Making and flying paper planes is simply a right of childhood. Is there anything more exciting than creating your very own paper jet, using all of your concentration to make the perfect model that flies further, faster, and longer than all of your friend’s planes?
As adults, we should be passing this skill and joy down to future generations, showing them exactly how to create the perfect paper plane.
Wondering how to make a paper plane? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
There are various designs that are suited to beginner, moderate, or expert paper plane fliers. Some designs are suited to young children, while others are more for older kids or young at heart. Other designs are specifically used for distance, speed, or acrobatics.
We take a look at the best paper planes for a range of scenarios, looking at the following questions:
- What’s the best paper for making paper airplanes?
- How to make a paper airplane easy
- How to make a paper plane that goes far
- How to make a fast paper airplane
What’s the best paper for making paper airplanes?
The best paper for making paper planes is plain paper (pardon the pun).
Any standard 8.5″ x 11″ or (A4 sheet) with a smooth coating is a good choice, just make sure that one side isn’t coated or a bit sticky as this will not optimize plane performance. Decent quality printing paper from your home printer is sure to do the trick if you can spare some, and it will save you buying separate paper plane materials!
How to make a paper airplane easy
For a standard, iconic paper plane, choose the Bulldog Dart.
It’s great for beginner plane designers and young children who will have no difficulty following these instructions or executing the simple folds.
To make a Bulldog Dart, follow these steps:
- Take your A4 pieces of paper and lay it down vertically.
- Fold the piece of paper in half the long way. This doesn’t have to be a serious fold as it is more a guide for the coming folds.
- Fold over the top corner on each side of the paper. These corners should line up with the middle crease and meet each other in the center of the paper. You might start to recognize this simple design – it’s often the first one we learn as a kid!
- Turn the piece of paper over. Fold down each top corner again, also coming to the middle crease. They should also line up with each other on this side. Many of the early designs we learn stop here, but we are going to take it a bit further to improve the flight ability of the plane.
- Fold over the top of the plane, bringing the point down to meet the bottom of the previous folds.
- Next, fold the whole plane in half. You will begin to see the stumpy nose, the Bulldog Dart’s iconic feature.
- Make the wings of your plane by folding each side down. This crease should be straight from the nose.
- Grip it from underneath and give it a go! Avoid the urge to give it a strong launch. The heavy nose will make it quickly crash to the ground. The best approach is to throw it softly and let is glide.
How to make a paper plane that goes far
Slightly more advanced than the previous model, this plane is better suited for an intermediate audience. It involves more folds, so it probably best left to the older kids. This plane is called the Harrier and flies better and further than the Bulldog Dart.
We’ve outlined the below steps so you can make your own Harrier:
- Begin by folding your A4 piece of paper in half. This should be done lengthwise, just like the Bulldog Dart. Again, it is just a guide for the next folds rather than a strong, deliberate crease.
- Fold each top corner to meet in the middle. They should align with each other and the center fold.
- Fold the top down to create an envelope-type shape. There should still be a half-inch or more at the bottom, so don’t fold it down right to the bottom.
- Next, fold down the top corners. They should meet in the middle, leaving a little triangle hanging out below them.
- Fold the small triangle up and over the bigger triangles. This will hold them in their place.
- Fold the entire plane in half. This should be down outwards, so the little triangle is on the outside.
- Take one wing down until it meets the bottom of the plane. Fold it here and then do the same thing to the other side.
- Take it for a fly! The pointy end and extra folds in the wings give it much greater stability, meaning it can go further.
How to make a fast paper airplane
The final paper plane design is much more complex than the previous designs, but it is also far more advanced and will fly much faster than either of the other two.
This plane, the Hammer, is for serious paper plane enthusiasts. It will be sure to impress with its speed and durability.
- Start by taking your piece of paper and folding the top left corner all the way down and across. Make a crease when it meets the right edge of the paper.
- Open it up and do the same thing to the other side, pulling the right corner all the way down to the left side to make a crease. You should now have an ‘x’ in folds across your paper.
- Now take the top right corner and bring it down until it lines up with crease. Fold it here, along the line that goes from the top left corner to the bottom right side.
- Do the same with the other side, taking the left corner down until it lines up with the opposite diagonal line.
- Take the plane and fold it in half. Unfold it and use this crease as a guide.
- Take the top and fold it down until it meets the bottom of the paper.
- Fold the top corners down until the points meet in the middle, then unfold. You will use this crease as a guide.
- Take the top from step 6 and fold it up on itself until it meets the crease created in step 7.
- Fold the top corners in again, this time making sure they meet the edge of the flap and crease from step 7.
- Fold in the wings once again, using the crease you established previously. The lines should be straight, directly from top to bottom.
- Take the top and fold it down, ending at the wing flaps that were made in step 10.
- Fold the entire plane in half outwardly. All flaps should now be on the outside, and don’t worry if it is starting to feel thick – it should be by now.
- Take the wings and fold them down to meet the bottom of the plane. A snub nose will be created. Be precise with this fold as it may be difficult due to the thickness.
- Time to experience the speed of this plane – grip it underneath and watch it glide!
To recap, here are the main points you should take away from this article.
- Plain A4 paper is all that is needed to make a paper plane.
- For beginners and young children, opt for a Bulldog Dart. It has simple folds and is easy to make.
- For intermediate paper plane designers and those looking for something that goes a bit further, try the Harrier.
- Experienced paper plane enthusiasts should try the Hammer, the fastest of the three plane designs.