How to Make a Paper Airplane

Learn the basics of how to fold paper airplanes. Just follow these step-by-step folding instructions.

How to fold a paper airplane

Want to have some fun and make a paper airplane? It's easy! With our guide, you'll learn how to fold a paper airplane from a regular piece of paper and turn it into an impressive, long-range miniature aircraft. Follow these simple steps and in a few minutes, you'll be ready to launch your own flying masterpiece.

There are two types of paper aircraft: Those that fly a long distance, and those that stay up in the air a long time. Which do you want to build? If you want to make a paper airplane for distance, scroll down to "The Dart". If you want to build one that stays aloft for longer, scroll down to "The Glider". Once you have finished, don't forget to read the rest of the article for some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your paper airplane. You'll be an ace pilot in no time at all!

The Dart

If you want to make a paper airplane for distance, the easiest design is the Basic Dart. This design only requires 5 folds and it is very forgiving of mistakes.

Follow the simple steps below or watch the included video. Download and print our folding templates to make it even easier.

How to fold the dart paper airplane:
  1. Fold the paper in half the long ways, and then unfold and hold the paper so the fold runs vertically.
  2. Fold the top two corners to the center line to make a triangle shape at the top.
  3. Repeat, by folding the angled top left and right edges to the center line.
  4. Fold the entire airplane in half, along the crease you made in step 1.
  5. Create each wing by folding them down to meet the bottom edge of the airplane.
Step by step folding instructions for how to fold a dart paper airplane

Throw this airplane by holding it near the middle and throwing it slightly upward with as much force as you can manage.

The Glider

If you want to make a paper airplane that stays aloft the longest, the Stealth Glider is a great choice. This design is a little more complicated, but it works well and is easy to customize.

Follow the simple steps below or watch the included video. Download and print our folding templates to make it even easier.

How to fold the glider paper airplane:
  1. Fold the top right corner to the left side. Unfold and repeat with the other side to make a big X crease on the paper.
  2. Accordion fold the sides in and bring the top left corner down to the left side and the right corner down to the right side. You'll end up with a triangle centered at the top of the paper.
  3. Fold the left and right flaps up to the top point.
  4. Fold the left and right bottom edges of the diamond shape to the middle to make a kite shape.
  5. Fold the top down and tuck in the two flaps that you folded in the previous step.
  6. Fold out some wings on either side of the airplane. Make them match.
Step by step folding instructions for how to fold a glider paper airplane

Throw this airplane by slightly pinching the middle, near the front and then giving it a gentle toss.

Tips & Tricks

Does your airplane take a nose-dive? Do you want it to fly straight? Here are some tips and tricks for making the most of your paper airplane designs:

  • Try to make the creases smooth, with a crisp folded edge. Avoid wrinkles on the flat surfaces. This will make the airplane more aerodynamic.
  • Symmetry is very important. Take care that the left and right sides of the aircraft are identical.
  • Adjust the angle of the wings to get your airplane to fly straight and level. Bend the wings up to make the airplane go up and bend them down to make it go down. Bend one wing further than the other and it will cause the airplane to turn. For more advanced adjustments, read our How to Steer a Paper Airplane article.
  • If your paper airplane tends to unfold during flight, use a small piece of tape to keep it together.
  • The tips of the paper airplanes can be sharp, so be careful and don't throw them at people.
  • Experiment with weight and balance to adjust the center of mass. Add a staple or small paperclip to the nose or tail of the plane to see how it affects flight.
  • The paper airplane could knock something over and break it, so don't thrown them around fragile items.
  • Try throwing the airplane at a different angle or with a different amount of force. Some designs like to be thrown softly. Some work best when thrown straight up!
  • Pay attention to the wind. Throwing into the wind will be difficult. Instead, throw with the wind at your back for an extra speed and distance boost.

By using with these techniques, you can improve the performance of your paper airplanes and make them fly further and more efficiently. It's all about experimenting and finding the right balance. If you want to become an expert, keep practicing with different designs, different paper and different adjustments.

Next Steps

Are you ready for some more paper airplanes? This website has more than 50 different designs to choose from. A few are listed below. Try them all to find your favorite, or experiment and create your own amazing design!

In conclusion, folding a paper airplane is a simple and fun activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. With a few basic folds, you can turn a plain piece of paper into a sleek, aerodynamic aircraft. Not only is it a fun pastime, but it also teaches valuable concepts in physics and engineering. Whether you're trying to set a distance record or just want to have some fun with friends and family, paper airplanes are a great way to pass the time. So, grab a piece of paper and start folding! You never know how far your paper airplane will fly.