When I was a kid we bought The Great International Paper Airplane Book at the Smithsonian in DC. It had several cool designs. The paper helicopter template that it included was one of my favorites. It was different from other paper airplanes, and fairly simple to make. Creating a paper helicopter requires a pieces of paper, a few easy cuts, and a few folds.
Over the years I have tuned the helicopter design a bit. Following is a template with the dimensions that we prefer to use. The “blades” spins faster than the original design. The template has one helicopter plus instructions. Once you get one made, you will see how you could cut 5 out of one horizontal sheet of paper. If you are really careful, you can even tear the cuts. I have done that at a few wedding rehearsals when we needed to entertain kids.
The best part is paper that paper helicopters can be flown, then adjusted, and then decorated. We like to make a few with longer “blades” then a few with shorter ones. A quarter inch shorter in length makes a difference to the amount of spinning they do. That is a fun experiment. For decoration, you can draw different stripes on the “blades” to see what happens. Helicopters are super fun to drop from a high place. It turns out that getting to a high place requires a lot of trips up/down the stairs.
Tools and Materials
- Scissors (optional)
- Cut a strip of paper 2 inches x 8 1/2 inches.
- Make a vertical cut 2 1/2 inches long into the rectangle. Then fold the rotor blades, one forward and one back.
- Make 1/2 inch cuts horizontally, about 1 1/4 inch below the rotor blades.
- Fold the sides of the body in along those 1/2 inch folds.
- Fold about 1 inch up from the bottom.
Paper Helicopter Template
This guide has proportions that work well. Click the graphic below for PDF of this template to print.
This is how it looks fully assembled.
Stripes on the rotor blades have a cool effect.