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Paper Aircraft Models - how to

how to

We are still working on updating this page. In the future, we hope to have step by step visual or video instructions showing you the basics of model aircraft construction. For now, here are some basic guidelines to follow. Feel free to ask questions, post pictures, and help each other out on the blog.


Card stock paper (100-120 pound thickness) is used in each aircraft for the majority of the parts. This type of paper is thicker and more durable than standard printer paper. It is about the thickness of a greeting card.

Good glue is also important to ensure your model stays together. I recommend Beacons 3 in 1 advanced craft glue or contact cement. Water based glues generally do not do the job, and “super glues” are too hard when they dry. Use glue sparingly, but sand paper can be used to remove excess glue once dried.

You will also need cardboard of a thickness of 0.7 to 1 mm. Cardboard round are used to reinforce the inside of the fuselage ribs and give stability to the aircraft. The fuselage parts can be glued onto a cardboard scaffold or cardboard rounds can be inserted into the fuselage pieces. In the near future I will post pictures of what this looks like.

Fishing sinkers are used to balance your model so it can stand on its wheels. Large paper clips are used to reinforce the undercarriage.

Good scissors, an X-acto knife, a blunt knife, a ruler, and sanding paper are also needed.

General Assembly:

Every aircraft begins with the fuselage construction. This consists of building circular, oval, or “roundish” parts. The exact shape of the fuselage depends on the precise construction of an aircraft. I’ve tried in the instructions to make it clear what the shape should be, but look at pictures of that particular model or of the aircraft itself to get a better idea. Use cardboard to help you make, and stabilize that shape. Cut and glue one piece at a time. When you are gluing two pieces together, dry fit them first. Make sure the cut is right. Use sand paper to get the best fit possible before you glue. Once you glue two parts together give it some time to dry before adding the next piece. A well fit, stable fuselage is the key to success. TAKE YOUR TIME. Paper models are not as quick to assemble as plastic ones but they reward is worth it.

Easy variations:

Some aircraft come with “easy” variations. This is an alternative construction of the same aircraft that requires less experience to construct. This usually means skipping portions of the aircraft with a lot of detail work, such as the cockpit or the landing gear. You get both variations with your purchase (if they exist for that model) and can mix and match. Want a cockpit but no landing gear? No problem.


Back in the day, when I had no laser printer or clear printing paper, I would melt plastic soda bottles over a wooden mold to form my canopy. These days I would not recommend this technique. If you do not have a laser printer, or clear sheets of paper, print out the canopy on regular paper and use it to trace/cut thin clear plastic, like that found on children’s toy packaging. Make sure it is flexible.


Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle.


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