Maple Seed Paper "Plane"

Paper model that flies like a maple seed - it rotates while falling to the ground

Category: Science Time frame: ten minutes
Age: Where:
Level: easy What you need: everyday objects
Keywords: paper, plane, maple, rotate, rotation
Article written by Andreas

Our series on paper planes started with basic model: the Albatross . Now we continue with a more advanced and quite unusual model: the Maple Seed.

UPDATE: Added improved throwing technique + sticky tape hint


For this model you need a large piece of paper (about 60-90 cm diagonally, that's about 25-35 inches) with an aspect ratio of 1 : 1.41 (1 to the square root of 2 to be exact).

So suitable would be for example a DIN A2 sheet or one with 15.5 x 22 inches.Many news paper size work too.



Fold diagonally and open again. Then fold the long sides to the diagonal.


Fold in half at the existing diagonal fold.


Fold down the left triangle.


Fold the overlapping piece of paper to the back.


Fold the upper side to the back. Make sure the lower left end of the fold matches the diagram.


Fold the upper corner to the back.


Fold the left part to the upper right.


Fold down the upper part.


Wind the spike around the rest. Try to do clean, firm windings.


To fix it, push the tip of the spike into the most inner winding. 


Hold the model as shown and throw it so that it rotates as indicated by the arrow. Throw e.g. from a balcony. It should rotate quickly, but sink to the floor slowly.

Have fun! 


Hint:  If the maple seed folds up while thrown, try to fix it with a bit of sticky tape:



Images (c) Klaus-Peter Kostian
Used with kind permission