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How to Make a Boomerang Paper Airplane

Boomerang Paper Airplanes

There are several different paper airplane styles with boomerang action.
There are several different paper airplane styles with boomerang action. | Source

A boomerang paper airplane is a folded paper plane that flies back to you. Some designs fly in a vertical circle from low to high, and others fly in a more traditional horizontal pattern. All are loads of fun for kids to try, though there are some tricks to attaining success.

I tried three different paper airplane designs to see which design is the easiest to build and which gives the most consistent boomerang action.

  • The first, a kid-friendly design, has only a few folds and relies upon tail-flap adjustments to get the plane to fly back to you.
  • The second, an origami design, also has few folds, but flies back in a vertical loop instead of horizontally.
  • The third, a more advanced plane folded by The Paper Airplane Guy, has numerous tricky folds, but results in a breathtakingly fun paper toy, even when the plane isn't folded perfectly.

My first plane, in fact, was quite the mess, but it performed well in spite of my questionable folding abilities.

1. Simple, Kid-Friendly Design

This simple boomerang paper airplane will fly back to you.
This simple boomerang paper airplane will fly back to you. | Source

Kid-Friendly Boomerang Paper Airplane: Illustrations (Instructions Below)

A. Valley fold centerline B. Fold corners to center line C. "Envelope flap" fold
A. Valley fold centerline B. Fold corners to center line C. "Envelope flap" fold | Source
D. Fold corners to centerline
D. Fold corners to centerline | Source
E. Fold corner up, so that it is over the corners from step D.
E. Fold corner up, so that it is over the corners from step D. | Source
F. Mountain fold centerline G. Fold wings to centerline
F. Mountain fold centerline G. Fold wings to centerline | Source
H. Fold tail flaps
H. Fold tail flaps | Source

Instructions

To make this kid-friendly boomerang paper airplane, you will need one sheet of 8.5"x11" paper. (Copy paper works well.) Then:

A. "Valley fold" the paper lengthwise in half, making a sharp crease and open the paper.

B. Fold two corners to the centerline, making a point on one long end of the paper.

C. Fold the point down width-wise, so that it looks like an "envelope flap."

D. Fold the top corners of the paper down so that they meet at the centerline, just above the point of the "envelope flap." This time, there will not be a point at the top of the paper. (See photo or video for example.)

E. Now fold the small point of the "envelope flap" up, creasing it so that it stays folded.

F. Fold the paper lengthwise in "mountain fold" direction.

G. Fold the wings so that the edge of the paper lines up with the centerline.

H. Fold the tail flaps up so that the crease lines up with the back edge of the plane.

To Fly

You're now ready to fly! Hold the airplane to the side and toss it away from you, at a slightly "banked" angle. The plane should fly in a horizontal circle back to you.

  • Adjusting the tail flaps will help make the airplane boomerang back to you.
  • Shape the wings to make them slightly curved to help make the airplane boomerang back.
  • See the table at the end of this article for my test results comparing this boomerang plane to other designs!

2. Origami-Style Design

Origami Style Boomerang Plane

Origami-style plane has few folds, dependable easy style.
Origami-style plane has few folds, dependable easy style. | Source

Origami Boomerang Paper Airplane: Illustrations (Instructions Below)

A. Valley fold centerline B. Fold corners to mark MM
A. Valley fold centerline B. Fold corners to mark MM | Source
C. Fold point to mark NN
C. Fold point to mark NN | Source
D Fold point to mark OO
D Fold point to mark OO | Source
E. Fold point to centerline F. Refold along centerline (A)
E. Fold point to centerline F. Refold along centerline (A) | Source
G. Fold wings at a slight up angle
G. Fold wings at a slight up angle | Source

Instructions for Origami Boomerang Paper Airplane

This is a standard origami design that is very easy to fold. The boomerang action, though, is a bit different - the plane flies in a vertical loop from bottom to top, or "up and over" by some accounts. It is pretty consistent, however, and so it makes for a fun kid's boomerang paper plane.

