I first wrote about my paper crane project for 2020 back on January 9th. I am proud to say that I have kept up with crafting and posting on Instagram one paper crane every single day so far this year. It is a practice that has really helped me to stay grounded and present, especially as 2020 has taken a really weird turn.
In that post, I mentioned that my project might evolve throughout the year, and oh boy, has it! When we moved to London on March 17th and the city went into lockdown on March 23rd the cranes started piling up around my flat and I needed to figure out what to do with them. My previous mode of operation had been to leave them somewhere we went during the day - a charity shop, the grocery store, church, etc. With that out of the picture, I had to get creative!
First, I came up with the idea of including one in each of the Easter mailings we were sending out to our church members. My colleague thought that was a great idea so I gathered up all the ones I had made, made about 20 specifically for that, and those went out for Easter.
Next, Mike asked me to come up with a display for the church window for Easter. At first, I was stumped but then...cranes to the rescue! I haven't strung paper cranes in years but I quickly remembered how to do it and Joel helped me find the right supplies (small beads and fishing line) on eBay for super cheap. Eight strands and 64 cranes total later we had a pretty good looking window display if I do say so myself!
I enjoyed stringing the cranes so much I wanted to keep doing it. So I made a strand for myself at home. Then another, and another. And, well, you get the picture: flat covered in cranes once again. I even figured out how to string them sideways so they came out more like a garland rather than just a hanging strand (I am planning to make some like this at Christmas with special Christmas paper!)
Then, I came up with the idea to give them away outside my flat. I was a little concerned that no one would want to take them for fear of germs in the midst of the pandemic...so I asked my Facebook friends what they thought. The overwhelming majority said they thought it was a good idea and they would absolutely take them if they found something like that so I went for it! I took an extra sticker hook thing we had lying around and put it up right outside my door. The first strand of cranes disappeared the first day!
One friend did suggesting putting a note on them about safe handling so I took that advice and it seems to be working well. I make the cranes one day then quarantine them for 24 hours in an out of the way spot in the flat. Then I make sure to wash my hands before I hang them so hopefully, they are as safe as can be!
I usually put them up pretty early in the morning, and I like to check throughout the day if they are still there. Sometimes they get taken really early and sometimes it's well into the evening before they are gone. Every time I go to check and the hook is emptyy I get a little thrill! I absolutely love doing this and knowing that I've hopefully been a bright spot in someone's day. One person reached out to me on Instagram (I leave my handle on the back of the note) to say thank you and that was awesome. Someone else left a handwritten note with a drawing of a paper crane on the hook for me to find!
Out of the Facebook post about whether or not I should put the cranes outside came a few requests for me to mail a set to some friends. Since I was mailing out three I decided to purchase mailing envelopes in bulk...so I ended up with 100. That is not a typo. So then I offered to mail them to anyone who wants one for the cost of shipping + a little extra for supplies (I have since purchased more paper online!) I am not charging for my time to make them as I don't want a side hustle and I truly want this to remain something I do for fun and relaxation, not an income.
So far I've had over 20 orders from that Facebook post! I'm asking for $6.75 for one strand, $12 for two, $15 for three, and $20 for four or more. By the time I've paid to ship everything I think I will just about break even on buying the paper and other supplies, making my paper crane habit free for me! Yay! I'm really loving some of the new paper I got - some really cool patterns, different sizes, etc. I enjoy putting together combinations that I think work well together.
So that is how my paper crane project has evolved so far throughout the last month, really. I am still doing one crane a day on Instagram, and then that crane usually gets incorporated into a strand at some point. If you have read all this and want a crane strand for yourself, send me a message and we'll make sure you get one!
In the meantime, wash your hands and stay safe!