– 6″ square paper
– Foil paper
– Single-sided paper
Takes me about 10 minutes to fold one if I am taking my time, but learning it may take 30-45 minutes, depending on what you already know.
I forget who the original creator of this model is. I have seen similar designs on Google Images but they do not quite match. If anyone knows who originally made this, feel free to let me know!
Step 1: Begin With a Square Piece of Paper
I recommend using foil paper, which is how the dragons in the intro were folded. It is easier to crease some of the folds (especially smaller or repeated folds) and gives these dragons a cleaner look.
The paper I am using is just a standard green paper (the camera had a glare when I used foil) and it is 6″ x 6″.
Start with the white side of the paper up.
Step 2: Fold the Paper in Half Diagonally.
Make a triangle.
This is eventually going to form into a crane base. If you already know how to fold this, skip to step
Step 3: Fold This Triangle in Half Again.
Step 4: Open One of the Triangle Flaps.
Open the pocket that the triangle makes. This will be folded down into a square shape, also known as a squash fold. Make sure the edges are lined up properly on this step, because it will be easier to do the following steps. Repeat this process on the other side.
Step 5: Fold All Sides of the Square to the Crease in the Middle.
These folds will be undone, but they are setups to create the creases to follow to make a crane base. Make sure to crease these well, it will be easier to perform the following actions.
IMPORTANT: Make sure the pointed side is the side that is open!
Fold the opposite side into the middle of the two folded sides (explained much better with the picture provided). This will not be for the next step, but for a few steps later.
Step 6: Open the Model, and Flatten Into a Crane Base.
Undo the creases that were just made. open the sides and flatten on the existing creases, making a diamond shape. Repeat on the other side.
Congratulations, you have made a crane base.
Step 7: Create a Sink Fold.
Open the entire model out. Crease the tiny square in the middle and gently push inwards on the square, letting two sides fold inwards, and allowing the original folds to collapse back into the square shape.
This step will revert the model back into the square form, but do not fold into the crane base just yet. A few steps must take place before the model is back into the crane base.
OPTIONAL: If you cannot do this sink fold or do not wish to do it, you can skip this step. This step is creating the dragon’s back. Leaving this step out will make the back more spiked and the legs will look slightly different, but it will still work. I recommend doing this step if you can.
If you are leaving the sink fold out, skip the next step.
Step 8: Fold the Sides Down.
Fold the top of the model downwards, so the crease touches the ends of the existing creases made before. From that, unfold and fold the tops on the two flaps inwards. The slanted outer side should touch the crease just formed.
Do this to the other side also.
From here, while leaving the top as is, fold the model back into its crane base form.
Step 9: Fold the Open Flaps Into an “X”
The sides of these flaps should touch the straight crease in the middle. Do this to both sides of the flap, which will make an “X” formation.
Step 10: Undo and Collapse.
Undo the folds just made and collapse the model on the creases just made, stopping to where they meet in the center. This new flap can be placed in either side, each of these will be the dragon’s wing. Repeat on the other side.
Step 11: Fold the Bottom Half of the Model Out.
Fold on either side, making creases. Unfold these creases to perform the next step.
Step 12: Make an Inside Reverse Fold.
By opening the side of the model, push inward, allowing inside edge of the side to be straight with the middle of the model. Do the same to the other side.
One side of this will be the dragon’s head and front feet, the other side will be the tail and the back feet.
Step 13: Open One Flap and Collapse.
Lift a flap of the inside reverse fold all the way up. Fold the top side down to the middle. The top of the middle of the model will get in the way, so fold that part inwards (essentially making a rabbit ear fold). The completed look is shown in the third picture.
Do this to all four sides. These small triangle flap things will become the dragon’s feet.
Step 14: Fold the Dragon’s Wings Up.
The two flaps on either sides of the model are the dragon’s wings. Fold both of them up, at any angle , only making sure the bottom of the wing is folded at the very point of the bottom of the center crease in the middle.
Step 15: Fold the Head and Front Feet.
Fold either side up, making an inside reverse fold. Apply the same technique again, establishing the length of the neck and creating the head. Fold this tip back again, creating the head and the dragon’s horn.
Fold the front flaps at the bottom backwards.Fold those in half downwards, making the front feet.
Step 16: Make the Back Feet.
These feet only need to be folded once, in the same direction as the front feet. Use the same technique, folding downwards.
Try to make these even, placing the dragon on a surface and seeing which leg is shorter than another. This is not essential, but it will help it stand better.
Step 17: Optional: Crimp Fold the Tail.
The dragon is finished. If you want to give some characteristic to the dragon’s tail, create crimp folds and fold down towards the front of the dragon. This will curve the tail upwards into a curve. Once the curve is made, the crimps can be folded away from the dragon and give the tail a spiked effect.
Step 18: Stylize the Dragon!
The dragon is finished. These images are simply ideas of what can be done when playing around with the dragon.
The silver dragon has its horn rolled downwards, tail edited slightly, and wings folded into more of a claw look. I named it the “mantis dragon” because of it’s similarities to a praying mantis.
The red dragon also has it’s tail edited slightly, and it’s wings are folded inwards and flattened. Like the silver dragon, it’s neck and tail are folded inwards again. The neck is slim enough for me to put a pen’s spring around it for decoration.
The blue dragon has a more swirly effect on its tail, as well as two extra folds added to the horn. The wings are folded to make it look like icicles or glacier effect. I wanted this blue dragon to look like an ice dragon.
Note: It is easier to make cool designs on dragons folded with foil, especially if you are rolling the paper rather than folding it. Creases also stay better when editing the wings to their desired look, but be careful to not over-fold the paper in the same area. The foil may rub off and accidental creases will show up much more visibly.
More variants can be seen from my title picture!