1000 Cranes Mobile

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)

To Begin:
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.

For directions on how to fold a paper crane click HERE. For more of the history of the 1000 Cranes, click HERE

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.


  1. Kat says:

    The mobile is sooo awesome!

  2. andrew says:

    So many paper cranes, it’s a really heavy mobile.

  3. Michelle says:

    I’m so glad I got to help you present them to him!! And who was negative about it? I’m glad you didn’t let what they believe they can’t do (I’m guessing maybe that’s why they were negative) stop you! 🙂 It turned out really well!

    • Nicole says:

      There were just a couple of people who thought the challenge would be too hard to complete in the time I had. Whenever I wasn’t working on it, they would bring up the fact that I only had such and such amount of time to get it done.


  4. C says:

    Nicole this is great! I love this blog, and love seeing the crane mobile!

  5. Cara says:

    This is so neat. What a fun project! If only I was so talented in making paper cranes! 🙂

  6. Ashley says:

    I just happened upon your blog the other day and I’m so happy I did! Thank you for teaching and showing me new things in such a beautiful way! Keep up the amazing work!

  7. --sam-- says:

    This is beautiful! I have to say that I can’t imagine taking on a project of this magnitude with so many other things (wedding!) going on in your life, but I think it’s great that you did something that affirmed your ability to handle stress. I can imagine the flak I would have gotten from family members and friends, as you did. It is sad that people feel the need to tell us what we *can’t* handle rather than being supportive (though if you asked them, they would honestly say they were trying to be supportive). Imagine all of the great inventions and works of art that would never have been created if creators listened to the negative comments (conversely, I’m sure a lot of things have never been done because people listened to the busybodies)! Sadly, women get these kinds of comments far more than men do. Thank goodness for the people who were supportive (and that you listened to them)!

    I started this because I have a question – what kind of paper did you use to do this? Was it origami paper? Did it come in one pack? If not, how many packs did you go through? Where did you get it? What size was it? Did you have to cut some or all of the sheets from larger pieces of paper?

    I love how there are so many different colors and designs! Most of these that I’ve seen are either one color or several solid colors, often grouped as rainbows or just strands that are each a solid color. I really love how unique each one looks. If there are repeats, which I imagine there are. I can’t see them!

    One last request: Would it be possible to post a higher resolution copy of the last photo (the full size one with the flower in the corner)? Not inline, necessarily, but one that pops up as an overlay (like a gallery) or in a new page/tab? I’d love to see the details more clearly! (Did you make the flower? Is it made from fabric? What are the white things above the hoop?) I posted it to my Pinterest board, “Paper” (username: ososfine) You’re photography is excellent, btw.

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you!

      Sadly, due to life, my blog has taken a back seat and I was thinking the other day that I needed to try to revive it and give it some life. Reading your comment really put that drive me again to start breathing life back into this. I so enjoy it!. Thank you for your encouraging and wonderful insight into the process! Now to answer your questions:

      1. Because origami paper is so expensive and I needed a ton I ended up using scrapbook paper. I cut every single piece down to a five by five in. square using a template I had for quilting that was the perfect size. This was how I was able to get so many different patterns. I tried to keep the coloring complimentary though. I cut several from smaller sheets but most of them I cut from large 12×12 sheets. I got about 4 sheet from each larger sheet.

      2. I might have one I can link to the image when you scroll over 🙂 I’ll try getting it added and comment again when I have. The flower was not something I made, it was a beautiful coat hook I found at Hobby Lobby.

      Thanks again for reaching out and sharing my work. This has inspired me to get back to doing some great blogging!