Flapping Bird

flapping bird

There are lots of fun origami models and this flapping bird is one of them. It takes a bit of work to make, but once it is done, the model is pretty fun and has a lot of “wow” value.

This is an “action” model which means that the model can do an action. As you might expect from its name, the origami flapping bird can flap its wings. If you can make a paper crane, then you can make this paper bird too: let’s start.

Instructions for Origami Flapping Bird

flapping bird

Step 1:

Start with a square sheet of paper with the colored-side facing up.

Fold and unfold in half along the diagonals in both directions to get an X crease mark.

flapping bird

Step 2:

Turn the paper over. Fold in half from left to right. Unfold.

Step 3:

Fold the paper in half top to bottom.

Step 4:

Push the left and right upper corners of the paper towards one another. At the same time, allow the top layer to come towards you (green dot).

Keep pushing in and allowing the point (green dot) to lift up.

Almost there.

Swivel the front flap of paper towards the right. There should be a similar flap of paper behind the model, fold this one towards the left.

Step 5:

Fold the bottom-left and bottom-right edges of the paper towards the center to meet with the vertical crease line.

Step 6:

Fold the top part of the model downwards as shown.

Step 7:

Unfold the last 2 moves bringing the model back to the preliminary base.

Step 8:

Lift the top layer of paper (green dot) upwards. Transitional steps shown below.

Keep lifting the top layer of paper up. Some of the creases made in step 5 and 6 will be reversed from valley to mountain folds.

flapping bird

Step 9:

This is how the model will look like after you’ve lifted the flap up completely.

Turn the model over.

flapping bird

Step 10:

Repeat step 5: fold the bottom-left and bottom-right edges of the paper towards the center to meet with the vertical crease line.

flapping bird


flapping bird

Step 11:

Lift the top layer up as in step 8.

flapping bird flapping bird flapping bird

Step 12:

(right panel) Like turning pages of a book, swing one flap of paper from right towards the left. On the back side of the model, do the opposite, swing the left flap of the model towards the right.

flapping bird

Note how each section of paper (called a flap) will be used to make a part of the flapping bird.

flapping bird

Step 13:

This next step is a “judgment fold” which means you get to decide for yourself where to make the fold.

First, lift the right-side of the wing a little.
Next pull down the neck part of the paper.

flapping bird

Once you’ve decided how far to pull down the neck, press the paper flat to establish the crease.

flapping bird

Step 14:

Repeat on the other side: lift the left-side of the wing and pull down the tail section of paper.

flapping bird

Press down to solidify the creases.

flapping bird

Step 16:

Next we work on the head of the bird. Make an “inside reverse” fold by folding the tip of the neck down.

flapping bird
flapping bird
Pry open the two layers of paper and…
flapping bird
push the bird’s head in between the layers.
flapping bird
The flapping bird head is done.

flapping bird

Step 17:

The flapping bird itself is pretty much done. Fold the wings up. Do this on the front layer and on the back layer.

The flapping bird can be presented in two ways. With both wings up, the model is flat and space efficient (great for sending in the mail or using as a decoration on a poster or gift card). You can also fold the wings down and the model will be 3D. If you do this, you can use your finger to curl the wings so they don’t look so stiff.
The best part of this model is that the wings flap. To do this, hold the model firmly just under the neck area. With the other hand, pull the tail away from the neck. The tension on the paper will cause the wings to flap down. You can pull and release the tail repeatedly to get flapping motion.


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