How to Make a Helicopter (for Kids) Out of a Coffee Cup

Introduction: How to Make a Helicopter (for Kids) Out of a Coffee Cup

 This was an idea that came to me when I had a box cutter in one hand, and a coffee cup on the other, and I literally made it in 2 minutes. It's a quick and easy way that is good for entertaining kids (and adults too, sometimes)

Of course, it wasn't very symmetrical, and it didn't fly in a steady way, so I made another (this took about 10 minutes total, if you exclude the time I took to take the photos), and I took videos of it.

Step 1: Marking the Circle

First I made the outline (of the top of the cup) on a piece of paper, and then I folded the paper in half, and then folded in half again to make into a quarter.

I then divided the quarter circle approximately into thirds. This I then used to make 12 markings on the cup.

The same was repeated for the bottom of the cup. (Pictures not included)

Step 2: Drawing the Lines

This one is fairly self explanatory. I used a felt pen to mark straight lines from the top  to the bottom of the cup

Step 3: Cutting Along the Lines

I used a utility knife. The blades, being thin, do not distort the card too much while it is being cut.

After cutting along all 12 lines, I alternately cut along the top of the card to make the 'blades'

Step 4: Folding Back

After making the alternating cuts at the wider end of the cup, fold back the 'blades' at the base of the cup until it's level with the base.

Step 5: Launching It

My first attempts at launching. They weren't upto par, as I discovered a few days after I took the video, since I found I could make it move about 10 feet forward by giving it a forward push.

A sharp twist of the wrist, while throwing it upwards is usually enough.  Feel free to try other methods.

To see if it could be launched bottom up, I found that it worked quite well.

And of course, the control.

To prove that this design actually converts a coffee cup into a flying object, I tried using the same hand motion on an uncut coffee cup

Step 6: Possible Modifications

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    5 years ago

    Seens hard to make


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Have you tried giving the leading edge of each wing a slight upwards twist?


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

     I have just tried, but it causes the helicopter to move backwards (video to be uploaded by the morning). A friend of mine suggested making the blades slightly tapered, and I shall upload that soon.

    Thanks for the suggestion, though, it gave me something to try out.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    no, but I have been trying different cuts and bending the wings to see how it affects its movement. Are we allowed to edit the instructable while it is in the voting phase?