Legend says that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted one wish. It’s a beautiful idea which a young Japanese girl named Sasaki Sadako hoped to achieve. Sasaki was an infant at the time of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, and developed leukemia as a result of her exposure to radiation. At the age of eleven, she began making a senbazuru ( a thousand paper cranes), wishing for her recovery from leukemia. As time went on, however, she began to wish for world peace instead. While she died at the age of twelve, her message was not forgotten. The Children’s Peace Memorial in Hiroshima commemorates the child victims of this bombing, and every year, thousands of origami cranes are sent to Hiroshima by children from all over the world.
A senbazuru is a beautiful symbol of peace, and a great idea for a school project where many classrooms can be involved. On a smaller scale, a simple crane chain provides a powerful reminder of this story, and is a lovely way of brightening up a child’s room. Both of my children enjoyed making them years ago, and still have them hanging in their rooms today.
- origami paper
- beads (optional)
- hook for hanging
Cranes can be made by fairly young children, but does require patience and precision. Chains can be of any length and colour combination. We worked our way through colours available in a standard packet of 10 x 10 cm origami paper. A larger size such as 15 x 15 cm will work better for younger children.
Once you’ve completed all the folding, lay the cranes out in the order they’ll be attached. Thread a needle using coloured thread, make a knot at the bottom, and poke the needle through each crane from the small open hole in the base, through the centre of the top. Make sure your finger is not resting there, so it doesn’t get poked. Also, make sure the thread is long enough for all the cranes, and to hang the chain at the height you had in mind. Once all the cranes have been attached, make a loop at the top end of the thread for attaching onto a ceiling hook.
Including a bead between each crane is also an option.
How to Fold A Crane:
You can easily find instructions in books and on the internet. While there are minor variations in these instructions, the end result is the same. I have included some basic information about origami in this post: Origami 101 .
There are many wonderful origami books available at bookstores and libraries. Classic Origami by Paul Jackson is one of my favourites.
Here are a few websites: