Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tutorial Thursday: Origami Crane Hanging Crystal Clips

Paper cranes are generally associated with good luck, hope, happiness and peace, especially amongst the Japanese. Some people believe that folding a thousand cranes will result in a wish being fulfilled, as an ancient legend describes. There are various rules and stipulations to the folklore. Some say that the 1,000 cranes must be completed within a year and the wish-maker must keep all folded cranes for their wish to come true.

Regardless of ancient legends and symbolism, a paper crane is something I find very elegant, serene and beautiful. It's also quite therapeutic trying to fold a ton of them! For our wedding, I had no lofty ambition of folding a thousand paper cranes by hand. I wish I could have.. it would have been sweet, but it just wasn't practical with our timeframe. Instead, I made one crane for every guest invited regardless of whether they could attend or not.

The crane clips were inspired by hanging mobiles and sun catchers. They were also the perfect excuse for me to buy Swarovski crystal beads ;) We used the clips as our guestbook, and got our friends and family to scribble messages on the back of their photobooth photos and clip them on our Wishing Tree. We were lucky enough to have a beautiful live, leafy tree in the middle of our reception area courtyard and everyone had fun picking out their favorite crane to hang their well-wishes on! We still have them hanging on our wooden toy tree at home and it always brings a smile to see the photos and read the messages :)

I think these would work well not only at weddings, but at other parties too - engagements, baby showers, children's birthdays etc. They are quite fiddly to make, but look quite spectacular, especially on tree branches.

(Above 3 photos by Milk & Honey Photography)

You will need:

  • Origami paper (or any squared piece of paper) to make your cranes
    • There are again, a zillion websites teaching you how to fold an origami crane, so I won't bore you with those details. Personally, I learnt a lot faster with someone folding one right in front of me and less cranes got mauled at the end of it.
    • You don't need to use origami paper. I used old music sheets, maps, sheets of Japanese rice paper from the local art store, vellum paper.. obviously, the thicker the paper, the harder it will be to fold!
  • String, twine, jute or fishing wire - just something to hang your cranes with
  • Needle - No, not Arya Stark's sword. A sewing needle. You will need one with a big enough eyelet to pass your string through. 
  • Beads - Any bead with holes big enough for your needle to pass through will do. I adore Swarovski crystals because of how clear and shiny they are, but this is where you let your creativity loose. String up one bead, or a few!
  • Mini clothespegs - I used the 25mm ones but any size will do. The important part is the diameter of the metal spring's hole. That needs to be wide enough for your string to pass.

What to do:

Cut a piece of string to 1.5x the length you'd like your finished crane clip to be. I'm not very fond of math, so I eyeball it but essentially, you just want a bit of extra string so you have an easier time tying all the knots. If you have no idea, try starting with 60cm piece of string - it would be plenty long for everything and you could adjust the lengths of subsequent clips once you get the feel.

Make a loop at one end and tie.

Thread the other end of the string through your needle. This is the fiddly part and I learnt the hard way that no amount of shoving is gonna get thick burlap twine through that needle eyelet so I had to find something thinner :(

If you wanted, you could thread your bead(s) at this stage and knot the string just below the beads if you wanted some beads above your crane. 

If not, poke your needle through the top of your fluffed-up paper crane smack in the middle of its "body" and pull your string through the ready-made gap on the other side.

You can choose to make a knot just below where you want the crane to sit at this stage, or do all your knots at once in the end.

Next, thread your string through your bead(s) and pull through. You will need to make a knot below the bead at some stage unless you want it to just fall onto your wooden peg and sit there.

Almost there! 
Thread your string through the side of the wooden peg through the hole in the metal spring. Tie it up, snip off the extra string and your crane clip is ready to hang up!


Tips and hints:

  • To maintain some distance between beads, I tied a knot under each one. I used the same trick to keep my crane sitting off the bead.
  • Thinner paper is MUCH easier to fold, but also MUCH easier to rip, especially when puffing up the cranes and spreading the wings! Be careful!
  • There are two ways to fold cranes - I personally prefer the one where the wings cannot flap because I think it looks a bit more refined and elegant. If you skip steps 14 and 15 in the link just mentioned, you'll get the more triangular-looking cranes with flappable wings when you hold tight to the head and pull the tail.
  • Don't worry about the lengths and the size of the loops! It makes things less visually boring when all the crane clips are hung up.
  • Don't worry about your string being crinkly - the weight of whatever you're clipping will straighten it out.

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