How to Make Toy Propellers

Written by lauren vork
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How to Make Toy Propellers
Toy propellers fly using the same principle as helicopters. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Toy propellers are a plaything with the ability to fly in spite of their simple construction. Two propellers attached to the end of a short dowel are spun between the hands, then released to fly up and through the air. Create your own toy propellers using recycled materials and watch them take off in your backyard.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Clean, empty 2-litre pop bottle
  • Scissors
  • Hardcover book
  • Ruler
  • Thick craft wire
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Hot glue gun
  • 250 mm (10 inch) wooden dowel, 13 mm (1/2 inch) diameter

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  1. 1

    Remove a section of plastic from the centre of the 2 litre bottle. Cut away the top and bottom of the bottle, leaving a cylinder of plastic. Cut a straight line up the side of this to form a rectangular sheet of plastic. Flatten this by weighing it down beneath a large hardcover book for several hours.

  2. 2

    Make two propeller blades from the sheet of plastic. Cut two identical, rectangular pieces measuring 20 mm (3/4 inch) by 150 mm (6 inches). Use the scissors to remove the corners on one end of each propeller, rounding it off.

  3. 3

    Form the wire centre of the propellers. Cut a 50 mm (2 inch) length of wire. Use the needle-nose pliers to twist a 6 mm (1/4 inch) wide loop into each end of the wire. Twist the two loops in opposite directions, making a shape similar to a figure eight, but with a short length of straight wire in the centre.

  4. 4

    Attach the propellers to the wire frame. Glue the square ends of the propellers to each of the wire loops using a small dot of hot glue. With each propeller, apply the glue by laying the wire loop over the plastic, then squeezing the glue over both. Use as little glue as possible. Position the wire loops so that the plastic covers them but does not cover the flat length of wire between them.

  5. 5

    Rotate the propellers away from one another. Grip each propeller by pinching each side over the spot where the wire is glued to the plastic. Turn one propeller 45 degrees clockwise while twisting the other 45 degrees counterclockwise, causing the wire in the centre to twist.

  6. 6

    Glue the propellers to the dowel. Squeeze a large dot of glue on the end of the dowel, enough to cover it. Press the glue to the centre wire between the propellers. Let it harden.

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