How to Make Flying Planes Out of Cardboard

    by Jennifer Claerr

    About the Author

    Jennifer Claerr is a web writer who has written for online sites such as Demand Studios,, and She has a degree in art from the University of Texas at Arlington. She writes on a variety of topics, including holidays, health and fitness, travel, computers and art.


    You can make an aerodynamic airplane out of the chipboard that packages many food products. A cardboard plane is sturdier than a paper airplane, yet it isn't much more difficult to construct. This cardboard airplane project produces a jet fighter with an advanced delta-wing design. The ailerons on back of the wings give the plane more lift, thus allowing it to fly longer. Their angle can be adjusted to change the direction of the plane's flight.

    Things You'll Need

    • Thin cardboard
    • Straight-edged ruler
    • Pen or pencil
    • Scissors
    • Craft blade
    • Paper clips
    • Tape
    • Craft glue

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    Draw the 12-inch-long airplane body on the unfinished side of a large piece of thin recycled cardboard, such as a cereal or frozen pizza box. Draw a triangular shape, making it 10 1/2 inches long. This triangle will become the wings of the airplane.

    Cut out both the airplane body and the triangular wing shape with scissors. Set the wing piece aside.

    Set a straight-edged ruler along the airplane body about 3/4 inch from the bottom edge. Draw a line across the cardboard that is 10 1/4 inches long. Set the airplane body on another piece of scrap cardboard. Using the straight-edged ruler as a guide, cut through the line with a craft blade.

    Set the wing segment down on a scrap piece of cardboard. Using the craft blade, cut a small notch about 3/4 inch away from the edge at the back of the wing. Cut another notch about 1/2 inch away from the center scored line. Repeat this process on the other side of the wing segment. These notches create the ailerons that will control the movement of the plane. Turn the cardboard over and score along the length of both ailerons.

    Draw a line down the center of the wing piece. Set your ruler along the line. Score along the line with the craft blade, but do not cut all the way through the cardboard.

    Bend the wing piece along the center score. Align the wings at about a 25-degree angle. Make a 1/8-inch notch in the center of the wing segment both in front and in back.

    Insert the wing piece inside the slit in the main airplane body segment. Make sure the notches at the tip and back of the wing secure the wings in place. Bend the ailerons up to about a 45-degree angle.

    Secure the body and the wings of the airplane together with tape in one or two places along the bottom. Apply a thin strip of glue along the top of the wing where it intersects with the body piece. Use a scrap piece of cardboard to spread the glue evenly. Allow it to dry completely.

    Attach two or three paper clips to the nose of the airplane. Try flying the plane to see how well it performs. Adjust the number of paper clips as necessary.

    • To decorate your airplane, dilute some craft paints with a small amount of alcohol. Apply them as thinly as possible to avoid adding to the weight of the plane.
    • Monitor children when working with a craft knife.