Paper Stomp Jets




About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

These are paper jets that fly off of a launcher.

Step 1: The Launcher

The launcher is made from 1/2" PVC. You will need the following fittings, along with some used 2-liter bottles:
  • One 1/2" four-way fitting (all fittings are of the slip variety)
  • Two 1/2" end caps
  • One 1" coupling
  • One 1" by 1/2" bushing
  • One 1/2" 45-degree elbow
The assembly is exactly the same as what I have posted for the stomp rockets, except for the change to the 45-degree elbow. Please see that instructable for additional details on building a launcher.

Step 2: Jet Tube PVC Form

In order to make the jet tubes, you will need a blank form. This form will allow you you make jet tubes that will slip nicely over the launch tube, and will also help when finishing the nose section of the plane, as you will see in step 4.

To make a jet form, cut a piece of 1/2" PVC exactly 11 inches. Take a regular sheet of 8.5" by 11" paper and roll it onto the tube, using white glue to glue it tightly in place, flush with the PVC on either end.

Take a 3-inch piece of electrical tape and wrap it neatly around one end of the tube, flush with the end. That's it.

You might want to make a few of these if you plan on having more than one person making jets at a time.

Step 3: Roll Jet Tube

Begin making a paper jet plane by rolling an 8.5" by 11" sheet of paper tightly around the form made in the last step. Roll the paper so it is butted up against the tape, but not covering it. The paper roll should extend beyond the end of the PVC form that does not have the tape on it, leaving a small open space inside.

Smear a thin bead of white glue along the edge of the roll, and glue the paper down. Quickly roll the tube back and forth on the table to roll out any air bubbles. The tube should be able to slide on and off of the form freely, and not be glued to the form. Leave it in place on the PVC form for the remainder of the steps.

Step 4: Jet Tube Nose

For this step you will need two cotton balls and a penny.

The cotton balls block the end of the jet tube so air can't escape when you launch your jets. The penny adds a little bit of needed weight to the nose so the jets fly better.

Insert the two cotton balls into the open space in your paper tube, just above where the PVC form ends. Don't insert them into the PVC. Place the penny on top of the cotton balls, and tape down the paper over the cotton balls and penny with masking tape as shown in photos 2 and 3.

Step 5: Wings and Tail Pieces

For the wings and tail section, you will need to print out the attached stomp jet template.

I found that the cardboard from an old cereal box was perfect for making the wings and tail section of these jet planes. It's lightweight but still stiff enough to be able to bend and keep it's shape for adjusting the control surfaces of the planes (ailerons, elevator, rudder).

Cut out the pattern pieces and trace them onto cardboard. Transfer the various marks on the patterns to your cardboard pieces, and cut them out. The solid lines are where you cut, and the dotted lines are where you fold.

Don't worry about folding the control surfaces now. You can do this when the plane is completed, and even then they only need to be adjusted a tiny bit to really effect the movement of the planes.

Step 6: Assemble Wings

Use masking tape to attach the two wing halves. If you bend them up just a bit at the taped joint, this will create a small amount of dihedral, or upward angle of the wings. This helps stabilize the planes, keeping them belly-down in flight.

Step 7: Attach Wings and Tail Section

Use a single bead of hot glue to attach the horizontal stabilizer to the plane, flush with the back of the jet tube, just in front of the tape on the form.

Use a single bead of hot glue to attach the wings to the jet tube 1 3/4" in front of the horizontal stabilizer.

Use the line where the paper roll ends to help you line up the stabilizer and wings as you glue them on. (In the photos, I traced this line with a pen to help it show up better.)

The vertical stabilizer is glued in place, also with just a single bead of hot glue.

Alright, that's it!

The last step is just a few words on how to fly these babies.

Step 8: Final Thoughts

Here's the basics of control surfaces, just so you know. (Pardon me if I don't state any of this completely correctly, but you'll get the idea well enough to know how to manipulate your little jet plane.)

The ailerons generally move in opposite directions, one up, the other down, which turns the plane left or right. The elevators always move together, up or down, to make the plane go up or down. The rudder swings the tail of the plane left or right. I wouldn't mess with the rudder on this, because it really doesn't do much to these as far as I can tell.

To begin, try to get your plane to do a straight, level glide when launched by hand. To do this, I suggest keeping the ailerons in the neutral position and the elevator tabs bent up equally about 1/8".

Once you have a decent glide, experiment with your plane to see what you can get it to do. Wild loops and barrel rolls are easy to make happen, but slow sweeping rolls turns and steady glides are much more tricky! We found that throwing the planes was almost as much fun as launching them.

This was a fun little project, and I suspect my kids and I will be building and flying these for a while.

Thanks for looking at this. Let me know what you think!

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    18 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 6

    Is there a reason you didn't make the wings one piece?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This would work well with Make's Compressed Air Rocket Launcher:

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes it would. I did compressed air rockets in scouts as a kid, and this project was partly inspired by those.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    this is really cool! I love that video. I am sure you were the hero on the block that day! Nice work.



    7 years ago on Step 8

    As, in your own words, the rudder doesn't do much, you could simply make the rear wing slightly larger and put about a 30 degree bend in it. This would still give you a certain amount of directional stability and keep you from stressing about trying to tweak the rudder about.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 8

    Definitely, a v-tail would simplify the build even more. Good tip!


    7 years ago on Step 8

    This is a GREAT idea! I don't think I'll build the base, because that would be expensive, but the jet/glider is REALLY good, and I'll be probably make some of them out of cereal boxes and wood sticks using your template, and launch them by hand.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 8

    The parts for the launcher should cost less than $10 at Home Depot.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm stopping at the hardware store for some PVC pipe on the way home today!

    Great idea and nicely prepared Instructable.



    7 years ago on Introduction

    At the risk of complicating and adding expense to a brilliantly simple, cheap project, there are some surprisingly small and cheap "spy cameras" around which might make a great addition to these planes.

    With or without, though, they look like great fun and I wish I'd had something like this around when I was little!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Pretty cool! We're gonna have lots of fun this summer :)