Kids – and even adults – are fascinated with the boomerang. These ancient curved sticks are often referred to as a “returning boomerang” and were invented by the Aboriginal tribes of Australia. Make your DIY version out a simple sheet of paper. Kids can learn to fold a boomerang origami-style and will not have to use sharp knives to cut them out of foam. Once you get the hang of throwing them, they’ll return to you every time.
Things You'll Need
- Paper, 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches
- Colored pencils
Place your paper on the work surface so the long sides are at the top and bottom. Fold the paper in half by bringing top of the paper towards you to meet the bottom edge of the paper. Align the edges perfectly and crease the fold with your fingers. Open the paper and cut along the fold.
Set one half aside. Take the other half piece and place it on the work surface horizontally with the long sides at the top and bottom. Fold the paper in half as you did previously by bringing the top to the bottom edge. Align the edges of the paper perfectly and crease the fold by running your finger over it. Take your fingernail and run it over the crease after your finger. Open the paper and set it back down as it was before – with the long sides at the top and bottom.
Smooth and flatten the paper with your hands. Take the top edge and fold it towards the crease. You will fold it to where the edge is 1 millimeter above the crease in the middle of the paper. Look to make sure it is even all of the way across the edge and crease the top fold by running your finger and then fingernail across it. Repeat for the bottom edge by folding it up to 1 millimeter below the middle crease.
Place the paper down flat with the folds face up. Take the right short edge of the paper and fold it towards the left short edge and line the edges up. Hold them down against the surface with your left thumb once they are aligned. Take your right forefinger and place it in the loop on the right. The paper will be stiff from all of the folded layers and may be difficult to bend. Move your finger around to straighten out the paper so that it curves. Press down on the edge to create a fold. Run your nail over the fold.
Move the paper to position it vertically so the short closed end is on the top and the short open end is close to your body. Use your left hand to hold the paper down in the middle. Use your right hand to fold the right corner in to meet the middle fold. Crease and run your fingernail over the fold. This is a similar motion to a paper airplane. Do the same for the left corner. The end now looks like an arrow. Your left hand will need to stay in place because the layers of paper tend to shift during folding.
Pick up the paper and unfold the right corner fold. Bend the corner in the opposite direction and crease. Repeat on the left side. Slightly open the right side of the paper so the two layers separate. Fold the corner downward so that it tucks into the fold. Close the layers back together. Repeat on the left side. Run your fingers over the top angled folds to smooth. The end of the paper should look like an arrow.
Unfold the paper by opening the bottom edge. Bring it upward to open the fold. Unfold the right side by pulling the edge that is folded in the middle back towards the right side. The creases in the paper have made a diamond shape in the middle of the paper.
Reinforce the folds in the middle of the paper. Fold the paper in half away from you so only the bottom half of the diamond is showing. Pinch the fold between your fingernails and run them over the paper. The paper should be in a mountain or an A shape. Unfold the paper so it is flat. Flip it over and repeat pinching and running your nails down the four sides of the diamond shape.
Flip the paper back over so the folds are facing you. Bring the top half of the right side folds back to the center and hold with your left thumb. The diamond in the middle will start to fold inwards. There will be a point of the diamond sticking out towards you. Fold that in and up towards your left thumb. Move your left thumb down to hold it. The bottom half of the paper will have turned towards the right and your paper should look like a capital L.
Fold the top edge of the right side back into the middle. This is the top edge of the paper that is jutting out to the right. The paper now is starting to take the shape of a boomerang – a wide, rounded V. There should be a pocket in the center of the paper.
Place the paper down with the pocket side up. Pick it up and reinforce the top middle crease by pinching it. Take the left side and fold the top half down. The pocket in the middle should start to fold in and take a mountain shape. Fold the top edge of the right side down to the bottom edge and the mountain will fold to the left and flatten. Pinch the middle between your left thumb and forefinger and smooth all of the folds with your right hand.
Open the folds. Lift up the left side bottom edge. Pull the folded corner out of the middle and hold with your right hand. Use your left hand to fold the left side top edge down, forming a middle pocket. Release the folded corner from your right hand and stick it in the pocket. Use a point of a pencil, if needed, to get the corner in place. Smooth all of the paper flat and run your fingers over all creases.
Pick up the boomerang and open the end of one side. Do not open all of the way, just enough to be able to work with the corners. To seal the ends, fold the right corner to the middle fold and make a crease, then fold the left the same way. Unfold the right side, open the middle fold and fold the right corner inside similar to earlier. Flatten and crease it. Open the left folded corner and leave it. Fold the middle fold to close the side back together. You will have the left corner sticking up like a flap. The right side made a pocket at the end of the boomerang. Bend the flap down and stick it inside the pocket. Tuck it in all the way up to the crease and press it flat. Repeat for the other end of the boomerang. Press the entire boomerang flat.
Use colored pencils to draw Aboriginal symbols on the boomerang, if desired. Children can make up their own symbols and meanings as well.
Practice throwing the boomerang. Hold the boomerang with the side with the middle diagonal line facing up. Angle the left side of the boomerang down and flick your wrist like you are throwing a Frisbee.