The Smallest Paper Aeroplane on Instructables




About: Find me on Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter as @KitemanX. Buy my projects at

OK, I had to give in and make a paper plane ible eventually.

But it had to be special...

Step 1: The Paper.

The secret to a tiny 'plane is thin, light paper.

The thinnest, lightest paper I know is cigarette paper.

You need one paper for one aeroplane.

Disclaimer: I do not smoke. I do not recommend you smoke. Really. It's bad. And expensive.

However, for only 23p (about half a dollar) you can buy a packet of fifty cigarette papers - that's a lot of 'planes.

Step 2: The First Fold.

With the glued edge closest to you, fold the top-right corner over to meet the bottom-left corner.

Crease sharply.

You can slightly dampen the glue to hold the paper in place. Not too damp, or it goes wrinkly and sticks to your lip. That's not pleasant.

Step 3: Down the Middle

Turn the paper round so that the creased edge is nearest to you.

This edge will become the front of the 'plane.

Sharply crease the 'plane down the centre and then open it up again.

Step 4: Shaping the Front.

Look at the cigarette paper.

You should see a crease that was already in the paper when you got it. It forms a V, with the point at the front of the plane.

Fold the two front corners up to meet the pre-existing crease. The crease that was at the front edge should line up along the crease that makes the V.

You now have a point at the front of the 'plane.

Fold this point up to approximately the centre of the 'plane.

Step 5: The Body and Wings.

Fold the 'plane in half along the centre crease, with all the previous folds on the outside (this locks the last fold of the previous step in place).

About 3mm from the centre crease, fold both sides down to make the wings.

The 'plane should start to look just like a 'plane now.

Fold the tips of the wings upwards for stability.

The larger the wing-tips you fold up, the straighter the plane will fly, but the smaller they are the longer it stays in the air. It's up to you.

Step 6: Flight.

There is one thing you never do with this plane, and that's throw it.

You gently launch it, or even just drop it, but you never throw it. It simply won't work.

The best way to fly the 'plane is to hold it by the very back of the body, 'twixt finger-tip and thumb-tip, hold it as high as you can, and drop it with a gentle push forwards.

The plane will then drift earthwards, sometimes in a gentle spiral.

Because of the small size, tiny differences in creasing have quite dramatic effects, so every one of these i have made has flown differently at first.

To alter the flight, gently adjust one or both of the wing-tips - either lay it out flatter, stand it up straighter, or give it a slight twist.

When you're happy, take it somewhere high to fly it - from the balcony of a theatre, from the choir stalls of a church, or from the upper levels of a mall. Or take it to a castle and see if you can fly it down a spiral stair-case.

I did try and video mine in flight, but failed miserably - they're just too small to catch with my camera.

I ought to add that this is not mine design, but came from a ragged old book I got second hand, called Paper Airplanes.


Edit, 2015: It turns out that the book is still available, and was written by a fellow Brit called Nick Robonson! Have a look at the author's site here: LINK.

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    37 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Please note that this design was created by myself, published in a book in the 90s - it would be good to see some credit given for these designs ;(

    Nick Robinson

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry, dude - I did give the title, but the author's name was illegible when I got it, and I couldn't find it online in 2008.

    I've added a link to your site now.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    thanks for that. I'm happy for my work to be shared, providing credit is given. It's a tricky area, paper planes, since few are associated with a creator like "Kawasaki's Rose".


    Generally it's smoking age. I live here too, and I've only ever seen rolling papers in smoke shops...which you have to be 18 to enter.

    Kitemanchristian yeatts

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 6

    Yep! It is very sensitive to tiny changes, but with a lttile care you can hold it high, let go and watch it glide the length of a room.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I suppose so, you may find yourself slowly consuming a room in the house and becoming an unstoppable mess tyrant...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Indeed you were...

    conspiratorial whispers

    At the moment the carpets very glittery because I am filing metal for a project, it's a nuisance but it's kind of interesting...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I made an even smaller one. I'll measure it in '09 (It's at a friend's house).


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Oh my gosh! I love that book! The JS dart is the best-looking one, though.