Introduction: Roll Your Own UFO

Picture of Roll Your Own UFO

You can buy one of these for several dollars, or make one for free.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

All you need is a piece of paper.

The best shape is a rectangle much longer than wide. I generally use the off-cut from a piece of A4 trimmed square for some other project.

Step 2: Fold ...

Picture of Fold ...

Fold the long edge over by about 1cm (two fifths of an inch) several times. The exact width you fold, and the exact number of times you fold depend on both personal preference and the exact size of the piece of paper you are using.

Step 3: ... and Roll

Picture of ... and Roll

Lay the paper on your workbench, folded side down, lay your hand on top, and drag the paper sharply over the edge of your bench.

This will impart a curl to the paper that will help you make the final shape.

Bring the two ends together, and slot them together. If you are right-handed, and holding the folded edge to the top, slot the end in your right hand inside the folds of the end in your left hand.

If you are left-handed, slot the end in your left hand ... oh, you get the idea. It's a lot easier to do than say.

Squeeze and curl the UFO to make as neat a cylinder as possible. You may sometimes need a small patch of stickytape to hold it together, but practice makes perfect.

Step 4: Throw!

Picture of Throw!
Hold your throwing hand in an open "C" shape, thumb towards you, as if you are holding an invisible pint glass.

Put the UFO in your open hand, folded edge upwards.

Move your hand to the region of your hip, and take up a stance like a gunfighter in an old black and white movie.

The UFO needs two things to fly; forward velocity and spin.

To provide the velocity: move your hand forwards sharply, in a roughly horizontal straight line.

To provide the spin: as you let go, lift your thumb first, then roll your hand away from your body, giving a final flick with the fingers as they lose contact with the paper.

Step 5: Variations on the Theme

Changing the proportions of the UFO can dramatically change the flight characteristics of the UFO.

A longer, narrower UFO will fly faster and straighter than a shorter, wider UFO, but the drifting flight of the short, wide UFO, which seems to move too slowly to stay in the air, is much more impressive.

The UFO is especially impressive if the launch is unseen. Make your UFO in secret, practice alone in your cubicle, and then shoot it across a crowded office from behind a door or filing cabinet.

Be competetive with your UFOs - lay an empty waste paper basket on its side as a target. Challenge colleagues to use fast narrow UFOs to knock slow wide ones out of the air.

Hide the evidence.

Most bosses aren't keen on finding evidence of their workers playing, so wear your unused UFOs around your wrist. When the boss asks what it is, tell him it's the latest thing in stationary; the wearable office. You could even make some notes on it, just to convince him.


argha halder (author)2013-07-11

i made one and worked great.i with some friends made a race with it that who can send it to the farthest place.awesome creation.

Kiteman (author)argha halder2013-07-11


somerockenguy (author)2008-08-17

My one beef with this is if you know what it is its not a UFO.

Kiteman (author)somerockenguy2008-08-18

And what would a real UFO look like... ?


somerockenguy (author)Kiteman2008-08-18

no one knows because there unidentified.

Kiteman (author)somerockenguy2008-08-18

Then how do you know this isn't one?

"UFO" is just the name - you didn't really think I had posted an ible about building a starship, did you?

somerockenguy (author)Kiteman2008-08-18

i know that im not that stupid. i know thats what it is called i use to make them all the time in school i just wanted to give you a hared time.

chriskarr (author)somerockenguy2008-11-28

Well, see what happens when you give people hared times? It comes back and bites you in the hared bottom. =)

ilpug (author)chriskarr2011-08-28

Yeah, it definitely looks like a shark to me.

Well i found a UFO because idk what it is so make this out a paper lol I saw this while waiting for an air show to start back up again idk what it was but definetly not a bird because it was flying backward.

That's a shark kite.

Kiteman (author)Kiteman2010-09-06

(I forgot the link)

ilpug (author)2011-08-28

I remember seeing a toy like this once that supposedly flew 300 feet. Apparently it was designed by NASA. these are good fun though.

JoshIsAwesome (author)2011-05-07

It worked!! :D Thats awesome!!

Kiteman (author)JoshIsAwesome2011-05-08

Thank you.