To make this plane, you will need one square piece of origami paper. I used a piece of copy paper cut to 8.5" square.

A. "Valley-fold" paper in half and open.

B. Fold top corners down to centerline, coming together at mark "MM", and making a point at the top of the paper.

C. With point away from you, valley-fold point down so that it comes to mark "NN" which is about 3/4" below mark MM.

D. Valley-fold point up to mark "OO" about 3/4" above the horizontal top of the paper.

E. Valley-fold point down so that the tip is on the centerline, and in line with the top of the paper.

F. Refold the paper down the centerline.

G. Fold the wing down along the nose of the plane at an upward angle (see photo or video.) This creates the wings and the body of the plane. Do both wings. Open out the wings so that they are horizontal and flat.

To Fly

Point the nose of the plane slightly downward and toss. It should loop down and then up, right back to you. In my tests,(see table below,) this -plane was a very consistent performer, but if your results differ, try shaping the wings to improve boomerang action. See the table at the end of the article to see how this plane compares to the others!

3. Paper Airplane Guy's Design

Wonderfully fun boomerang action paper airplane, folded using the Paper Airplane Guy's instructions.
Wonderfully fun boomerang action paper airplane, folded using the Paper Airplane Guy's instructions. | Source

Paper Airplane Guy's Plane: Illustrations (Instructions Below)

A. Fold in half
A. Fold in half | Source
B. Mark center C. Mark at 2 1/8" D. Fold along top left point to mark at 2 1/8"
B. Mark center C. Mark at 2 1/8" D. Fold along top left point to mark at 2 1/8" | Source
E. Make squash fold F. Fold to back.
E. Make squash fold F. Fold to back. | Source
G Fold down top , both sides
G Fold down top , both sides | Source
H. Fold the corner in half in a pinch fold.
H. Fold the corner in half in a pinch fold. | Source
H. A closer look at what the pinch fold looks like.
H. A closer look at what the pinch fold looks like. | Source
H. Wiggle the pinched corner into the pocket.
H. Wiggle the pinched corner into the pocket. | Source
I. You'll get a nice shape once the corner is tucked into the pocket. This curve is what you'll squash in the next step.
I. You'll get a nice shape once the corner is tucked into the pocket. This curve is what you'll squash in the next step. | Source
I. Flatten the curve carefully. Repeat H on the other side.
I. Flatten the curve carefully. Repeat H on the other side. | Source
J. Fold wings, both sides.
J. Fold wings, both sides. | Source
K. With nose towards you, open up the center of the plane.
K. With nose towards you, open up the center of the plane. | Source
K. And squash fold the nose towards the center of plane.
K. And squash fold the nose towards the center of plane. | Source
With paper turned over: L. Fold nose M. Valleyfold center line N. Fold wings O. Fold wing flaps
With paper turned over: L. Fold nose M. Valleyfold center line N. Fold wings O. Fold wing flaps | Source
My first plane, following Airplane Guy's directions, was not perfect, but still resulted in a breathtakingly fun paper boomerang plane.
My first plane, following Airplane Guy's directions, was not perfect, but still resulted in a breathtakingly fun paper boomerang plane. | Source

Paper Airplane Guy's Boomerang Plane: Instructions

There are variations for this boomerang paper airplane, some more difficult to fold than others. The plane folded by The Paper Airplane Guy leans towards the difficult, but I found that even if you don't fold it perfectly, the resulting plane still has plenty of boomerang action, and is a hoot to play with. I've broken down how I folded my plane below, but follow the directions in The Paper Airplane Guy's YouTube video for best instructions.

To make this plane, you need one sheet of 8.5"x11" paper. I used copy paper.

A. Fold paper in half width-wise. Orient centerfold towards you.

B. With paper still folded in half, fold the paper just enough to mark the center of the paper with a crease right on the centerfold line.

C. Then fold in one edge of the paper to that center mark just enough to make a crease at the 1/4 point on the centerline. (If you were to measure with a ruler, you'd make marks along the center fold at 2 1/8" and 4 1/4".)

