How to make helicopter rotor blades from wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Helicopter blades are the perfect tools for teaching children the basics of flight and propulsion. There are RC helicopters that use high intensity blades made for long term use, but these can be expensive and hard to find. The alternative is to craft your own helicopter blades from wood. This procedure will not craft a professional looking helicopter, but the wooden blades will allow you to create a rudimentary helicopter to teach children about aviation.

Visit a local hardware store and get the dowel and paint sticks. The paint sticks should be free if they sell buckets of paint. Since you need 10, you may need to pay a small charge. You can get everything you need at the hardware store.

Sand one half of the paint stick so that it has an angle down in a way that resembles half of a helicopter blade. The angle should be rounded for lower air resistance and not a hard angle. Sand the other half of the paint stick on the other side opposite of the original. It should look as if half of each side of the paint stick is angled downward.

Place the dowel in the centre of the paint stick and pencil around it, so you know how large of a hole to drill. Drill the hole and dab some wood glue into it and place the dowel in the hole. Let it dry for about an hour.

Place your hands around the dowel and move them in opposite directions, so the apparatus turns quickly. Let go of the dowel and it should fly upward if the airfoils were crafted correctly. If the helicopter flies downward, then turn your hands in the opposite direction next time.

Experiment with airfoil angles on the rotor blades using the remaining dowels and paint sticks. Sand the blade at different angles and see how it affects the flight of the homemade helicopter.


Make sure when you fly the helicopter that it is in an open area. Injury can occur if hit by the blades in a sensitive area such as the eye.

Things You'll Need

  • 10 paint stir sticks
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Wood glue
  • 10 1/4 Inch wooden dowel rod 7 1/2 inches long
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About the Author

Brock Cooper attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. He was a reporter for seven years with a daily in Illinois before branching out into marketing and media relations. He has experience in writing everything from press releases to features on a variety of subjects and forums. His work can be seen in NewsTribune newspaper, Chicago Parent magazine and several websites.