Card Board Gliders

Introduction: Card Board Gliders

Gliders are fun, small planes, that you are usually made out of thin styrofoam or wood. Card Board Gliders on the other hand are a bit more strong than styrofoam, but heavier. Using regular old shoe boxes, waffle boxes, and other card board boxes that you might just throw away. They're a great way to recycle and have fun at the same time, great as a project for all ages. Video on step 8.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Card Board Gliders are made of different common house hold materials


-Card Board (corrugated and flat)
-Regular White Glue
-Cork or any other front weight on the tip of the plane
-Pins, used to keep the cork in place (Optional, but helps alot)
-Duct Tape


-X- Acto Knife, or razor blade (optional. but can help)
-Sand paper (optional, but helps smooth out cardboad for better flying)

Step 2: Find Boxes

To make the plane you at least need a box. You can find boxes made of card board everywhere. There are two types of card board you'll want to look for, corrugated and flat. You can use shoe boxes, waffle boxes, and shipping boxes. If you cant find enough, then look in another person's recycling bin for some. When in doubt go to Cosco, they always have a huge supply of boxes that people can take to help them carrry their groceries.

Step 3: Refine the Shape of the Boxes

Once you get the boxes you'll want to cut off all the sides, that way you have only rectangles and squares to work with. You dont have to do this step but it really helps when making the parts for the glider.

Step 4: Body of the Glider

The body of the glider is of your choosing, you can make it big or small, but what every size you make it make sure the length of the plane and how tall it is are of strong enough to support the wings. You'll want to make the body out of corrugated cardboard the kind of card board found in shoe boxes that has the small waves in the middle of it that can be flattened. But when making any parts with corrugated do not flatten the insides of the plane. That means that making a short length and big height plane, would not work well. If you make a long length, and small height plane, it wont work well or be very aerodynamic. The best design I've had so far for my heights is to make the plane body, 14 cm in length, and then a semi circle on the end for the nose of the plane, then making it go another 14 cm back then connecting the two parallel lines. The height of the plane should be around 1.5 to 2 cm. So the design should look like a long rectangle with one curved end. After you have drawn the body with a sharpie or marker, cut on the outisde of the black lines, with that done all you need to do now is attach the other parts of the plane.

Step 5: Create and Mount Tail Fins

Now is to create the tail fins on the plane. the way I made my tail fins, was to take flattened card board found in popsicle boxes, and some waffle boxes, and create two equal sized triangles. First take the refined flat card board, and create a square out of it (this may require measuring. Then put a dot on where on the top center of the square and cut a straight line to it from the bottom corners of the square. Then when you have the one triangle done, cut a line straight up the middle towards the center dot. There are different sizes that you make for the tail wings, you can experiment with this to see how it affects flight, but I used a 2 similiar triangles, with the 2 identical sides being 9 cm and the other side being 12 cm, I then cut the triangle in half the create my tail wings. After that i placed the two triangles on top of each other, then bend them one direction from the bottom about a 1/3rd of the way up. That way now you can add glue on the sides and mount it. To mount the tail fins, one fin will be white side up and the other white side down, unless both sides are white, see picture for clearer depiction. After applying a small coating of glue let the tail fins dry for at least 5 minutes, before continuing the plane.

Step 6: Creating and Mounting the Wing

Now one of the last steps is to add the wing to the plane, for the wing you will need flattened card board. The size of your wing span depends on how long your plane body is. I made my wing about 16 cm being 2 cm longer than my plane body that is 14 cm. And the height was about 3.5 cm high. Once you get your flat card board draw your design, you may want to use a straight edge so that you have straight lines to cut along. After you have that done, you will now want to cut the lines with scissors or an x acto knife, but scissors are probably the best choice for this type of card board, when cutting . There is two ways to mount the wings you can use option A, take glue. and rub it on the place where you want to place the wing, then you just let it dry like that so its slightly balanced, or you can take option B. Option B is when you take an x acto knife and you carefully cut a half centimeter down into the place where you are mounting the wings, then it would help if you rubbed down the space that way the wing will stay in place better. Now apply the glue on where the wing is going to be, and place the center of the wing on the spot and let it dry there for at least 10 to 15 minutes, before continuing the plane.

Step 7: Adding the Front Weight

When I first made this plane, I tried to find out why it didn't fly very far, when the plane was thrown the first 3 feet it flew well, but the front of the plane flipped backwards. Thats when I realized, I needed to add front weight so it flew straight. First I took a cork, and cut 2/rd's of it off, and I used 1/3rd of the cork on the front weight. To add weight on, you'll need an object you can poke a pin through. I used a cork being the most convenient object I had, so take the pin and push it through the weight, then push it through the front of the plane. To secure the weight, take duct tape or regular tape and tape it on. DIfferent amounts of weight make big differences, my first plane I used a 1/3rd of a cork, which led me to naming the plane the Dart. My second plane I used a 1/6th of a cork, that yielded the best results, it allowed it to have good air time, but I still needed less weight. I then cut the cork on the plane so instead it had only about 1/8th of a cork. This gave me the best result in which it was able to do 2 cork screws, and land softly on the ground most of the time.

Step 8: Flying the Glider

The most fun part of the process, being able to fly your craft. Before you do that how ever you will want to wait at least 30 minutes for the entire plane to dry. After that is done you can begin flying, the best way i see to fly it is to throw the plane over your shoulder upwards. The best results i've had from a single flight was it stayed in air for about 5 seconds, and was able to do a loop. The video is of I flying the planes I made, and some of the planes i let my friends make.

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    12 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    did you USD skewer for the chassis ?

    By the way i think you Should make a template!

    So the plane Will be easier to make


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Trying to remember something similar I made as a kid to tell my little one ;
    Basically used a diamond shaped bit of cardboard, put a plasticene weight on the nose, attached some string ; but the cool part [ which I forget :) ] was something you did so when you twirled it around in a circle above you head it made a noise !

    This was a very basic toy/design for 7,8 yr olds - anyone got any ideas what Im talking about ?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i stole your idea (just joking ) but try mine


    8 years ago on Step 8

    Great, great! I like it! I see You recorded with one hand while throwing with other... hm!... I did this too, but the best is to find someone to do the video. Especially it is good to throw towards the camera - very exciting. And they look beautiful. Bravo!


    10 years ago on Step 2

    Or Sam's in other parts of the US


    10 years ago on Introduction

    what is that knex thing in the background? nice instructable by the way you should have gotten featured


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Its a k'nex crossbow i built from this website, thanks for the comment.