Introduction: How to Make a Respectable Paper Airplane
This isntructable is designed to be a simple guide to folding a sturdy paper airplane. By following this guide, you will likely never again come in last in a paper airplane competition. Each step is explained with accompanying images. If you are in a hurry, you may be able to fold the airplane solely following the images alone. However, the accompanying paragraphs give more detail on helpful procedures that go along with each step.
One sheet of 8.5” x 11” printer paper
A flat surface such as a table (helpful but not required)
Step 1: Find a Piece of Paper
Find a clean unfolded and untorn piece of paper. The paper should be sturdy but light. Regular printer paper works great.
Step 2: Create a Center Crease
Match the paper edge to edge hotdog style as shown in the image below. Try to match the edges as closely as possible, and then crease the paper down the center. This should create a fold running down the center of the paper length wise. See the images above for further clarification.
Step 3: First Corner Fold
Open the paper in front of you on a flat surface as if reading a book. Now take the top right corner and fold it towards the center of the page, matching the inner edge along the center crease that was created in step 2. Then repeat the same fold but with the left corner. You should now have a sheet of paper with the top corners folded down to make a point at the top, as shown in the images above. The point should be centered width wise if step 2 was followed correctly.
Step 4: First Point Fold
Place the pointed paper on a flat surface with the fold tabs facing up away from the surface. Then fold the pointed end of the paper towards the flat edge of the paper and crease it along the bottom of the folded tabs from step 3. This step may be tricky, so use the images above for further clarification. After this step, the paper should look like a small rectangle with a triangle(the folded point) on top of it.
Step 5: Reverse Center Crease
Fold the paper in half again, similar as in step 2 making sure the edges line up as closely as possible. You should be folding against the crease that you made in step 2. Make sure to keep the folded point on the outside of your fold.
Step 6: Second Corner Fold
Open the fold that you just created in step 5 and place the paper on a flat surface with the folded point facing up from the flat surface and the tip of the point pointing towards yourself (the same position the paper was in after step 4, but now the crease in the center is opening towards the table). Now take the top right corner of the page and fold it down towards the center of the page with the inner edge along the center of the point similar to how you folded the corners in step 3. Then repeat the same fold with the top left corner. This step can also be tricky, so see the images above for clarification.
Step 7: Secure Corners
Lay the paper back on the flat surface. Take the point that is now hidden under the two folded corners from step 6, and fold it over the folded corners. This will require you to tare the folded corners slightly, that is expected. This will secure these folded corners when you fold the wings of the plane.
You should now have a symmetrical, triangular looking piece of paper with a rectangle running along the bottom.
Step 8: Final Center Crease
Fold the triangle along the center with the now secured folded corners from steps 6 & 7 remaining on the outside of the fold as shown below. You will use the same crease from step 5 for this fold. Make sure to match the edges of this fold carefully as done in previous steps. This will affect the overall symmetry of your plane’s wings.
Step 9: Wing Folds
Lay the folded paper on your flat surface again, this time with the longest edge facing towards you, and the rectangle on your left. Once the paper is in position, take the top right side of the triangle and fold it so that the top right edge is lined up with the bottom of the triangle. This will create one wing. Now flip the paper, and fold down the triangle edge the same way, to create the other wing.
Step 10: Open Wings
Open both wings at a 90-degree angle to the body and now you have a respectable paper airplane.