Picture of How To Make An Airplane Ornament Using A Cigar Tube
I started a tradition when Thing One was born - every year I make an ornament for Thing One (and subsequently for Thing Two when he burst onto the scene). I try to make something novel and fun, inspired by things lying around in the house. I want something basic, that will last for years if cared for properly, and that will grow in sentimental value.

This is a re-creation of the airplanes I made a few years ago - I needed to take photos of the process so decided to make another one.


A cigar tube
Some sheet Aluminum
Fast setting epoxy
Primer and paint

Tools: Sheet metal cutters, toothpick/small skewer, modeling clay, sharpie pen, cardboard for wing templates

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Step 1: Design The Silhouette

Picture of Design The Silhouette
Locate a cigar tube of your choosing. Cut out cardboard (I used soda-can carton) templates of the wings and tail sections. I sketched a few profiles until I got one I liked that looked about right. Lay them out next to the tube to see if you like the silhouette before going on to cut the metal.

Step 2: Cut out the Wings and Tail

Picture of Cut out the Wings and Tail
Find some scrap metal to use for the wings. I wanted to use aluminum to match the cigar tube...it's a minor issue but if you use a different metal for the wings you risk corrosion at the joints ( called galvanic corrosion, and is caused when two metals of differing electrode potential are in contact in the presence of an electrolyte), and I want my ornament to last without corroding.

You can also buy sheet aluminum in small sizes at Lowes/Home Depot etc.

Cut out the wings using a pair of tin-snips/metal shears. Smooth out the edges on a piece of emery cloth/sandpaper. At this point I went ahead and sanded the tube as well - just to rough it up so the paint would adhere well. You could sand off all the paint to bare metal and go for the retro jet travel shiny aluminum look. I did that on the originals and love the look...but wanted to try painting it this time around.

lemonie5 years ago
That's a nice looking model.
I find with these two part expoxys that if you wait until they're just set, you can trim easily with a sharp knife - it saves a lot of sanding.

craftycounterpart (author)  lemonie5 years ago
Thanks - I forgot to mention that you can 'tool' the epoxy as it hardens. I also found that working quickly with the just-mixed epoxy lets it 'flow' into the joint and smoothe itself out before it hardens. The later joints I didn't have to sand at all because I was getting so good at working the epoxy.
Yes, but you have to get it right, start fiddling and you can end-up with "I should have left that alone..." (I know)