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The origami swan is a very traditional structure. This swan is very simple to make. Requiring only several mountain and valley folds, this origami swan is very well suited for beginners. The results of this swan may look a bit shabby at first, but soon, your swan will look very elegant and beautiful after only a few minutes of practice.

Steps Download Article

  1. 1
    Get a square piece of paper, turn it over so that the colored side is at the bottom. You can find a range of origami paper on Amazon.
  2. 2
    Fold the piece of paper in half diagonally, so that it looks like a triangle.
  3. 3
    Unfold your triangle so that it looks like a square again.
  4. 4
    Take the two edges across from the center crease and fold them to that crease. It should make a kite shape.
  5. 5
    Turn your paper over.
  6. 6
    Take the sides of your kite shape and fold those into the middle crease again. The kite should be thinner with triangular designs on one side.
  7. 7
    Without turning the paper over, take the bottom point of the kite (the thinnest part) and fold it up to the top point of your kite shape, with the thin point along the middle crease.
  8. 8
    Take the tip of the thin point and fold down a small portion of the point down, the portion should look like a triangle that is only about 1 or 2 centimeters (0.4 or 0.8 in) tall. The triangle formed by the previous step that was a triangle, should now look like a very tall trapezoid.
  9. 9
    Remember that middle crease at the very first step? Fold the crease in half again. Except with the design side on the top.
  10. 10
    Tightly holding the base of the triangle, pull up the thin point of the triangle to a desired height. It could be straight up, or at a sharp angle.
  11. 11
    Pull the little part out to resemble a beak.
  12. 12
    Decorate as desired.
  13. 13
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Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    What if I use a rectangle instead of square?
    Community Answer
    If you were use a rectangular paper instead of a square, your swan will end up uneven. The extra paper will stick out and could ruin your swan.
  • Question
    Does this swan stand by itself?
    Community Answer
    Yes it does, if you have the bottom part spread a little bit.
  • Question
    Why can't I get the beak right?
    Community Answer
    It is probably because you are folding it too shortly, or folding it too long. Remember to keep practicing. If that doesn't work, try doing it again on a new sheet of paper. Also don't use rectangular papers.
  • Question
    If the folds don't work, should I start again?
    Community Answer
    Try to redo it using the same paper first. If the paper is still not folding correctly, try another sheet of paper. Make sure that the paper is thin, and square (not rectangular).
  • Question
    How do I make the swan's tail?
    Community Answer
    The tail is included - it's the pointed end of the swan. Swans don't have very long tails, so there's no extra steps for the tail.
  • Question
    My swan won't stand up. Why is that?
    Community Answer
    You may be trying to stand it up on the wrong side. Make sure that it is standing on the part closest to the swan's neck. Also, make sure that you stretch that part a bit outwards.
  • Question
    What happens if the neck does not stand?
    Community Answer
    You may have folded it too much. I would suggest either starting over or inserting a toothpick into the neck to prop it back up.
  • Question
    What are the dimensions of the square piece of paper?
    Community Answer
    The paper's dimensions don't matter, the paper just has to be square.
  • Question
    Can I make a more realistic swan?
    Community Answer
    Origami isn't supposed to be realistic because it's just paper folding. What you can do, however, is draw or paint on the features, such as the feathers, eyes, beak, and markings.
  • Question
    What if I never get it right?
    Community Answer
    Don't give up! Origami is tricky at first, but practice more and you'll eventually get it.
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      wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 43 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 621,934 times.
      12 votes - 85%
      Co-authors: 43
      Updated: May 5, 2022
      Views: 621,934
      Article SummaryX

      If you want to fold a traditional origami swan, fold a square piece of paper in half diagonally so it makes a triangle, then unfold the square again. Fold in 2 edges to meet at the center crease so that the paper makes a kite shape. Turn the paper over, then fold the sides of the kite shape into the middle crease again. Take the bottom point of the kite and fold it up to the top point, then fold a small portion of the thinnest point and fold 1-2 cm back down. Fold the paper in half again along the middle crease, then pull up the thinnest point of the triangle to unfold the swan. For pictures of how to create the origami swan, read on!

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      Reader Success Stories

      • Sally Tree

        Apr 8

        "Even though I am very bad at origami, I've managed to fold it successfully by these step by step guidelines."
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