Craft ideas for kids: Origami flapping bird tutorial

Easy step-by-step tutorial: how to make an origami flapping bird.
Fun and free to make!

This was the first piece of origami I ever made.  It’s easy for kids to do, plus the finished bird actually flaps its wings, instead of just looking pretty (another plus for children).

You will need: a square of paper (you can use proper origami paper, but almost any paper will do – wrapping paper works well actually – just make sure it’s not too thick and a true square (PaperCrafty can show you how)

COST: £0
AGE: 3+ (with help!)
TIME: 5 minutes


Steps 1-4

  • Take your square of paper and place it coloured side down.  Fold the top edge to the bottom and crease.  Unfold the paper and fold the left edge to the right, crease and unfold.  Your paper will be quartered into 4 smaller squares by the creases you have made.
  • Turn the paper over (now coloured side up) and place it with one of the points towards you.  Fold the left corner to meet the right corner and crease (making a triangle shape).  Unfold and repeat (top corner to bottom corner).
  • Unfold the paper and refold, with the coloured side out, using the creases you’ve just made, with all 4 points meeting at the same place (closest to you) and flatten out in a diamond shape.

Steps 5-8

  • Fold the upper triangular flaps so that their edges meet at the middle crease (see photos).  Turn over and repeat.  You will now have a kite shape.
  • Fold the top point down over the folded flaps and crease.

Steps 9-12

  • Unfold the top point.  Open the flaps a little and take hold of the bottom corner.  Lift it all the way up to the top, while pressing down the sides, along the creases.  This will make a slim diamond shape.  Flatten, then turn over and repeat.
  • Fold the bottom point to meet the top.  Turn over and repeat.  You now have a triangular shape.
  • Pull the head and tail out to either side and crease into position (see photos).

Finishing your flapping bird

  • Reverse fold the head (this simply means pushing the tip of what will be the bird’s beak in between the sides of paper, making it look like a head) and flatten into position, so the bird is looking down.
  • To make your bird’s wings flap, pinch the bottom front corner (at the base of the wing – do not hold the wing itself) and pull the tail straight out (not down, which is usually what kids want to do).  If it doesn’t flap nicely, you may need to give his folds and joints a little wiggle to make sure the wings are nice and loose.

What to do with your finished bird?  These fold flat, so are easy to add into a birthday or thank you card.  They would also look great in bright colours strung up as a garland or mobile for a child or baby’s bedroom.   What will you do with yours..?

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'Craft ideas for kids: Origami flapping bird tutorial' have 13 comments

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  3. May 13, 2014 @ 11:41 am Hellie's Corner

    They look great, my son has an origami book so I really should try and make something from it.


    • May 15, 2014 @ 1:39 pm Hodge Podge

      Yes! Origami is brilliant because there are designs to suit all skill-levels and ages (plus you can make it for free with receipts or junk mail, or any kind of paper anywhere).
      Let me know what you make!


  4. May 13, 2014 @ 12:37 pm The Reading Residence

    This looks great! I like the idea of popping them in with some of my snail mail, thanks.


    • May 15, 2014 @ 1:40 pm Hodge Podge

      Thank you! They are cute to put into cards, especially with a thank you note 🙂


  5. May 13, 2014 @ 6:24 pm Kate Williams

    This is really cute! Haven’t done anything like this in agggeeesss! #pintorials


    • May 15, 2014 @ 1:42 pm Hodge Podge

      Super easy too Kate! Reckon we could get The Toddler and Pickle to have a go at some origami on our next play date..?


  6. May 14, 2014 @ 7:34 pm Hodge Podge CraftThe best P crafts for kids

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  7. May 14, 2014 @ 9:12 pm Michelle Maggs

    These look fab! I’ve done origami twice now and still find it a little fiddly, but I’ll try your step by step guide 🙂


    • May 15, 2014 @ 1:43 pm Hodge Podge

      Definitely start with something simple Michelle – this one is perfect – let me know how you get on..!


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