Several folding methods exist to make a paper airplane for a child's classroom experiment or just for fun, but the popular dart design involves a single sheet of 8.5-by-11-inch copy paper. This is the basic form of a paper airplane, but more complicated models can be found online or in instruction books.
To make a basic paper airplane, start by folding the paper in half lengthwise to provide an even crease for reference. Unfold the paper, then fold the top corners down so they align with the center crease. Fold the loose corners back toward the outside so the tip touches the edge. Next, fold the outer edges so they again match the crease. By this point, the result should look like a thin, elongated pentagon.
Fold the plane in half down the center. Fold the top edge of the wing down to align with the crease, which now represents the base of the plane. Do the same with the other side. Finally, give the wings a small bend upward to counteract the weight of the nose.
Before making any adjustments to the plane, give it a gentle test flight to see how it performs. The idea is for the plane to make a straight line and gradually curve to the ground. To do this, there needs to be equal weight distribution on both sides.