How to Make a Basic Paper Airplane

simple paper airplane

The Spruce / Dana Hinders

Overview
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly

There are many methods to make a paper airplane, some much more intricate than others. This origami paper airplane is quick and easy to make, and it's able to make long, straight flights. The project works best with 6-inch lightweight origami paper squares. Although many origami projects can be folded with scrapbook paper, magazine pages, and other materials, the airplane needs a lightweight paper to fly well. Thicker paper is also more difficult to fold, which makes it more likely that your plane will be asymmetrical and end up taking a quick nosedive upon launch. This project is a great activity to do with kids, making it a lesson about both origami and aviation. And you could even turn it into a friendly competition to see whose paper airplane can fly the farthest.

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Watch Now: How to Make a Simple Origami Paper Airplane

What You'll Need

Materials

  • 1 6-inch square piece of origami paper

Instructions

  1. Make the Initial Paper Airplane Folds

    Start by folding your square piece of origami paper in half with the white side facing up. Crease well, and unfold it. Then, turn and fold the paper in half from the other direction. Crease well, and unfold it.

    Next, fold the top of the paper ​to the middle crease. When you're finished, your paper should look like the photo below.

    first fold for paper airplane
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  2. Fold Down the Corners

    Fold down the top left corner to meet the edge of the colored side of your paper. Fold down the top right corner in the same manner.

    second folds for paper airplane
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  3. Make the Nose of the Paper Airplane

    Fold in the left and right corners of the paper to create a point in the top center (as seen in the photo below). The pointed tip will become the nose of your origami paper airplane. The extra folds you made in the previous step will help to give the nose the additional weight it needs to make the paper airplane fly properly.

    simple paper airplane nose
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  4. Fold Your Paper Along the Middle Crease

    Fold your paper in half along the middle crease. Next, fold the right corner up as shown in the photo below. The corner should be about 1/2 inch from the edge of the paper.

    Then, unfold the paper, flip it over, and fold it from the other direction along the same crease.

    folding the middle crease of the paper airplane
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  5. Make Your Airplane's Tail

    Open your paper, and collapse the fold you made in the previous step. If you're having trouble getting the fold to collapse, go over the creases once more to make sure they're as sharp as possible. This creates the tail of your paper airplane.

    simple paper airplane tail
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  6. Make the Wings of Your Origami Paper Airplane

    Fold down the top layer of the paper to make the first wing of your paper airplane. At the nose, the wing should be slightly above the middle layer of the paper. At the back, it should be slightly above the bottom of the tail you made in the previous step.

    Repeat the process on the other side to make the second wing of your origami paper airplane.

    simple paper airplane wings
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders
  7. Fly Your Simple Paper Airplane

    Now it's time to test your paper airplane. Hold your plane at the widest part of the base, and gently send it flying. If you're having trouble getting your plane to fly, examine it carefully to make sure it is symmetrical. If one side is even slightly larger than the other, your plane won't fly straight.

    Don't worry if you need to make a few practice airplanes before finding a method that works for you. Paper airplanes, just like other forms of origami, take a bit of patience to learn how to make them.

    simple paper airplane
    The Spruce / Dana Hinders