Little Paper Planes

Designers revamp the standard classroom DIY toy


Having founded the online artist’s community Little Paper Planes in 2004, Kelly Lynn Jones decided to share their ideas with readers in her new book of the same name. Little Paper Planes revisits the traditional DIY toy with 20 takes on the classic form, complete with perforated pages for folding, taping and flying. Each paper airplane comes from a different graphic artist, with designs ranging from old standbys to experimental models. Along with each artist’s background and their thoughts on childhood is a clear set of instructions, list of supplies and pattern needed to create their version of the paper airplane.


“Paper planes were something that bridged the gap between this make-believe world and reality,” writes Jones, musing about their role in her childhood imagination. “They were real, tangible objects but represented the possibility that what I imagined could really come to be.” In creating a book around the act of making and creativity—something so ingrained in youth—Jones felt a deep sense of nostalgia, while being confronted with the what she calls “notions around authorship and collaboration between artist and reader.”


The artists included in the book are all veterans of the LPP site, combining their efforts to produce this playtime edition. Besides more straightforward approaches from Alyson Fox‘s bright lined patterns to form into a flying airplane, a floating swan or “whatever you like”, and Brendan Monroe‘s Light Speed Flyer (“designed for speed”), some artists, such as Alexis Anne Mackenzie, venture outside the realm of linear flight. Her instructions read: “Shred the page into as many tiny pieces as you can, using only your fingers, and fling them into the air.” Christine Tillman gives us the schematics for a beautifully illustrated wad of paper—which, when thrown correctly, flies just as well as a paper airplane. Gemma Correll demonstrates a method to outfit a favorite pet with wings, including instructions to extend the length of paper for “plumper” animals.


Little Paper Planes drops in May 2012 and is available now for pre-order from Chronicle Books and Amazon.