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DESIGNED BY Roger Storm, NASA Glenn Research Center


  • Clean foam meat tray, at least 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches and preferably white
  • 30 to 35 toothpicks
  • Low temperature glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Hobby  knife, razor utility knife, or single-edge razor blade (adult help here)
  • Cardboard or board to cut on
  • Fine tip permanent black marker
  • Ruler
  • Emery board
  • Manila folder
  • Plastic toy army soldiers (optional)


  • Download and print a copy of the pdf file "1900 template".
  • Use scissors to cut out all three templates on the heavy lines. (Do NOT cut the lower template in half yet.)
  • Do all hobby knife or razor blade cutting on the board or cardboard to protect your working surface.
  • The finished model is for display only; it is not meant to fly.


1. Carefully trace the wing and elevator shapes on the
inside of a meat tray as shown. Be sure the front edges of the wings go about 2/3 of the way up the curved sides of the tray. Check the bottom of the tray and avoid any logo found there. You may need two trays. Cut out the wings and elevator with the hobby knife or scissors. Use the emery board to smooth the cut edges and sand off the pen lines.

Templates are laid on the inside of the meat tray and marked.

2. Using a black marker and templates, mark the locations of the rib lines on both sides of each wing and the elevator. Make two sets of marks, one on each edge. Connect the marks to make the rib lines. Use a permanent ultra fine black marker and a straight edge made from a manila folder (so the end can be bent to conform to the rounded shape of the foam).

Rib lines are marked  on teh winds and elevator.

3.Now cut out the center of the lower wing only as shown by the dotted lines on that template. Cut a toothpick in half and sharpen the cut ends. Dip the ends in glue and stick them in the cut edges to join the lower wing halves, leaving a 1.5 cm. gap.
(If the foam is thin, glue the toothpicks to the underside of the wing instead.)

Lower wing halves are joined with toothpicks

4. Make 12 spars by cutting toothpicks to a 5 cm. length and then sharpening the cut ends.

Pieces of toothpick are cut to a 5 centimeter length and the cut end is sharpened.

5. Use the wing template and a sharp toothpick to mark the holes for the spars on the top surface of the lower wing (the front edge should curve down) and bottom surface of the upper wing. In this picture the upper wing in the back is upside down.

The wing template is placed on the  wing and a hole is poked  for the placement of the spars.

6. Dip toothpicks in glue and insert them in the spar holes now marked in the lower wing. Try not to push them all the way through the wing. Be sure they are standing up as straight as possible.

Spars are glued into the lower wing.

7. Now, with both the upper and lower wings upside down (the edges should be curving up at this point), insert the back row of spars into the underside of the top wing. Use the marked holes as a general guide, but keep the spars straight and evenly spaced. Put a little glue on each to keep them in place as shown in the picture. Now join the front spars to the top wing, remembering to keep them straight and fasten them with dabs of glue.  This takes some effort to get everything in the right place and is easier to do with two people.

Hot glue is added to the tops of the rear spars where they join the upper wing.

8. Stick two toothpicks in edge of the end of the elevator and add a dab of glue to hold them in place.
(If the foam is thin, glue these to the underside of the elevator instead.)

Two toothpicks are placed into the end of the elevator.

9. Turn the glider over and glue the elevator assembly on either side of the opening in the lower wing as shown. The elevator should extend out from the curved edge of the wing so it is in the front of the craft.

Elevator is glued on bottom of lower wing.

10. Turn the glider back over and insert a toothpick in the center of the left rib line as shown and add a bit of glue. Then insert the other end of the toothpick into the front edge of the upper wing and glue. Add another toothpick in the same way to the right rib line.
(If the foam is thin, glue these to the underside of the upper wing instead.)

Two toothpicks are glued from either side of he elevator to the front of the upper wing.

11. (Optional) Cut enough 1.5 cm. pieces off of toothpicks to stick into the back edge of each wing on the lines to simulate the ribs.

Short toothpick pieces are glued into rear edge of wings.

10. For display the kite can be hung on a thread and strings could be added to be held by a kneeling plastic toy soldier. ADULTS: A hobby knife was used to trim away the guns and helmets. Using the knife and glue gun, the arms and legs can be cut and swapped or repositioned. Five-minute epoxy works better.Kite model displayed with two strings to a kneeling army man.

Finished model


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Mon, May 10 02:09:26 PM EDT 2021

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