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How to Make the Best Paper Airplane for Small Spaces, According to My Dad

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Now, there are a zillion ways to make a paper airplane, but this one is especially good for small spaces. Don’t ask me why… I have not a damn clue… my dad said so. Well, it sort of glides nicely and it doesn’t have a pointy nose, which is useful, because flying zippy paper airplanes with tiny kids around in small spaces makes one sort of paranoid that someone will loose an eye or something. (Jewish mother, what can I say).

I remember spending hours in the fields by our house with my dad, flying his little model airplanes and sometimes fishing them out of trees. They had funny names according to their sizes, walnuts, peanuts and pistachios, etc. Anyway, we were on Skype this morning (we live in Australia and they are in America) and he was showing off one of his new planes, made from balsa wood and tissue paper and my kids suddenly got VERY interested in planes. So, he showed me how to make this paper airplane and thanks to him, now we have paper planes strewn all over our house. I have to say, I’ve tried making so many paper airplanes in my life and they’ve all sucked… until this one!  (please excuse my directions… do you know how hard it is to explain paper folding?!)

1. Start with any rectangular sheet of paper. I used pretty paper, but you can use regular printer paper. Construction paper or cardstock is probably too heavy. Take one of the top right hand corner and fold down so it lines up with the opposite edge of the sheet of paper.


2. Now take the top left corner of the paper and fold it down to meet the opposite point of the folded down triangle.


3. Fold in half, make a really good crease with your fingernail and then open.


4. Fold the top of the triangle down so the tip of the triangle goes a little past the bottom line of the triangle. Don’t forget nice firm creases people!


5. Fold in half again along the pre-folded line.


6. Ignore my dodgy unmatched edges, yours will be better, keep telling yourself that.

7. Fold one wing down… you’ll have to fool around with how big you make your wing (or how small you make the fuselage). My dad showed me how to make one using an A4 size sheet of paper (roughly the same as US letter size) and my fuselage was about 2.2cm (1 inch). (don’t be fooled into thinking I know ANYTHING about airplanes, just because I used the word ‘fuselage‘.


8. Repeat for the opposite wing and then turn up the edges of each wing. Again, depends on the size of your original sheet of paper. I was using a sheet of paper much smaller than A4 (US letter size) and mine were about 1 cm (1/2 inch).


9. Final Tweaking: Play around with it a bit, but in general, dad said to give the wings a lift of about ten degrees and make sure you open up the little folds on the wings. After a few flights, your plane will probably start to lose a bit of shape, so just re-crease the lines when that happens.


10. Voila. Best paper airplane for small spaces!


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