A parachute slows the fall of an object by trapping air beneath it as the object falls. Whether the parachute is for an airplane jump or for an egg drop, every parachute - large or mini - functions in the same way using the same principle. Here are three easy ways to make mini parachutes.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Plastic bags (various sizes)
- Hole punch (optional)
- Nylon string (optional)
- Object to drop
- Paper or a tissue
- Hole punch
- Clear tape (optional)
- Nylon string
Fold a medium-sized plastic grocery bag flat and measure 3 inches down from the bottom on all four sides. Mark the measurement with your marker. Go to Step 5 if you are cutting a parachute from a large piece of flat plastic or a black garbage bag.
Snip the bag handles along the lines where the two sides of the bag join in the middle of each handle.
Cut away the front and back sides of the bag to the measurement spots and then repeat on the smaller sides of the bag. Keep in mind that the bag handles are your parachute lines and will extend all the way up to your parachute canopy. To achieve this effect, leave a 1-inch piece of plastic material from each handle line up to the canopy.
Affix the handles to an object and experiment with dropping the item from a high spot. Adjust the length or thickness of the "lines" as needed by cutting or twisting the plastic.
Measure out a square to your desired size if you're using flat plastic or a black trash bag to create a parachute and cut the square from the plastic. Remember that the larger the parachute's surface, the more drag it will provide your object during its descent. Different shapes (square, rectangular or round) also create different drag effects. Fold one corner to the opposite to create a triangle shape, crease flat with your ruler, unfold and then repeat with the opposite corners.
Unfold the plastic and punch out a hole at each corner approximately ½- inch from the edge. Tie a piece of nylon or other lightweight string approximately ten inches long to each corner and affix at equal lengths to your object.
Plastic Bag Method
Cut your piece of paper into a square shape or leave as a rectangle. If using a square shape, follow the folding method outlined in Step 5 of Section 1. If using tissue paper, go to Step 2.
Tape nylon or other lightweight string to each corner of your paper or tissue and affix the string to the object (or object holder) to create the mini parachute.
If you don't wish to use the tape method, punch out holes at each corner as detailed in Section 1. Then affix your string and object.
Paper and Tissue Methods
Tips and warnings
- Your parachute may not work on the first attempt because your line is too slack, there isn't enough drag in the canopy or the object is too heavy in relation to your mini parachute's size. Try experimenting, especially if you are working on an egg drop project, with different canopy or object holder sizes and shapes to achieve the desired effect.