Someone making a paper aeroplane.

How to Make a Paper Aeroplane

The great thing about teaching kids how to make paper aeroplanes is that once they’ve mastered the basic design, they can then have lots of fun trying to make a paper plane that flies farther and faster than the original.

Creating and playing with paper planes is a fun filled activity that your kids will love – all it takes is a little imagination and some experimentation!

Below we’ve put together two step-by-step instructions for how to make paper aeroplanes – without using glue or scissors. But also check out our Paper Plane Challenges below to give your kids a few ideas on how different construction methods might affect the way paper planes fly.  

 

How to Make a Paper Aeroplane

The basic method for making paper aeroplanes is as follows:

  1. Take a rectangular sheet of paper and fold it in half length ways and place it in front of you with the fold at the bottom.
  2. At one end, take top corner flap and fold it back so that it’s lying flush with the bottom fold, creating a triangle shape.
  3. Then, turn the paper over and repeat on the other side. You’ll now have a point at one end. This is the nose of your plane.
  4. Then, take the top flap and fold it down in half to make a narrower point parallel to your bottom fold. Repeat a second time on this side to form a wing.
  5. Turn the plane over and use step 4 to form a second wing.
  6. Hold the plane by the ‘body’ underneath, folding the wings out on either side, then throw!

You can adapt this basic ‘dart’ plane design in so many different ways for better (or worse) results! This is the best place to start if you want to know how to make planes that fly straight and for a long way – dart planes are perfect for racing!

If you want to know how to make a paper plane that stays stay in the air for longer or can do tricks try the instructions below. Alternatively, you could try making a different kind of aircraft and use our guide on how to make a paper mache hot air balloon.  

 

How to Make a Glider

Gliders aren’t for racing; they’re for performing crazy acrobatics or seeing whose plane crash lands first! This is a bit more complicated make, but is lots of fun to play with!

  1. Take a rectangular piece of paper and fold it in half lengthways. Open it out again.
  2. On the left side, fold two corners into the centre to form a point.
  3. Next, fold to the point to centre fold, along the base of the triangle, so the paper is roughly square.
  4. As in step 2, fold left two corners into the centre to form point again.
  5. Fold the point to the base of the triangle.
  6. Now, fold the plane in half again along the main fold, with the point on the outside.
  7. Fold the wings down – slightly diagonally, rising from the nose to the tail.
  8. Turn the plane over and fold the edges of the wings inward approximately 1cm wide to form flaps.
  9. Turn the plane right side up, and it’s finished!

Now, making your plane do stunts will be down to tweaking the bends in your paper and experimenting with different releases and launch methods. Can you make it do the loop the loop?  

 

Paper Plane Challenges

Why not help your kids find out the answer to these questions?

  • What if you use a bigger piece of paper?
  • Is heavier or lighter paper better for making paper aeroplanes?
  • Does a plane that you’ve coloured in with felt tip pens, fly further than a plain one?
  • What happens if you add a paper clip to the nose of the plane?
  • What happens if you use glue to stick your paper aeroplane together?
  • What happens if you make little holes or rips in the wings?
  • What happens if you fold the wings backwards and forwards to make a concertina effect?
  • Are bigger wings and a smaller ‘body’, better than a big body and smaller wings?
  • Is a pointier plane faster?
  • What happens if you fold the nose of your plane inside?
  • How can you add flaps, or a tail fin? Does this make your plane fly further or faster?
  • Do you know how to make a plane fly upside down?

Do you have any great plane-making tips? We’d love to hear about them. Let us know in the comments box below.

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