If there’s one paper craft that every person has likely attempted at least once, it’s the craft of folding a paper plane. From gliders to darts, these lightweight soarers have been around for millennia, captivating not only children but also adults from Leonardo da Vinci to Jack Northrop, the cofounder of Lockheed Corporation. In addition to illustrating aerodynamic design and theory, these folded aircraft, whether simple or highly complex, can be just plain fun to make. Plus, they stretch the creative mind, challenging you to unlock the potential of a single sheet of paper. Below, our picks of the best paper-airplane books to get you aloft in no time.
1. Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes Craft Kit
Although designed to appeal to kids, this fun-filled craft book will also delight any adult interested in aerodynamics. With clear instructions and eye-catching, well-printed graphics, it walks you through 10 paper planes that fly very well, with fanciful names like the Flying Ninja and the Pteroplane. The book is spiral bound, making it easy to lay flat, and includes a generous supply of papers in jazzy patterns so you can immediately embark on your folding journey. It also includes a simple explanation of paper-airplane physics for those curious about this exacting craft.
2. Kids’ Paper Airplane Book
This book is filled with creative projects that make the paper-airplane experience a little more quirky. It features instructions and clear diagrams for 16 models, including ones shaped and designed to look like a pizza slice, a bat, a butterfly, and a spider. Simply use the included paper, which is printed with zany designs, to bring them to life. The sheets also include handy dotted lines to fold along so you can work as precisely as possible. The planes stay in the air for a good length of time, which isn’t surprising considering that one of the book’s coeditors is a former Guinness World Record holder for paper airplane time afloat.
3. Whoosh! Easy Paper Airplanes for Kids
Designed for young ones ages 3 to 7, this book blends the favored pastime of coloring with the art of folding. Pages are perforated so they are easy to rip out, and each features black-and-white designs for users to color in. Our main gripe is that all the planes are the same, so this is not the best product for those hoping to learn new folds. However, it’s an excellent option for making similar planes for paper-throwing competitions.
4. The New World Champion Paper Airplane Book
This book presents satisfyingly challenging folds that are best suited for those who are detail-oriented and patient and perhaps have some prior experience with paper planes. Written by John M. Collins, holder of the world record for paper-airplane distance, it shows you how to make 22 distinct airplane designs, with convenient tear-out pages and step-by-step illustrated instructions. Because the folds can be a little complicated, this is best suited for adults (or children who have a lot of adult supervision). Collins also provides some excellent tips for soaring with success.
5. Publications International Paper Airplane Kit
Another kid-friendly option, this book comes in a kit that provides everything you need to fold and create customized airplanes. The instructions take you through the steps to make 100 kinds of aircraft, from stunt planes to spaceships. All fly far and fast, with some even spinning or boomeranging. You also get sheets of paper, complete with dotted guides for folding, that have a nice weight to make well-structured, durable planes. Also included are heaps of stickers to decorate your creations as well strong rubber bands to launch them when ready.