How to Make an Origami Airplane From a Dollar Bill

A pile of paper money

Adam Drobiec / Getty Images

Overview
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $1

Using the art of origami, or paper folding, you can fashion a paper airplane from a dollar bill (or other paper currency of your choice). While some physics buffs might want to tinker with the design to improve performance, this tutorial is quick and easy to form a basic paper airplane. It's also convenient, as you can craft planes for a paper airplane-flying competition from paper bills you might already have in your wallet. Plus, these origami airplanes are a fun way to present a cash gift to someone. You can even wrap them in an origami gift box.

Tip

All origami projects that involve money recommend using a crisp bill, and this is especially important with an origami airplane. Wrinkled bills won't hold the origami creases well, leaving you with a plane that might struggle to stay aloft. If necessary, you can iron your bill first to remove creases using a standard iron on the lowest heat setting.

What You'll Need

Materials

  • Dollar bill

Instructions

  1. Make the Preliminary Folds

    To begin making your money origami airplane, fold the dollar bill in half vertically. Crease it well, and then unfold it.

    Next, fold both the left and right sides up to meet the middle crease. When you finish your bill should be shaped like a triangle, which you can see in the photo below.

    first folds of the money origami airplane
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  2. Shape the Airplane Body

    Rotate the triangle 90 degrees. Then, fold the dollar bill in half along the crease you made in step 1.

    folding the money airplane in half
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  3. Fold the Wings

    Fold the top layer of the bill down to meet the bottom crease. Next, flip over the bill, and repeat that same fold on the other side. Aim to make both sides symmetrical, as a plane with lopsided wings won't fly properly.

    making wings of money airplane
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  4. Fly Your Plane

    Your money origami airplane is complete. Simply hold the bottom together with your fingers when you throw it. You can also try adding a small paperclip to the back to see how the extra weight affects the flight path.

    money origami airplane
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders

Making a Money Dart Airplane

You can also make a classic dart plane with a dollar bill. Simply fold your bill in half vertically, crease, and unfold. Then, fold the top corners in to the center crease, and fold each side of the paper to meet the center crease. Firmly press the creases. 

Fold the paper in half again along that center crease. To make the wings, fold each diagonal side down, so it aligns with the center fold. Make sure the wings are as symmetrical as possible to ensure a straight flight. Now it's time to test your airplane.

money origami dart airplane
The Spruce / Dana Hinders