How to Fold a Paper Airplane

How to Fold a Paper Airplane. Paper airplanes fly best when the weight is concentrated at the front. The DC-3 is a great design that's similar to the swallow and features a heavy nose, large wings and a thin tail with a stabilizer. It's been called the best paper airplane by those who know how to make and fly it.

Begin with an ordinary sheet of 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch 20-pound paper. These are found in most printers and copiers. A slightly heavier paper would make a better airplane.

Fold the top left corner down until the top edge of the paper aligns with the right edge. Make a good crease, then unfold it and fold the top right corner down the same way.

Notice that the creased paper now shows three triangles (top, left and right) and a five-sided figure (at the bottom).

Use your fingers to press the left and right triangles together so the top triangle comes down on top of them. Press down and crease the left and right triangles so they are folded in half under the top triangle.

Fold the bottom corners of the top triangle up to the top corner and crease. You will then have a diamond shape.

Turn the left half of the diamond down so the top point lines up with the bottom point. Crease, then do the same with the right half of the diamond. You now have a triangle that's pointed toward the bottom of the paper.

Unfold the left half of the triangle you just made, then fold the flap so the outside edge meets the edge in the center of the triangle. Make a crease. The flap will want to extend past the edge of the paper on the left; crease it about 2/3 from the top so it will fold down and not extend past the edge.

Notice that after folding you get a section of paper that is standing up from the rest of the sheet. Fold the right flap in the same way, being careful to make the creases symmetrical with the left flap.

Turn the plane over and fold the top down to create a triangle that allows about 1/3 of the flaps you made in Steps 7 and 8 to extend in front of the plane. Turn the plane back over.

Fold the bottom part of the paper upward until the bottom edge meets the folded section above it. Make a crease then carefully separate a strip of paper from the bottom.

Fold the paper strip in half lengthwise and crease. Then cut the strip and fold the back third of the strip to create vertical stabilizers. Set the tail section aside.

Fold the airplane in half, then fold the sides of the airplane to create a suitable size fuselage and horizontal wings. The fold that creates the wings should not be exactly parallel to folded center of the airplane. Instead, the fold should allow the front of the wing to be slightly higher than the back.

Turn the edges of the wings up. Crease well.

Slide the tail into the fuselage of the airplane until it is anchored under the flap at the nose.

Things You Will Need

  • Sheet of paper
  • Scissors


Notice that you have the option of folding the small triangular flaps back against the fuselage of the plane or bringing them forward as if they were landing gear. Remember to always fold them back before launching the plane. Make adjustments to the wings and tail to correct any unwanted banking or diving the plane does when it is flown. You may want to cut and bend the back of the wings.