Introduction: Maple Seed Mini Glider

I live in a house that has a yard with two big maples. Last fall, I collected some seeds to study and for experiments.

When I saw "Make It Fly Speed Challenge!" I asked myself "What I could make?" then I remembered the maple seeds, and I got an idea to make a simple glider.

I know, I know, maple seeds already can fly, but gliders fly differently...

Step 1: Supplies


  • maple seeds
  • small thin sticks


  • scissors
  • cyanoacrylate glue
  • white glue (I used Ceys)
  • third hand (optional)

Step 2: Intermezzo: Admire Magic of Maple Seeds

Watching flying maple seeds is kind of magical experience. Stop yourself near a maple next fall...

Step 3: Glider Balance

I'm sure there is a big theory basis about gliders, but unfortunately, I don't know very much. (If you are interested and you have some spare time, you can do research.)

However, to make a toy glider able to fly, there is one simple rule: Make the center of gravity about under front wings, slightly in front of the anticipated center of lift. See the sketch above.

(When I made my first glider I balanced the glider on my finger. When the center of gravity was behind the anticipated center of lift, I glued some weight to the glider's nose.)

Step 4: Glider!

Take a thin stick with a length about equal to two wings of a maple seed. Cut off wings of two similar seeds and glue these wings to the stick on position about 1/4 of the length of the stick. You can use a small droplet of cyanoacrylate glue, and then you can secure both wings with white glue. White glue has the advantage of flexibility. (I used only the cyanoacrylate glue originally, but the glider seemed to be more fragile.) Analogically glue two small rear wings. See the pictures above.

To balance the glider, glue one seed without a wing to about the place where should be the center of gravity. As an effect, this glider still should be able to spread maple :-) (Do not overuse the glue... :-)

Step 5: Test Flight and Adjustments

When you finish your glider, it will probably fly, but it will probably not fly straight. (At least my gliders tended to fly to the left spiral at first. I think it could indicate that all maple seeds are adapted to spin in the same direction... But I still didn't do any experiments about that.)

To achieve a more straight flight, you can gently adjust wings using your fingers. Especially the position/angles of rear wings are important.

Make It Fly Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Fly Speed Challenge