Our open house event at Makers Siem Reap the last weekends, Kids made a paper glider. Paper craft is not just an activity for kids at school, but a serious art. Here is the summary of the class.

Kids with their gliders ready for test flight
Kids with their gliders ready for test flight

All the necessary tools were provided, including the printed design of the glider. In the class, the kids cut all the parts with scissors and an art knife. They had to think carefully, and choose the right tool to cut. Cutting papers is not simple nor easy as it seems. You have to cut exactly the centre of lines, which is an important skill when you build a paper craft for display. For longer curves, use scissors. For smaller parts, or straight lines, use a knife. Rotate papers as necessary. These small steps eventually make it possible to build more complicated ones.

Kids looking at the glider design
Kids are ready to tackle the challenge

It took more than an hour (again). It was fun to see the kids talked less as they proceeded the build process. They slowly focused on their project. Engineers call this “flow state”. Joel Spolsky explains what would happen when engineers are in a state of flow, often referred as “being in the zone”:

Joel on flow
They lose track of time and produce great stuff through absolute concentration. This is when they get all of their productive work done.

When you work on a big, complicated paper model, you need a state like this and the total silence. In my opinion, paper craft is one of the best way to develop patience.

Yasuaki Ninomiya, a demigod of paper glider

Ninomiya, a Japanese professional engineer, has been designing more then 2,600 paper gliders for a long time. He is the winner of the first international paper aircraft competition in 1967. His series of books, “Paper gliders that fly really well” are my bibles. The book contains several his designs that you can cut out from the book so that you don’t have to print. He had published a design every month on a science magazine for 49 years.

The glider the kids made in the class is one of his well-known designs. You can find it at Canon Creative Park: Racer538 (Yellow).


“Origami” is a Japanese art, well known by many. Many of readers might have known paper animals or flowers, built from a piece of paper. They are often taught at preschools and primary schools. However, there are serious engineers who apply the same technique to the real world problems. The video below, “Engineering with Origami”, explains modern applications with Origami.

Note that the Origamis in the video are mathematically designed, not the result of random trials and errors. Another reason why you need to learn mathematics.

If you are interested in Origami, the sprucecrafts has an article for you: 10 Simple Origami Projects for Beginners.

Paper models

A paper model is a paper craft that replicates a real object, such as animals, vehicles, or insects. My favorite is aircraft.

Airbus A300-600ST, known as “Beluga”, is a variant of A300 wide-body airliner, designed to carry aircraft parts. The following video shows how to build a paper model of it. While watching the video, imagine:

  • how the author designed 2D parts from 3D model
  • how much effort were made to cut the small parts
  • how long it took to put everything together
  • how the author made the video

Canon Creative Park has a dedicated category for aircraft paper models, which includes one of the most beautiful passenger aircrafts in the world, Airbus A340.

It is not trivial at all to design airplanes. But for simple designs, you can design your own with a bit of learning and patience thanks to blender and a blender plugin, Export-Paper-Model-from-Blender. See a wolf head, which a dad made for his kid.

Final words

From the experiences in the classes, I came to a conclusion that a class should be a two-hours session with a short break. The class should be sufficiently challenging. It is possible to teach something within an hour, but I will leave it to teachers at schools.

We have paper craft airplanes in stock. Some are just for display, and others actually fly. We can help your project and teach you techniques in paper crafts when you need. If you are interested, contact us on Telegram.