D. Fold bottom left corner up to make a valley fold that runs from the top corner to the first crease mark at 2 1/8".

E. Lift the flap you just made and open the pocket to create "squash fold," lining up crease to edge.

F. Turn paper over and fold edge of "squash fold" to back. Turn paper to front with centerfold closest to you as before.

G. Fold down top corner close to tip of pocket, lining up left edges, making a valley fold that runs along top. Turn paper over and repeat, lining up edges before making the valley fold.

H. To fit the corner of the paper into the pocket, pinch corner in half, so that it fits into the pocket with open paper edges facing outward (as opposed to facing inward to the body of the plane.) Carefully wiggle the folded corner into the pocket until it is more or less even and edges are smooth.

I. If you've done the previous step correctly, you'll have a curved piece of paper that sticks out away from the plane. You want to flatten that curve by folding from the top outer edge of the pocket to the highest point of the pocket. Then finish by folding the top right corner down. (See photo and video.) Do H and I on the other side.

J. Now reorient the paper so that pockets are to your left and the centerfold of the paper is closest to you as before. Open up the wings by making a valley fold from the left most point to the top right fold. Turn the paper over and make the other wing.

K. Open the plane up so that the nose points towards you. Flatten the centerfold and squash fold the nose of the plane.

L. Turn the paper over and valley fold the nose to back.

M. Without turning the paper to front, Valley fold along the centerline.

N. Vally fold wing so that the body of the plane is about 1" wide. Repeat on the other side, matching up fold lines.

O. Create the wing flaps, making the folds so that they are slightly slanted upwards.

To Fly

Toss the plane away from you and watch as it glides in a perfect, beautiful circle right back to you!

The Paper Airplane Guy has a number of interesting and helpful tips for wing shaping to get better performance, but I found that even if folded imperfectly, the plane performs quite well. See the table below for performance data, and enjoy making and flying boomerang paper airplanes!

Flight Test Results

Plane Type
Number of Test Flights
Successful Flights
Notes
Benefit
Origami
12
12
Loops vertically, low to high
Dependable action, simple
Kid-Friendly
12
3
Need to Adjust tail flaps
Simple, standard paper size
The Paper Airplane Guy
12
10
Wide horizontal circle, fun
Fun, with a lesson too
Three planes, many test flights. The Paper Airplane Guy's plane wins for its more traditional horizontal flight path and fun quotient.

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Comments 48 comments

Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl 3 years ago from United States of America

It's great that you provided step-by-step pictures. These planes can be fun when you make them right; when I was younger my brothers and I used to see who could make the best ones. But I also don't think we used proper designs, hence the reason why they barely worked. Voted up and awesome.


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks Dreamhowl!


drgoshi profile image

drgoshi 3 years ago from pakistan

woww that's really nice


twilanelson profile image

twilanelson 3 years ago from Carmichael, California

It is amazing how the most simple things we come across are so very interesting. Paper airplanes that perfectly fly, I love it. Thank you.


arslan.arsal10@googlemail.com 3 years ago

wow its really good,i will definitely make it for my kids.thanks for your sharing.


nufoundglory profile image

nufoundglory 3 years ago from Asia

Wow, amazing stuff. I'm going to go through this again and make the planes!


healthwealthmusic profile image

healthwealthmusic 3 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

We just made the kid friendly airplane, now we are gonna go fly it. The kids can't wait! Thanks for sharing!


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 3 years ago from Colorado

Simply wonderful presentation of a very clever set of ideas. This will be a blessing to many families and kids (including my own). An honorably worthy HOTD hub you have here. Bravo!


John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 3 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

Perfect timing, prokidwriter. For weeks now, we've been trying to remember how to build paper aeroplanes for our granddaughters. Thank you. Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting. Now where is that paper?


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Congrats on your Hub of the Day and thanks! I'm looking forward to making one of these for my little grandson and sending another for him to fold.


coffeegginmyrice profile image

coffeegginmyrice 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

I have enjoyed this paper airplane as well as the paper boat and paper kite in my childhood together with my brother. When we did a sky-attack, we just made lots of these paper airplanes and jets (larger with a longer pointy nose) with bits of torn-up pieces tucked inside, and released them. Lots of fun!

