How To Make The Best Origami Plane

Cartoon origami plane, with a heart drawn on one flap, flying through the sky.
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Image © Victoria Borodinova under a creative commons license.

With a nickname like Paper Airplane Guy, John Collins doesn't just know how to make paper airplanes, he knows how to fly them too.

In 2012 John broke the world record and sent his best paper airplane design a massive 69.14 metres. That's quite an achievement, but let's see what your paper planes can do.

Folding origami paper planes is a safe and easy to follow activity that all the family will enjoy, there may be some healthy competition when you start to fly them though. Origami is great for kids because it needs very few materials, and once you master the neat folds you can try different paper plane designs and see which one will fly the furthest distance. Before your kids start making a plane, why not have them give it a name and decorate the paper so that their origami masterpiece will stand out in the air.

Materials Needed To Make A Paper Airplane

Paper: The main ingredient, and there are no hard and fast rules here, so why not try a few options to see what flies best. Inkjet or kids craft paper are both good options, or you could use proper origami paper.

Most paper airplanes start life as a rectangle, using paper that's easy to fold, and not too light or heavy, as it needs the airflow through it to push it forward. The tutorials in this piece use paper measuring roughly 22x17cm.

A Ruler, Lolly Stick Or Bone Folder: It is a bonus if you have these as they will help you fold your planes, especially the more difficult designs, accurately.

Paint Or Coloured Pencils: Every plane needs some decoration, so let loose your creativity before you get folding!

How To Make A Paper Airplane: Dart Design

Visual step by step guide to making a dart paper airplane.
Image © Lauren John

Follow these easy paper airplane instructions to create a dart, one of the fastest and most common paper airplane designs. An easy four step method is repeated on both sides.  

Step 1: Take your paper rectangle and fold it in half.

Step 2: On the top sheet, fold the top right corner, down to the left edge.

Step 3: Fold this flap over again.

Step 4: Fold over one last time.

Turn your plane over, and repeat steps two to four to complete.

How To Fold A Paper Airplane: Bug Design

Visual step by step guide to making a bug paper airplane.
Image © Lauren John

All the best things come in small packages when it comes to making a paper airplane, so why not see how the more compact 'bug' design flies?

Step 1: Fold your paper in half, then fold the top right and left corners into the centre to create a triangle shape at the top.

Step 2: Next, fold the plane in half, so the triangle tip touches the bottom centre of the page.

Step 3: Fold the top right and left corners into the centre about 5.5cm down.

Step 4: Fold the triangle sitting just below the previous folds up towards the middle of the plane.

Step 5: Next, fold the plane in half right to left side.

Step 6: Finally fold each side down to form the wings, and your completed airplanes are ready to fly.

Design 3: A Jet Origami Plane

Visual step by step guide to making a jet paper airplane.
Image © Lauren John

Similar to a dart plane, but with different wings, this one looks a bit like a rocket or Concorde.

Step 1: Fold the paper in half, then open out again.

Step 2: Fold the right corner into the middle, then fold over again.

Step 3: Repeat the same steps on the left hand side, then fold the plane in half (right to left).

Step 4: Fold both sides down (as shown) to make a wing.

Step 5: Make two wing tips, by folding up the ends of the wings.

Top Tip: To give your origami plane the best chance of flying, and flying a good distance, make sure both sides are symmetrical, the wings point in a Y shape and that you follow through when you let go, like a javelin thrower.

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