FrozenStar (author)2009-06-11

Pretty cool, my friend used to make these but he would never tell me how but now I know :D Thanks!

estonianmk (author)2008-06-08

i made one and wraped it with strong tape so it can take hard landings and so it won't fall apart in flight

estonianmk (author)2008-06-07

i can't seem to get it to spin.

Kiteman (author)estonianmk2008-06-08

Hold it at your hip, like a gun-slinger, palm towards your hip. (engage slow-motion) Move your hand forwards. Let go with your thumb first, then flick your fingertips upwards to add the spin. (end slow-motion) Otherwise, I've made these with kids who then throw them overhand, like an American football - try that.

Mattrox (author)2008-03-21

It looks cool and works very well

stuffman366 (author)2008-03-02

add a wavy traling edge and it performance skyrockets

Kiteman (author)stuffman3662008-03-02


Considers revising for 'plane contest

comodore (author)2008-02-04

Great project! Well done!!! Simple but effective.

salviano (author)2008-02-04

Great !!!

cipshadow (author)2008-02-02

thanx kiteman u are great! ;)

cipshadow (author)2008-02-02

Its great , very very interesting and very easy to make!!! U can make another things like that coz i am interesed.

Kiteman (author)cipshadow2008-02-02

If you want to see my other projects (many as simple as this), then click here.

If you want to see other projects for paper planes, then use the search box (top right of the screen).

kontrastas (author)2007-12-26

Fantastic, great performance and so easy to make.

cstrike pwner (author)2007-10-16

is this a bad copy of a X-Zylo?

Kiteman (author)cstrike pwner2007-10-17

No, it's a cheap version of the paper aeroplane that the X-Zylo was based on.

cstrike pwner (author)Kiteman2007-10-20

X-Zylo is a flying gyroscope this but works ok

snipeyouout (author)2007-08-17

pretty cool i found the best way to throw it is to do a hook punch kind of throw

andy60 (author)2007-07-26

bravo! i love it i gave you a pluse! thanks ; )

taka21 (author)2007-07-04

wow this is awesome easy to make and easy to get materials i would give you pluses but i cant cause when i click on either the plus or the favorite button it takes 1 katrillion hours joke but i takes long

AT (author)2007-06-29

I love this design. We use to make these back in Jr. High in the 70's. In our social studies class, we made this as an assembly line to show how that was more efficient than the same number of people making the whole thing by them selves.

atwoodx (author)2007-06-27

such a simple design can have this special

Chris Bilton (author)2007-06-25

Nice piece of office play stuff. Love the excuse to the boss, the wearable office, that opens up a whole load of new ideas. Bracelets and necklaces made of paper clips, hats from faxes, CD ties, the list is endless. I will be the best dressed ex-employee of the month!

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-06-23

.also you can get these for free when you buy Poweraid. The little logo thing comes off and can do the same thing! Also you can 'Pop' them! :-)

twisted (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-06-24

wait... what? please expand....

!Andrew_Modder! (author)twisted2007-06-24

Ok when you buy a regular sized poweraid my friends and i found out you can take the logo off "take it off by the glue in back, then press it back together" that forms basicly the same thing as a UFO, which also you can put on one hand then QUICKLY clap down to 'Pop' it! :-D . I dont really know how to explain it better.

twisted (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-06-24

ahhh hte lable. lol. i understand now. thanks! i though you ment the bottle itself! lol(I was not really thinking)

TheCheese9921 (author)2007-06-23

sweet, we made these in school but we folded the paper diagonally, then to throw them you held the part with no tail. I think I'll post it.

Kiteman (author)TheCheese99212007-06-23

They're called Flying Mitres, because they look like a bishop's hat.

TheCheese9921 (author)Kiteman2007-06-23

cool I never new that

Kiteman (author)TheCheese99212007-06-24

Live and learn - you can include that in your Instructable, no need to credit me.

ll.13 (author)2007-06-23

I read this in a book but it was called a flying circle. suprising how well they fly being so simple.

About This Instructable




Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
More by Kiteman:Fallen Astronaut 2Custom laser cut metal business cardsDashboard Phone Stand
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