Folding Cranes, Errata

Er, rat, aye?

Er, rat, aye?

I’ve been folding some cranes.1 Well, a lot of origami cranes.  I’m shooting for 1000 in 365 days.  I’m folding more than 10 cranes a day and at this rate I’ll finish in a little over 81 days.  Here are some random tidbits about these cranes:

  • Project Considerations.  My three big concerns for folding this many cranes were the ultimate volume of 1000 cranes, the price for all the paper plus ultimate vessel, and perhaps most importantly the time to fold.  The ultimate volume of cranes would dictate the ultimate size of the end project.  If too big, where would I put it?  Paper, even decent origami paper, is relatively cheap and even $50 to $150 for a nice glass enclosure isn’t outrageous when you consider the amount of time I’m going to be devoting to this project (about 60 hours).  Of all of these considerations, time is probably the most constraining factor.
  • Paper size.  When I placed the order for origami paper, I was thinking that I would ideally be folding the cranes out of 1.5″ paper so that the end pile of cranes wouldn’t be too large.  I wasn’t really paying attention to the size of the paper I bought – I just bought the cheapest set of 1000 sheets of origami paper, which was actually two sets of 500 each.  It turned out the set I bought was 3″ square paper and when I saw it I thought it would be “too big.”  I tore the very first sheet into four squares and folded those into really tiny cranes – which took a relatively long time to fold since the steps became more intricate.  As it turns out the 3″ square paper is probably completely ideal for my purposes.  It’s small enough that the end project won’t take up an entire room and that it’s easy to carry individual squares.  It is also large enough that the paper size doesn’t make crane folding more difficult.
  • Time to fold just one crane.  Folding at a leisurely comfortable pace, but not doing anything other than folding, I can fold a single crane in 3:29.  Folding as quickly as I absolutely can, I can fold one crane in 1:44.  That was my best time after four timed trials.  I’m working on developing some guidelines on how best to go about folding 1000 cranes.  There are a few minor tweaks to traditional folding techniques that actually help shave a little bit of time, on average, from folding a lot of cranes.
  • Displaying 1000 cranes.  I’ve seen pictures of them strung on a piece of string, or several pieces of string, and affixed to a wall, a frame, or the ceiling.  I’ve also seen them glued to a large flat surface.  The problem with these methods is that, while cool, the pieces would eventually become a dust trap and start to look shabby.2 Thus, I think I would want to do something different:
    • In a box.  A lot of cranes in a clear plastic box could be interesting and keep dust and little fingers or paws out.
    • In a big vase.  As long as a top was fashioned for a really tall clear glass vase, it could work pretty well.
    • A cube/sphere/other shape.  One idea I had3 is to throw all the cranes into a watertight container, add a water/glue mixture, and compress it into a small heavy cube/sphere/other interesting shape.  The constraints from the legend behind folding these cranes is merely that the folder must retain them rather than give them away.  While I’m not necessarily interested in trying to play a loophole in the legend, I don’t really see how committing the cranes to a permanent4 form could be frowned upon.

  1. Photo courtesy of Socar Myles []
  2. I know from having made an origami mobile this is the case. []
  3. And I almost hate to admit it []
  4. If somewhat crushed/mangled []

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