Many know that origami is the art of Japanese paper-folding, a combination of the words "ori" and "kami." The Japanese word for fold is "ori" and "kami" is the word for paper. Originally origami was for only for the wealthy, back when paper was scarce in Japan. But once more paper became available, origami became a popular national pastime. Origami plays a big part in the Japanese cultural heritage, in fact there is a Japanese myth that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes you'll be granted one wish. On the other hand, if you make a paper duck, no wishes are in store for you, though it does make a great gift or toy.
Take a square of paper and turn it so that it looks like a diamond. Fold the top corner of the square down to meet the bottom corner. You now have what looks like an upside-down triangle or half a diamond.
Open up the triangle. You now have your diamond again, but with a fold right through the middle. Turn the paper so that the fold runs vertically.
Fold the right corner to the center fold and press down. Repeat with the left corner. You should now have something that sort of resembles a kite, or a very narrow diamond. The top point of the square remains exposed.
Fold the bottom point of your diamond up to meet the top point. Press down and make a smooth crease. Pull back the bottom point and fold it away just enough so that the top point is completely exposed.
Pull the top point down and fold it to where the bottom point folds back. Make a smooth crease.
Fold the tip of the bottom point down to its nearest crease. Press down firmly.
Fold the tip of the bottom point down to its new nearest crease. Press down firmly. This will be the head and beak of your duck. Keep these creases folded. Do not unfold.
Fold the square in half horizontally, with the bottom end of the paper being the inside of the fold.
Keep one hand pressed on the fold you just made. With your other hand, gently pull the head and beak of your duck away from the crease, so that it's in an upright position.
Fold each flap upwards on either side of the duck's head. These are its wings.
Unfold the crease you made in step five. This will be the tail of the duck and it will generally point upwards.
Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."