This folded craft is excellent for indoor flying when you don't have a lot of space. It can make tight turns to avoid obstacles with ease.

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folded paper airplanes on blue surface
Ilyssa Minkus

In a time where devices dominate, there's nothing like the timeless pleasure of a paper airplane. It allows you to tinker and experience the joy of wonder: How far will it go? Do you need to fold the wings differently next time? Long after the handheld gaming devices and tablets have lost appeal, we will still be flying paper airplanes; it's the type of nostalgic craft that our inner-child loves.

Paper airplanes are excellent indoor playthings that can take any shape you like—from supersonic jets to old-fashioned propeller planes. The fliers pictured here are designed to do all kinds of tricks. Tinker with how they are folded to get them soaring: If the plane dives, bend the backs of the wings up slightly to slow it down. Bend the plane's tail, or rudder, to turn left or right.

As is true with all paper crafts, the type of paper you use makes all the difference; lightweight copy or printer paper is ideal for the aerodynamics of a paper airplane. Stickers give a plane a little extra panache—a striped wing, for example, or a star on the tail. Of course, you can simply leave it unadorned and let the sleek craft speak for itself.

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What you need

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How to do it

Part 1

folding paper airplane step 1
Step 1

Place an 8 1/2-by-11-inch piece of paper flat with a short side toward you.

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folding paper in half
Step 2

Fold in half lengthwise.

folding paper airplane step 3
Step 3

Open and smooth flat; fold upper corners down to meet center crease.

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folding paper airplane step 4
Step 4

Fold top edges of the triangle to meet center crease.

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folding paper airplane step 5
Step 5

Fold the plane in half so that the folded parts are tucked inside.

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