storing my birds since my desk wasn’t enough. I have my bird box. It is a box I painted. I've taken old T-shirts and transformed them into bags to hold my birds. I also string my birds. I take thread and string 50 to 100 birds at a time. I decorate my room with my prized possessions.

Maria Lennon and Erica Schultheis’ writing club, Candlewood Middle School, Dix Hills

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