Japanese Crane Fable


What's the secret of the Japanese Crane fable? Explore Asian literature with feathers in this cut-paper project.


1. Read the Japanese fable "Tsuru no Ongaeshi." The fable's main character plucked its own feathers to weave into cloth. Why did it do this?

2. To begin your crane feather project, fold several sheets of white paper in half. Cover your art area with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola® Watercolor Paints to create a large feather on each sheet, using the fold line as the center of the feather. Let air-dry.

3. Cut out the feathers with Crayola Scissors. Cut small slits into the colored sides of the feathers to give them texture. Ruffle these slits with your fingers.

4. Use Crayola School Glue to attach feathers to drinking straws. Arrange them on colored construction paper or in a vase for a colorful reminder of the Japanese Crane fable.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Use your feathers to create a weaving, just as the crane did in the story. Make several feathers and line them up horizontally. Use strips of colorful paper to weave under and over them, gluing the strips at the top and bottom. Use your weaving as a wall-hanging.
  • Draw an illustration of the fable, using Crayola® Erasable Twistables™ Crayons. Blend the feather colors with the eraser.
  • Learn more about cranes and Asian legends about them. Find out how to fold an origami crane.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

Share on Facebook


crayola supplies
  • Washable Watercolors
  • Watercolor Brushes with Plastic Handle
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper
  • Giant Marker and Watercolor Pad
household supplies
  • plastic drinking straws



  • Grades 1 to 3


  • Language Arts
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Children read the traditional Japanese fable of Tsuru no Ongaeshi.

  • Children create several paper feathers as a symbol of the feathers plucked by the crane in the story.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards