Introduction: The Smallest Paper Aeroplane on Instructables

Picture of The Smallest Paper Aeroplane on Instructables

OK, I had to give in and make a paper plane ible eventually.

But it had to be special...

Step 1: The Paper.

Picture of The Paper.

The secret to a tiny 'plane is thin, light paper.

The thinnest, lightest paper I know is cigarette paper.

You need one paper for one aeroplane.

Disclaimer: I do not smoke. I do not recommend you smoke. Really. It's bad. And expensive.

However, for only 23p (about half a dollar) you can buy a packet of fifty cigarette papers - that's a lot of 'planes.

Step 2: The First Fold.

Picture of The First Fold.

With the glued edge closest to you, fold the top-right corner over to meet the bottom-left corner.

Crease sharply.

You can slightly dampen the glue to hold the paper in place. Not too damp, or it goes wrinkly and sticks to your lip. That's not pleasant.

Step 3: Down the Middle

Picture of Down the Middle

Turn the paper round so that the creased edge is nearest to you.

This edge will become the front of the 'plane.

Sharply crease the 'plane down the centre and then open it up again.

Step 4: Shaping the Front.

Picture of Shaping the Front.

Look at the cigarette paper.

You should see a crease that was already in the paper when you got it. It forms a V, with the point at the front of the plane.

Fold the two front corners up to meet the pre-existing crease. The crease that was at the front edge should line up along the crease that makes the V.

You now have a point at the front of the 'plane.

Fold this point up to approximately the centre of the 'plane.

Step 5: The Body and Wings.

Picture of The Body and Wings.

Fold the 'plane in half along the centre crease, with all the previous folds on the outside (this locks the last fold of the previous step in place).

About 3mm from the centre crease, fold both sides down to make the wings.

The 'plane should start to look just like a 'plane now.

Fold the tips of the wings upwards for stability.

The larger the wing-tips you fold up, the straighter the plane will fly, but the smaller they are the longer it stays in the air. It's up to you.

Step 6: Flight.

Picture of Flight.

There is one thing you never do with this plane, and that's throw it.

You gently launch it, or even just drop it, but you never throw it. It simply won't work.

The best way to fly the 'plane is to hold it by the very back of the body, 'twixt finger-tip and thumb-tip, hold it as high as you can, and drop it with a gentle push forwards.

The plane will then drift earthwards, sometimes in a gentle spiral.

Because of the small size, tiny differences in creasing have quite dramatic effects, so every one of these i have made has flown differently at first.

To alter the flight, gently adjust one or both of the wing-tips - either lay it out flatter, stand it up straighter, or give it a slight twist.

When you're happy, take it somewhere high to fly it - from the balcony of a theatre, from the choir stalls of a church, or from the upper levels of a mall. Or take it to a castle and see if you can fly it down a spiral stair-case.

I did try and video mine in flight, but failed miserably - they're just too small to catch with my camera.

I ought to add that this is not mine design, but came from a ragged old book I got second hand, called Paper Airplanes.


Edit, 2015: It turns out that the book is still available, and was written by a fellow Brit called Nick Robonson! Have a look at the author's site here: LINK.


nrobinson (author)2015-08-20

Please note that this design was created by myself, published in a book in the 90s - it would be good to see some credit given for these designs ;(

Nick Robinson

Kiteman (author)nrobinson2015-08-20

Sorry, dude - I did give the title, but the author's name was illegible when I got it, and I couldn't find it online in 2008.

I've added a link to your site now.

nrobinson (author)Kiteman2015-08-20

thanks for that. I'm happy for my work to be shared, providing credit is given. It's a tricky area, paper planes, since few are associated with a creator like "Kawasaki's Rose".

Eric_16 (author)2013-04-17

This is not the smallest Paper Airplane on Instructables.. Sorry to tell you :D

Kiteman (author)Eric_162013-04-17

Find a smaller one that flies!

crayzclown1 (author)2010-05-31

 Is there an age to buy Rolling papers in the US? I'm 15 and don't want any funny looks.

TheGeek1984 (author)crayzclown12011-01-06

Generally it's smoking age. I live here too, and I've only ever seen rolling papers in smoke shops...which you have to be 18 to enter.

Whoops... here you go!

Cool - why not post an Instructable?

Thanks. OrigamiAirEnforcer has made a nice instructable for the Spirit paper airplane.

I bet rolling paper could make extra teeny tiny versions.

In any case, check out OAE's stuff and the Spirit...

Interesting, I'll give rolling papers a try sometime. I like using post it notes. Cheap and no dirty looks.

In any case, check out my post-it note Spirit paper airplane.

Take care,

noahlankford (author)2010-01-13

how big does the paper need to be when you start

Kiteman (author)noahlankford2010-01-14

Cigarette papers come in fairly standard sizes.

christian yeatts (author)2009-03-13

Dang! that flies!?

Kiteman (author)christian yeatts2009-03-14

Yep! It is very sensitive to tiny changes, but with a lttile care you can hold it high, let go and watch it glide the length of a room.

killerjackalope (author)2008-09-03

I suppose so, you may find yourself slowly consuming a room in the house and becoming an unstoppable mess tyrant...

Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-09-03

Unfortunately true, but I was really thinking about sawdust, paint, glue...

killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-09-03

Indeed you were...

conspiratorial whispers

At the moment the carpets very glittery because I am filing metal for a project, it's a nuisance but it's kind of interesting...

Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-09-03

...especially when somebody pads past in bare feet...

jayro707 (author)Kiteman2009-02-08

ahhhh this is like the 45 time today,lol

Kryptonite (author)Kiteman2009-02-04


Epeoples (author)2008-12-25

I made an even smaller one. I'll measure it in '09 (It's at a friend's house).

orangesrhyme (author)2008-12-21

Oh my gosh! I love that book! The JS dart is the best-looking one, though.

globe (author)2008-12-11

not the smallest

killerjackalope (author)2008-08-05

One last thing though, the fact that even your planes have been relegated to the shed sounds bad...

Since my design can actually gain height from heat updrafts I'd assume yours could fly contentedly around the right places...

Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-09-03

The plane isn't relegated to the shed, photography is. Kitewife doesn't want our house plastered all over the net. Plus, if I'd made it in the house, the boys would have pinched it before I could focus the camera...

bowmaster (author)Kiteman2008-10-18

KiteKids Kan be Kool like that sometimes.

killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-09-03

See I'm fairly careful about it on the likes of 'ibles, not to give all away, thankfully I have a white desk and wall beside it. One option maybe be to use a short depth of field or just white out backgrounds in photoshop/gimp/ maybe even just put a blur in the background which puts the attention on the subject...

Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-09-03

Ach, it's easier to stick to the shed, plus, most of the mess stays where it belongs as well.

Kiteman (author)2008-08-05

Finally, something useful comes from being a smoker!

killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-08-05

Actually many of my little inventions mightn't have come about had I not been, also cigarettes happen to be made up of some useful materials, the filter is a great flashback arrestor, the tobacco part make an excellent slow burn fuse with a consistent time delay pack to pack, the paper makes good planes...

Don't worry not justifying behaviour, just giving uses for things, that and though smoke is not everyone's favourite smell it has a few helpful uses... Febreeze isn't effective on organic odours but the particles of smoke seem to be, then you febreeze them...

Ps: don't go on holiday before finishing the bread.

Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-08-05


killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-08-05

Reason behind the organic odour, first the bag was rolled up so it kind of fermented then eventually made its way out of the bag and stank up the kitchen as well as moulding around the place until it ran out of bread...

Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-08-05


killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-08-05

Well here it is I had no reciepts so I just used a rolling paper to keep in lines with the arms race we may have started...

I know...

killerjackalope (author)2008-08-05

I have a slightly smaller one but flight is not particularly predictable, goes anywhere from one foot to fifteen feet on a throw. I make these at work along with till catapults... For the square edge papers buy the red packets of Rizla, not the green ones...

Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-08-05

Is that a glider or a dart?

(Thanks for the Rizla info.)

killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-08-05

In between design, it's kind of complicated to fold, it leans towards dart design but has a seesaw of lift and speed that can make it fly quite far when it's released perfectly, it with go up and down before running out of energy...

Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-08-05

Well post it, dear boy, post it!

killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-08-05

Shall do, by the way, for an even thinner paper use the big silver rizla's, they're about half the weight of the other ones and translucent which makes the plane look cool...

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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
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