Sharing!


SunkistGirl profile image

SunkistGirl 3 years ago from Utah, United States

I have three boys who are always asking for me to make paper airplanes for them. I can do this design you have shared! Thanks for the step by step instructions. My youngest will love the boomerang design!

Like coffeegginmyrice stated, my boys enjoy finding things to place in their airplanes and see how far the plane goes before dumping its cargo! AH! the joys of children!


CountryCityWoman profile image

CountryCityWoman 3 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

I love stuff like this. And when my 3 granddaughters come over I will be so prepared. I never would have thought of using those clips on the bottom to serve as a stand. This is big! Yay! And thanks a million!


Night Magic profile image

Night Magic 3 years ago from Canada

I haven't made a paper airplane since I was a kid. Thanks for the instructions. I'll have to try again.


ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

Nice step-by-step tutorial of how to make a boomerang paper airplane. This used to be a favorite pastime for those of us who grew up when there was no video game, computers, or cable networks.

It's good to see that it's still around. Congrats on the HOTD award!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks ComfortB!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Making the planes brings back good memories!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

We did some fly-offs here, to see which planes flew best! With 3 granddaughters, you'll get in lots of test flights!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Haha! Sounds like fun!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Sky-attack sounds awesome fun!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks RTalloni!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks for your comment John!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks wayseeker! Appreciate that you checked out my hub!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Try adjusting the wings, curving them and such, to get different types of lift!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks for checking out my hub drgoshi!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks for commenting twilanelson! Paper folding is a lot of fun.


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks for commenting!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks nufoundglory, let me know your results!


Wonder wool profile image

Wonder wool 3 years ago from United States

Made me remember some Childhood memories! Thanks for Sharing & Congrats!


Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl 3 years ago from United States of America

Just wanted to say congrats on being hub of the day!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

thanks dreamhowl!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York

These are so very cool! I have to try them with my two boys - they will LOVE them! I usually just fold my "standard" plane, which is not very exciting and often ends up nose-diving. These are very cool, and the instructions are extremely clear and easy to follow. Congrats on HOTD!


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks leahlefler!


jayshreepattanaik profile image

jayshreepattanaik 3 years ago from INDIA

Really these are very interesting .really encourgaing .......kids will deffinitely like these paper aeroplane


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks jay, they are fun to make and have a good lesson to impart as well.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very informative hub and this hub deserve as the Hub of the Day. I am gonna show this to my students. I really enjoy the step by step instruction. Voted up!

Prasetio


prokidwriter profile image

prokidwriter 3 years ago from America's Finest City Author

Thanks for commenting, glad you liked the hub!


SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 3 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

Thanks! I haven't invented a new paper airplane design in over 40 years, but you've got me thinking! Voted up and interesting!


floating mind profile image

floating mind 3 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

I am really into planes and I currently am making my third paper plane. Good instructions and video examples. Nice hub. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get back to flying my airplanes (paper that is). Thanks!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Very cool!


mueblesdejardin profile image

mueblesdejardin 2 years ago from madrid

Ohh, If i was able to find this good information when I was child...


alexender 2 years ago

mind blowing and step to step guide was amazing


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 2 years ago

this hub reminded me of when I was little and how I use to make origami all of the time in art class. my oh my how times have changed due to the improvement and advancement of technology. I thank you for this hub. voted up.


msginger profile image

msginger 2 years ago from AMSTERDAM

Ah, that feeling of nostalgia. I will save this hub for later. It's great that you included a step-by-step guide!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

cool boomerang planes, i used to make origami planes


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

cool. your paper lane is different from mine,has bigger flaps and different designs


FatBoyThin profile image

FatBoyThin 18 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

Your attention to detail is amazing – fantastic photos and easy to follow instructions. My son loves paper aeroplanes so he’s going to love this! Great Hub. Voted up.


vinay 10 months ago

nice

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