How to Make the Perfect Paper Airplane, Step-by-Step

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Children love to fly paper airplanes outdoors.
Children love to fly paper airplanes outdoors. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

People often over-think the paper folding process when making paper airplanes. Even if your previous attempts at making a paper plane have resulted in a bunch of wrinkled, mauled wads of paper on the floor, you can make a perfect paper airplane if you fold the paper the right way. Practice makes perfect, of course, but once you get the hang of the folding process your paper airplanes will soar far across your house, yard -- or office -- with the greatest of ease.

Things You'll Need

  • Printer paper, white or decorative
  • Pencil or pen

Place a sheet of white or decorative printer paper horizontally in front of you on a table. Fold the top edge over to meet the bottom edge, and line up the edges perfectly. Run the side of a pencil or pen over the fold to create a crisp seam.

Flip the folded paper so that the seam faces down. Grasp the upper right corner of the paper, and fold it over to touch the seam and create a triangular flap. Line up the right edge of the triangular flap with the bottom seam, and run the pencil or pen along the folded edge of the triangular flap to create a crisp seam. Flip the folded paper over and repeat this process to create a corresponding triangular flap on the other side.

Grasp the top folded seam of one of the triangular flaps, and fold the top seam over to touch the bottom seam of the paper. Line up the seams perfectly, and run the pencil or pen along the fold to create another crisp seam. This transforms one of the triangular flaps into an elongated flap. Repeat this process to elongate the second triangular flap on the other side.

Grasp the top folded seam of one of the elongated flaps, and fold the top seam over to touch the bottom seam of the paper. Again, line up the seams perfectly, and run the pencil or pen along the fold to create another crisp seam. This turns one of the elongated flaps into a thin, narrow flap. Repeat this process to create the second thin, narrow flap on the other side.

Hold onto the bottom seam of the paper along with the first two folded flaps, and lift up the thin, narrow flaps. These narrow flaps will act as the wings of your airplane. Push up the wings so that they sit parallel to the ground. Now you can hold up and throw your perfect paper airplane for its first flight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use glue or staples when making your paper airplane or it could become too heavy and might not fly properly.
  • Do not rip pieces of the paper to customize your paper airplane. If you do want to add customization, use scissors instead.
  • Never throw a paper airplane directly at a person or pet.

References

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