How to Build a Toy Glider

By Isaiah David

On windy days, there is nothing more exhilarating than watching a kite take to the skies. If there is no wind, however, you need not despair of flying - you can still take to the skies with a toy glider. All a glider needs to fly is a wind, tail, and body, all of which can be made from a single sheet of cardboard or balsa wood. Change the shape and size of the wings and bodies to get fast racers or lazy drifters.

Choose a material for your glider. Cardboard is a great choice because you can easily find it for free, and it is easy to work with. Balsa wood sheets will make for a somewhat more durable glider, but they require a craft knife and cost money. Foam is also a possibility, but you should probably avoid it. It is not as easy to find, can be difficult to work with, and is so light that you will have to weight the glider down a fair bit.

Cut a fuselage out, using scissors for cardboard or a craft knife for balsa. The fuselage should look like a profile of a plane. It should have a raised tail in the back to help keep the plane flying straight.

Cut out a wing and a tail. The easiest way to do this is to cut out a rectangle the length of the plane for the wing and a smaller one for the tail. Rectangular wings and tails will make for a slow, stable glider, which is a good thing.

Cut slits in the fuselage for the wing and tail to fit through. They should be just the right size to fit the tail and wing through in order to get a tight fit.

Slide the wing and tale into the slits so that they are centered. Use white glue to attach the wings in a cardboard glider or wood glue for a balsa glider.

Throw the plane. If it shoots up in the air and stalls too quickly, put a paper clip on the nose. If it dives for the ground, put a paper clip on the tail. Keep working on the plane until it flies how you want it to.

Tip

If you are using cardboard, you can bend the tail slightly to adjust the flight. Bend the trailing edge up to make the plane shoot up into the sky. Bend it down to make the plain stay closer to the ground.

About the Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.