What started as a challenge from one of my former co-workers, Nathan, to see if I could fold 1000 cranes before my wedding date, became a symbol of so much more when all was said and done. There was a lot of doubt on many fronts that I would not reach my goal, especially since I refused all help. To me, the point of taking on this task while trying to maintain a social life, plan a wedding, run a non-profit, and work, was to show that no matter what obstacle might fall into my path everything could be approached with patience.
I hoped that by folding these cranes I might learn how to calmly handle stressful situations. If I could keep my cool with all that on my plate and still accomplish my goal I felt it would be a valuable lesson. And of course I just wanted to prove I could do it. There are a couple legends surrounding the folding of 1000 paper cranes; that upon completion a crane will come and grant you a wish, that if given to a bride on her wedding day she will have good luck, and even that if it is completed in honor of someone sick it might help heal them.
The stories surrounding the 1000 paper cranes challenge are beautiful and heartfelt but the meaning I attributed to my particular batch of 1000 was different. I looked at my cranes as a physical representation of the promise I was giving to Andrew on our wedding day. I was promising that no matter what tribulation found us, I would remember to try and be calm, patient, and courageous. There would be no problem we couldn’t over come, together.
Once I completed the challenge I wanted to have a way to keep them and show them off (not to mention present them to Andrew at the wedding) so I decided to make it into a mobile. The mobile I made is not a traditional mobile due to the weight of the paper-my cranes were huge-and the time in which I had to complete the task, but I am pleased with my version and you can feel free to change up the way you ultimately hang your cranes.
-craft ring (mine was metal)
-needle (kind used for large weight thread)
-beads (large center holes)
-thread (hemp cord 20lb approx 40yrd)
1. Separate your cranes into batches of 40 (Note: this if you are making a mobile from 1000 cranes. If you are working with a smaller number adjust your groupings accordingly) You will have 25 groups once separated.
2. Cut the hemp into correct lengths with enough excess at the top to tie to the craft ring. For cranes made from 4in by 4in pieces of paper I used approx. 49in per strand including the excess for tie off.
3. Tie bead to the end of the thread.
4. Thread the needle through the other end of the thread.
5. Insert needle through space in the bottom of the crane and push through the crease at the top. Pull crane down to the bead. Repeat with each crane till 40 are strung together:
6. Once all 25 groups have been strung together, begin tying all the strands to the metal ring. Make sure to keep the length even so that they will lay right:
7. Cut off excess string and space out the different strands. I chose to allow my cranes to all hang from one end of the mobile giving me a better ability to hang and store the cranes.
It wouldn’t be hard to mold these steps so that they fit all different kinds of mobile subjects. Felted hearts, colored bits of glass, pretty stone beads, anything really.
I had a lot of fun doing this whole project and despite the negative talk from some people had several friends who supported me with encouragement and faith. I had wanted to present the cranes in front of all our guests at the wedding but in the chaos and fun we missed the moment, so once everyone had gone, my maid of honor met him and I outside with the cranes where we had private ceremony just the three of us. Now when ever I see this mobile I will be reminded of my promise and to seek out serenity and patience in all the trials of my life.