How to Make a Rubber Band Helicopter

By David Claerr
David A. Claerr

This interesting toy can be constructed from generally available household materials, or with items that can be obtained at most craft or hobby supply stores. With adult supervision, the rubber band helicopter can be assembled by children over the age of 8. The materials used are light and durable, and the rubber band "motor" can be easily replaced if it breaks after continuous use.

How to Make a Rubberband Helicopter

Helicopter Parts
David A. Claerr

Cut out four rectangular pieces of paper, each 1 by 2 1/2 inches. These pieces will form the blades of the rotor.

Glue two pieces of paper on opposite ends of each bamboo strip. Set the angle of the rotors at a 30 degree slant from the perpendicular, slanting in opposite directions from each other. Allow 3/4 inch overlap of paper beyond the end of the bamboo strip.

Top Rotor Assembly
David A. Claerr

Cut off 1 1/2 inches of wire to use in making the rotating piece for the top rotor. Bend a small, open wire loop that will fit inside the straw on one end of this wire piece. Thread the wire through the plastic bead, and then bend the wire at a 90-degree angle just above the bead. Glue the top rotor onto the wire at the top of the plastic bead. Take care to place the rotor at the exact center of the straw above the wire bead.

Make a long hook with the remainder of the wire that will fit inside the straw. The wire hook will be used to pull the rubber band through the inside of the straw.

Bottom Rotor Assembly
David A. Claerr

Cut a notch into one end of the straw for the bottom rotor. Slide the wire hook through the straw and pull the rubber band through the straw until a small loop of the rubber band is left sticking out the bottom of the straw. Press the straight pin through the straw and inside the loop of the rubber band. Pull the rubber band the rest of the way through the straw until it meets the straight pin. Then glue the bottom rotor into the notch and also tape it to the straight pin.

Finished Helicopter
David A. Claerr

Pull the rubber band up until it emerges outside the top of the straw. Hook the top end of the rubber band onto the the open wire loop below the plastic bead. The assembly of the helicopter is complete. To operate the helicopter, hold the assembled unit with the thumb and index finger grasping the bottom end of the straw and bottom rotor, while turning the top rotor to twist the rubber band inside the straw. Turn the rotor in the proper direction so that the upper edges of the rotor will be the leading edge as the rotor turns. When the rubber band has been twisted sufficiently, toss the helicopter into the air and watch it soar.

About the Author

Artist, author, musician and researcher—the contemporary equivalent of the Renaissance Man—David A. Claerr is a professional graphic designer and a certified Adobe expert. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Bachelor of Art Education from Eastern Michigan University.