Child's hand holds a paper airplane in nature.

How to Make the Best Paper Airplane

This is a paper airplane that will gain the respect and gratitude of action-obsessed kids.  It is the paper airplane that my boys ask me to make over and over again. This post contains instructions for folding this plane and affiliate links to recommended books so you can find more fun resources for folding awesome paper airplanes 🙂

But start with this one! At a minimum, this is the paper airplane you need to know how to fold.

It's not complicated – it can be folded out of anything from a gum paper wrapper to yesterday's mail. It's a classic.

How to Make the Best Paper Airplane

My boys call this paper airplane a “long plane.”

Last year, for Christmas, they got this Awesome Paper Planes book, and it's so cool that  I thought the “long plane” would be retired, but I was wrong. The kids have enjoyed the book as something to do with their dad, but when they're folding airplanes by themselves they prefer to use the neat looking paper that came with the book for these tried and true paper airplanes.

The Best Paper Airplane: Instructions

How to Fold the Best Paper Airplane - Printable Instructions

Click for printable instructions for the Best Paper Airplane.

Paper Airplane Steps:

  1. Take your paper and fold it in half long ways (so the long sides touch one another).
  2. Open your paper, and you now have a center line. Folding down from a short side, fold both corners into the middle, creating 45-degree angles. You will now have one triangular end.
  3. Take the slanted sides and fold them into the middle, so that the 45-degree angles are folded in to meet in the middle on that center line.
  4. Now fold your plane together on that center line.
  5. Fold down each wing – the slanted edges should fold down to meet the straight middle fold.

Phew – if those steps made sense, you're done! If you used a paper that doesn't stay folded so well (like the lousy construction paper that we seem to have reams of around here) then you might want to put a little piece of tape on top to hold it together.

What do you think? Is this kind of paper airplane “The Best”? Or have you got another folding trick up your sleeve that I should know about to wow my kids?

If you'd like more ideas for fantastic paper airplanes, try these books:

Kids' Paper Airplane Book – written by a world record-holding paper airplane maker and a mechanical engineer, this book not only has great plans for folding planes, it includes interesting aviation facts for kids and instructions for games to play with your paper airplanes too.

The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes Craft Kit – this book gives instructions for 10 super cool paper airplanes and comes with 40 sheets of designer paper so you can make lots of the planes.

Fantastic Press-Out Flying Birds – not airplanes, but this book is full of beautiful birds you can press out of the page, put together and fly. Perfect for a nature loving kid.

Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away…. – fold Anakin Skywalkers Podracer and more.