How to Build Homemade Model Gliders

Updated April 17, 2017

Ready-to-fly glider kits became available in the early 1900s. The kits included plane pieces---made from balsa wood---allowing children to simply slide the wings and tail through the body and fly their toy plane. Over the years different styles of gliders were developed---including Boomerang planes with two sets of wings---and people began creating their own model gliders from home. Making wooden gliders at home allows you to experiment with different templates and materials to design a glider with a personal touch.

Download and print the "Build a Foam Glider" pattern from NASA's website. Alternatively, the Society of Women Engineers' website features two different glider patterns.

Cut out the pattern and tape the cutout pattern pieces on the styrofoam tray or sheet of balsa wood to hold in place while you work.

Cut out the glider pieces by using the knife to trace around the outside of the pattern. Follow the lines to cut out the two slots in the fuselage.

Slide the tail piece and the wings through the slots in the fuselage evenly. The body of the glider should sit directly in the middle of both the tail piece and the wings.

Add a paper clip to the nose of the glider. The extra weight helps the glider fly correctly.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Styrofoam tray or a sheet of balsa wood
  • Craft knife
  • Paper clip
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About the Author

Emily Retherford has been a full-time writer since 2009. She specializes in travel, parenting, fashion and beauty with work appearing on various online publications.