Keep the kids occupied these school holidays with this wooden aeroplane project.
Keep the kids occupied these school holidays with this wooden aeroplane project. Photo Contributed

Ready for take off: a DIY toy plane for the kids

WE have just clocked 4882km in five days.

We made the incredible journey from the Gold Coast to Perth by road and what an experience it's been: from the Dubbo Zoo, the 45 degree heat in Broken Hill, the Nullarbor to the amazing beaches at Esperance.

The kids loved it. We saw emus, kangaroos, wild goats and about a million hectares of farmland. We live in the most amazing country.

I gave this plane to Thomas a couple of days before Christmas and he and Josie ended up tying a piece of rope to the front and pulling each other through the Esperance holiday park.

But it would also look really cool hanging from the ceiling of a toy room or kids' bedroom. I was going to say how easy it was to make when Jess piped up and said, "you're a cabinetmaker, Ayden, it looks hard to me".

So give it a go and let us know how you went and if there is anything you would have done differently. These plans make a plane 700mm long by 600mm wide.

How to make a toy aeroplane

Step 1: Preparation

There is a lot of prep work in this one but it will make life easier in the end. With a drop saw or hand saw cut your pieces to length (see Materials).

Now using a set square and a pencil mark 90mm along the entire length of the two body pieces. Using a paint tin or spaghetti tin, trace a curved tail out. It should end up about 100mm in the centre. Now using a jigsaw cut along the lines to make your body shape (don't throw away the offcut, we are about to use it). Using a 20 cent piece and a pencil mark all the corners so they are curved and cut out with a jigsaw - this is now your bottom wing. You can do the same for the top wing and the tail flap. On the top wing mark a moon shape cut out in the middle - a paint tin will give you this curve. For the seat I just went freehand and drew a seat-like shape. The last piece to trace and jigsaw out is the propeller; be careful as the smallest pieces are the most dangerous. It's best to clamp it to a bench or cutting table.

Step 2: Tail join

The tail is going to slot on to the body so we need to cut out the slots. On the tail piece mark a line in the centre of the two ends. Now mark a line on either side of the centre line out 9.5mm and then another 19mm out from both of the 9.5mm lines. You now should have three 19mm spaces. Square a line 25mm in along the spacings using a set square. Now using a jigsaw cut out the two outside spaces.

Grab a body piece and using a tape measure, set square and pencil mark a line 100mm and 119mm down from the top of the tail and square a line 25mm in. Clamp two body pieces together and jig saw out the groove.

Step 3: Wing prep

Lay out the two wings flat. We are drilling for the dowel. Measure in 100mm on all ends and mark a line. Now on those lines mark the centre. Using a drill and 10mm drill bit, drill into the wings about 10mm.

TIP: You can use a bit of masking tape on the drill bit to mark 10mm. Next, mark the centre of the length on both wings using a set square and a pencil. Using your spacer blocks and 2.5mm drill bit, pre-drill into the wings and screw off using 60mm screws. You can also do the same procedure to then bottom of the seat.

Step 4: Assembling

Finally, it's time to throw it all together. Start by slotting the tail into the body. Put a small amount of glue in this join also. Now screw a 50mm block under the tail into the tail flap and also use a small amount of glue. Then glue the seat in about 200mm from the tail end. The wings are next. Put a drop of glue in the dowel holes and slot in the dowels so the wings are fully assembled. Carefully slide the wing assembly from the nose down about 200mm. Now slot in the nose block using glue. Using G-clamps, clamp the whole thing up overnight.

Time to attach the castors and propeller. Remove all the clamps and using 8x5/8, 6's screws, screw the fixed castors to the bottom of the wings. The back free castor will hold both the body pieces together at the back. Now using a 4.5mm drill bit and a drill, drill a hole straight though the middle of the propeller. Attach the propeller to the nose block using a 60mm long shank screw. Just tighten it until it is firm so the prop can spin.


Finger jointed pine:

  • Body - 2 @ 650m x 190m x 19m lengths.
  • Wings (one is offcuts from body) - 1 @ 600mm x 90mm x19mm, 1 @ 600mm x 135mm x19mm.
  • Seat - 1 @ 135mm x 150mm x19mm.
  • Tail - 1 @ 220mm x 90mm x19mm.
  • Prop 1 @170mm x 20mm x 19mm.
  • Blocks 5 @ 50mm x 30mm x 19mm.
  • 2 x fixed 50mm castors
  • 1 x 40mm free castor.


  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Set square
  • Jig saw
  • Drop saw
  • Drill
  • 4mm drill bit
  • 10mm drill bit
  • Wood glue.

Ayden and Jess Hogan were on The Block Triple Threat and won Reno Rumble this year. Follow them as they build their dream home on Facebook:

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