Jedi Paper Airplanes

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Use the force, young Padawan! These paper airplanes are the perfect training tool for small Jedis to practice their Force push.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

To set up a training session, all you need is construction paper and enough space for a good flight path. Check out this Force action!

The trick here is that these airplanes are very top-heavy, so they’ll consistently flip themselves over in flight. When they flip, they veer sharply to one side. So, just add in a small Jedi to apply the Force push, and you’ve got yourself pretty much the most fun game ever.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Jedi Paper Airplanes, based on The Family Creative Workshop, Volume 1: Airplanes of Paper

Presenting: The Nathan, also know as The Jedi Paper Airplane! This design was invented (and named) by my 8-year-old. We started out by trying out the airplane designs in The Family Creative Workshop, which was incredibly fun and mostly successful. I’m not sure why we hadn’t been making paper airplanes all along—it’s the ideal tinkering activity. Low cost, quick to make, and it’s impossible not experiment and tweak the design.

Materials

  • Construction paper
  • Jedi

The original Nathan was created at summer camp, and the design has been refined and perfected through many iterations. None of the folds need to be terribly precise, so it’s good for young kids to make on their own. We tried several paper types, and the construction paper was definitely the best.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

To start, fold the construction paper in half length-wise.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Fold one side over…

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

…and then then other to create a triangle on one end.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Fold the triangle part down and crease across.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Next, fold the triangle part back up so that it sticks half-way up past the top edge.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Then fold the sticking-up part back down. You now have one side with many folded layers.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Now you fold the folded-up part over one more time.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Then fold the whole thing over along the center line…

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

…and press to crease.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Now it’s time to make the wings! Fold one wing back…

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

…and then the other.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

The Nathan is ready to fly! It goes great with Jedi robes.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

We had so much fun with this project, and made SO MANY paper airplanes.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

Here’s an X-wing design which doesn’t really fly but looks cool.

How to make a Jedi paper paper airplane.

My 5-year-old also invented several airplanes with varying degrees of success. This piece started out life as an airplane, but he folded himself into a corner and decided to turn it into a penguin.

I figure in the course of exploring Airplanes of Paper, we must have created over 50 airplanes, include a few extras for my 5-year-old to give to his friend at preschool. I guess he was bragging about our airplanes. We tried at least 10 different designs, and we even took a trip to the Hiller Aviation Museum for a paper airplane day. Without being too sappy about it, this is exactly the kind of experience I was hoping to create with the 24 Volumes project. Just think of what’s waiting for us once we get out of “A”!

Check out the vintage inspiration for this project here: The Family Creative Workshop, Volume 1: Airplanes of Paper (1974)

Airplanes of Paper

Airplane paper folding, 70s style.

Or as they are sometimes known, paper airplanes. As an editor, I can’t say I disagree with the decision to put this project under “airplane” rather than “paper”, but I feel like there has to be some less awkward way to title this.

Paper airplane folding, 70s style.

Of the admittedly small number of projects we’ve done so far, this section is really up there in completeness of instructions, for which we have the very jovial-looking Captain Ralph S. Barnaby to thank (click to enlarge).

Paper airplane folding, 70s style.

I also really like Captain Barnaby’s positive, encouraging attitude toward experimentation with the paper airplanes.

Don’t be disappointed if your first model makes a beeline for the ground on its initial flight. This can happen.

Putting a little more bend on the wings or a little more weight on the tail or simply changing a curve or fold can have a marked effect on the way a plane flies.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Become an inventor, and design your own planes. With a little experience you will be as good as any other paper-airplane engineer.

Isn’t that great? This is a version of what I’m always telling my kids when they get frustrated with whatever project I’ve got them working on. Many of our projects involve copious amounts of duct tape, and our shorthand for sticking with the project and not getting frustrated has become, “Don’t let the duct tape win.” I may introduce a corollary to my duct tape maxim along the lines of “Just try another fold” when a first attempt fails. Frankly, I could use that reminder on my own projects from time to time.

After dealing with janky truck stencils and messy poured resin, I have to say it’s a relief to hit a project as straightforward as folding a paper airplane. My plan for this one is to just sit down with my kids and some paper and start folding. I’m assuming the hardest part will be getting them to hold still long enough for the photos!

Paper airplane folding, 70s style.

Check out our kid-designed paper airplane project here: Jedi Paper Airplanes

source: The Family Creative Workshop, Volume 1: Airplanes of Paper (1974)