How to Fold Paper Planes (with free Printable Folding Plans)

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By In The Playroom

I’m sure all of us have spent time folding and flying paper planes during our childhood, so today let’s take a look at some different paper airplane designs – complete with folding instructions and printable folding plans. 

Making the best paper airplanes is easy when you have the right guide! So let’s get started. We are going to learn how to fold paper planes.

paper airplane

Children will love this fun and classic activity, which is perfect all year round. In winter this is a great rainy day activity to keep kids busy indoors, and keep their hands occupied but in summer you can go outside to test paper planes long distance!

Kids will learn about engineering, science and forces as they experiment to find the best type, using different folds, wings, corners and edges. 

Why not have a paper plane making competition and involve the whole family. Simple activities like this can be enjoyed by families of all ages!

Four Ways to Fold the Best Paper Airplanes

Here are four fun ways to fold paper planes, inspired by the hit Australian movie Paper Planes (click the link to read our full review.) 

Paper Planes Movie

This is a great family friendly movie, which the kids and I really enjoyed. Currently you can watch Paper Planes on Netflix or rent on Amazon Video

paper planes movie

These four paper plane folding ideas will see you through the stages from the classic paper plane you probably learned to fold as a kid, up to some crazily unique designs like the round “defier”. This is where you get to the expert level models!

You can see all of these paper plane designs at different points of the movie, along with some other really impressive ones too.

Paper planes are one of the most popular forms of origami, and are a childhood staple – introduce your kids to these new designs, and I’m sure they’ll be impressed!

Step by Step How to fold paper planes

How to make paper planes. Folding instructions for paper planes, from simple to the complex. Classic origami activity for kids

Paper Airplanes Materials

To make these paper planes all you need is some paper. Printer paper works really well and you will need one piece of paper per airplane.

A ruler is also handy, and if you like you could decorate the paper planes with felt tips, or markers to add some colour and personality.

If you want to race the paper planes, then a stop watch and a measuring tape can both be useful tools add to the fun and the sense of competition.

The Classic Dart (How to make a classic easy paper airplane)

  1. Fold and unfold the creases as shown in the printable instructions. Fold straight down the middle of the paper, and then fold in the two corners from the top
  2. Fold and unfold the next creases as shown, again from the top edges but at a sharper angle this time.
  3. Fold the paper plane in half horizontally
  4. Fold downwards to form a wing
  5. Repeat on both sides
  6. Your paper plane is finished!

How to make a simple classic paper plane. Origami for kids, fun to make and race! Click here to download the Classic Dart instructions to print in PDF form

The Raptor How to fold a more advanced paper plane

  1. Fold the creases as shown on the instructions printable, straight down the centre and then at angles to create the cross pattern. Then, flip over the paper
  2. Fold a crease down, around 1/3 of the way down the page. Unfold and then flip back.
  3. Pop the paper by touching the middle of the intersecting creases.
  4. Fold back down
  5. And fold in half as shown
  6. Fold the wings down to line up with the centre
  7. The last fold is back from the nose, as shown on the example.
  8. Held tight in a vise, the paper should hold together firmly in this shape.

How to make an impressive paper plane. Folding instructions for the raptor - more impressive than the classic paper plane!

Click here to download the Raptor instructions to print in PDF form

The Manta Ray – How to make a unique paper airplane, that looks like a Manta Ray

  1. Fold in half, diagonally along the centre of the paper from top to bottom
  2. Fold down the paper in three tiny folds
  3. Use the edge of a desk or the leg of a table to roll the curve into the wing profile.
  4. The paper airplane is ready to fly!
The Manta Ray paper plane origami, inspired by the deep sea. Printable instructions

Click here to download and print the Manta Ray instructions in PDF format

The Defier – A paper plane inspired by the Bernoulli principle

  1. Fold the paper diagonally, folding the top corner over the bottom corner. This doesn’t need to be accurate, a little unevenness may help later!
  2. Roll the paper against the desk in a shoeshine motion to create a little curve
  3. From your slight inaccuracy at the start, one edge will be a little narrower than the other
  4. Slide the narrow end into the wider end as far as you can or until it forms a snug fit
  5. Squash it into an oval shape.
  6. Throw this paper plane by clicking your wrist down and letting it fly off your fingers.

How to make and fold a round paper plane. How cool is this! Click here to download and print the Defier instructions in PDF format

We hope you enjoyed these different styles of paper planes to make with kids. Have a go, improvise and design a paper airplane that is perfect for you. Test out the aerodynamic activity of each one! Which one flies the longest, and the furthest?

colorful paper airplanes

More Printable Activities for Kids

Here on In The Playroom, we have tonnes of free and fun printable activities for kids of all ages. From colouring pages, to activity sheets, or hands on printable crafts and games.

If you want something to keep your kids entertained, we have shared so many so please stay and browse around!

Or if your kiddo loves aeroplanes, try our simple craft to make a paper plate plane in the clouds.

For more printables, make sure to follow our Printables board on Pinterest

Follow Anna – In The Playroom’s board Printables on Pinterest.


Go ahead and share this how to make paper airplanes instructions blog post with friends and family. Why not challenge them to a best paper airplane contest, and make it a family activity for everyone to get involved!

Why not pin these paper plane making ideas to your Pinterest Board for later.

Printable templates for how to fold paper planes with kids

Enjoy! Happy flying!

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Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.

7 thoughts on “How to Fold Paper Planes (with free Printable Folding Plans)”

  1. We are a homeschooling family learning about lift, thrust and drag and are having a family paper airplane flying challenge that we will post to May we use the link to this post? This is a great resource for parents who don’t know where to start in teaching their kiddos how to make paper airplanes. (Like me! lol!)


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