How to make model airplane propellers from plastic cups

Written by harper jones | 13/05/2017
How to make model airplane propellers from plastic cups
Building model aeroplanes is a long-celebrated pastime. (model plane image by Julija Sapic from

Building model aeroplanes is a pastime enjoyed by young and old alike. There are many ways to construct model aeroplanes, including model aeroplane kits that come with prefabricated pieces that you must put together. However, some people enjoy making model aeroplanes from household items without any prefabricated parts or instructions for putting the aeroplane together. Aficionados who enjoy the challenge of putting together a model plane from scratch will be pleased to know that it is possible to build a propeller from plastic cups.

Cut the plastic cups in half, also cutting out the bottoms of the cup.

Use the measuring tape to mark a rectangle about 2 inches by 8 inches along the cup. Draw all lines at a 5 degree angle to make the propeller aerodynamically efficient. Repeat four times, on each side of the halved cup.

Straighten two paper clips. Bend a small loop in the middle of one straightened paper clip so it will resemble a lower-case "o" with two lines coming from the top of both sides. Bend a small hook at the end of the other paper clip so it resembles a lower-case "o" with one long line coming from the bottom. Hook the paper clips together and secure with glue.

Attach the plastic propeller halves to the paper clip shaft of your model aeroplane, securing them with tape. The paper clip with two straightened sides should have a propeller attached to both sides of the paper clip as well as both sides of the extension, which is why you cut out four propeller wings. The leftover straightened paper clip is to attach to the body of the aeroplane.

Shape the propeller wings more gracefully with a razor or scissors, rounding the edges of the 2-inch-by-8-inch rectangles.

Tape together the propeller wings that are attached to the same side of the paper clip extension so they form a single propeller.

Things you need

  • 2 large plastic cups
  • Small metal 3 3/4-inch paper clips
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Razor
  • Industrial-strength glue
  • Sharpie marker
  • Measuring tape

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