How to Build a Cardboard Model Plane

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Airplane modeling is a popular activity among youths. While many are more familiar with modeling in the form of paper airplanes, using cardboard sheets instead of sheets of paper allows for more complex designs which fly better in exchange for the extra work in construction. Building a plane out of cardboard takes a little practice to perfect; however, with a little effort even a beginner can create a satisfying end product.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard Sheets
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Crafting Knife
  • Tape

Draw a body piece on a cardboard sheet and cut it out using the crafting knife. To scale your body, draw a rectangle two inches tall and eight inches long. Add a horizontal line 1/2 inch below the top of the rectangle, and three horizontal lines, 1 inch, 1 1/2 inches and 7 inches from the back of the plane, respectively. The bottom of the plane remains flat, while the top is the top of the rectangle before the first line, dips down to the horizontal line between the first and second lines, and then drops from the horizontal line to the center of the front edge of the plane between the third line and the front edge.

Trace the body piece and cut out an exact copy, then tape the two pieces together to make your plane extra stable.

Cut out a pair of wings. To scale the wings, draw a rectangle that is two inches tall and eight inches wide, and a vertical line down the center of the wings four inches from each edge. Draw an additional line from each edge, 1/2 inch from the top of the rectangle, to the top of the center line. The tapered side will be the front of the wings, while the flat side will be the back of the wings.

Cut a tail for the plane. The tail will have a similar shape to the wings, but the rectangle will only be two inches wide and one inch tall, and the lines will start 1/4 inch from the top of the rectangle.

Cut notches for the wings and the tail. For the wings, cut a slit in the body piece with the utility knife that starts two inches from the front of the plane and is centered along the height of the plane. The slit should be as tall as your cardboard sheets are thick. For the tail, cut a one-inch-long slit, centered vertically, starting from the very back of the plane.

Tape the wings and tail in place. Insert them into the slits cut in step 5, then secure them with four pieces of tape each, with a piece on top of the wing or tail and a piece below the wing or tail on both sides of the body.