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Monday, October 4, 2010

Bi-plane tutorial with a free download pattern

Alright everyone, I finally have some time to get this tutorial up. Big shout out to Maria at Yay, I Made It! She's a great gal and someone I used to work with quite a bit when I worked at SEI. I did the Club SEI kit-of-the-month club and she is a graphic designer in the art department. This plane was originally one I did for a gallery project. She made the pattern all fancy shmancy for you all and you can click here to download the pattern.

For this project you will need:

*1 12"x12" sheet of double sided paper
*Fast stick/dry adhesive (I recommend either a hot glue gun or glue dots. double sided tape will not work for this project)
*small brad
*ink pad
*bone folder or paper clip

Here's the project. Aren't you excited!!

First start on the opposite side from what you want the main color to be and get the plane as close to the edge as possible leaving about 1/8" gap between the tail and the edge of the paper. Trace around pattern with PENCIL.

Now, flip the pattern over so that you have the body of the plane facing in two separate directions and trace around that.

This is what it should like like after you have both sides of the body traced.

Next, add tabs to the plane all the way around except for the tail. Start a little bit bigger around the nose of the plane and eventually get very small tabs (approx 1/16") to allow the plane to angle to a point at the tail. To save paper next do the two wings directly below the body. You don't need to worry about flipping the wing pattern over. It won't matter because it is the same all the way around.

Do the top and bottom of the plane on the side as close to the edges as possible.
Fill in blank spaces with the tail, wing supports, front window, propeller and side windows. Make sure the side windows are are facing opposite directions like the plane body. If you used the space wisely you should have approximately 3" of paper left over for future projects. :)

Score around the body of the plane on the lines to make it easier to fold in the tabs using either a paper clip or a bone folder.

Clip around the rounded edges of the plane body as you see below. You will need to clip these in order to make the curve bend correctly. You can clip the tabs all the way around if you would like. It is up to you.

Then fold in your tabs.

Once you have the tabs folded in, ink all the way around each piece of the plane. I will add a little something extra, I promise. I use black for most of the planes I do. (unless you decided to do a black plane)
First attach the top piece start at the nose and moving back to the tail. Bend the top piece slightly where the nose and windshield meet. Only put adhesive on the tabs as you go to avoid unwanted sticking. (i.e. add adhesive to all the nose tabs, stick the paper to that piece, then adhere glue to next section)

Once you have both the front and back attached, glue the tail pieces together and score the small tail pieces you are sticking to the tail. (For the sake of the project we'll call them tail wings for lack of a better term :D) Fold them inward and attach to each side of the tail.

Next, attach the propeller using the small brad you have. Important: attach the propeller before the bottom piece or it won't work. To make the hole for the brad use a needle or thumb tack. Do not use a writing utensil or a knife. the needle/thumb tack will make a cleaner hole. Make sure to bend the back part of the brad. This will make your propeller spin. (Isn't that fun?)

Next add the front and side windows. You'll notice these are inked on the side of the paper we drew the patterns on. The ink will help cover up any pencil markings you make have left on the paper (see. That's why I use black ink). Some trimming may have to occur depending on where the bend in your top piece is located. No biggie. Couple of little snips, maybe a re-inking and you are good to go.
Then attach the side windows.
And attach the bottom using the same glue-as-you-go technique from the top piece.
See how the tail wings are on the plane? I inked both sides of them just for looks.

Next, take your pen and roll the wing supports around them to make them rounded. Then add adhesive to hold the support in the cylindrical form.

Attach your wing to the bottom, add the wing supports on each side and add your top wing. Make sure to glue the supports to both the top and bottom wings.

And SHABLAM!!! You've got a cute little plane. Perfect for bedroom decorations or party favors for the favorite little guy in your life. They'll love it, especially since the propeller moves.

Enjoy! :)

I linked this post to the DIY Project Parade. Click on the button for oh so many GREAT ideas.

The DIY Show Off


  1. Yay! I am soooo excited for these. Your photos and instructions really help. I will post mine soon!

  2. I posted mine to my blog here. Thanks so much!