How to Make Origami Paper Airplanes

Dana Hinders
If you master the basic origami folds, you can make a variety of interesting paper airplane projects.

If you're interested in the art of paper folding, you may find yourself wondering how to make origami paper airplanes. While most people can remember making at least one simple paper airplane during their childhood years, there are actually a number of different ways to create airplane models using origami folding techniques.

The Appeal of Paper Airplanes

Paper airplanes are said to have originated in China, where flying paper kites was a popular form of entertainment. Today, people fold paper airplanes for a variety of reasons. For example:

  • Airplanes are a great way to pass time in a waiting room or to entertain a child when you're stuck in a location with no other toys available.
  • Some people create paper airplanes to understand more about how real airplanes work.
  • There are competitions that let participants design their own planes to be judged on distance, time, acrobatics, and stable flight.
  • People enjoy the great satisfaction that comes from creating a recognizable model out of nothing more than a folded sheet of paper.

The craft of making paper airplanes is sometimes referred to as aerogami, a combination of the words aeroplane and origami. In Japan, it is known as kami hikoki, with kami meaning paper and hikoki meaning airplane.

Online Resources for Learning How to Make Origami Paper Airplanes

The Internet is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in learning how to make origami paper airplanes. LoveToKnow Origami recommends visiting the following helpful Web sites:

  • Origami Kids is a good resource for children interested in making airplanes or adults in search of clear instructions. While the site's navigational structure is far from ideal, the animated diagrams make it easy to create paper airplanes in a variety of different styles. Once you master the airplane projects, the site also provides a number of paper boat ideas for you to try.
  • Best Paper Airplanes provides detailed instructions for making several different models of paper airplanes. Some are appropriate for beginning crafters, while others require intermediate to advanced level origami skills.
  • Paper Airplanes is a useful site that provides both printed diagrams and video instructions for creating beginning, intermediate, and advanced origami airplane projects.
  • The Origami Resource Center, a great site for learning about all types of origami, has a section devoted to paper airplane projects.

Additional online resources for learning how to make paper airplanes can be found on the DMOZ site, with users being encouraged to submit any links they find useful and informative.

Reference Books for Making Paper Airplanes

If you prefer to have a reference book handy when you're working on an origami project, you can find a variety of paper airplane ideas in the following titles:

Tips for Making Paper Airplanes

Whether you're using online instructions or referring to a book, you'll have better luck learning how to make origami paper airplanes if you keep in mind a few basic tips. For example:

  • Read all of the directions before you begin the project. Even one wrong fold may keep your airplane from flying properly. If you don't understand the terminology used, refer to the LoveToKnow slideshow on Origami Folding Instructions for a brief review of the key concepts in paper folding.
  • Use the type of paper recommended for the project. If the paper is thinner or thicker than suggested, your airplane may not fly as well as you had hoped.
  • Make your folds as crisp as possible to help the airplane keep its shape.
  • If you're going to give the paper airplane to a child, blunt the nose slightly to prevent any accidental injuries.
How to Make Origami Paper Airplanes