How to Make A Propeller Plane With a On and Off Switch

Did you know you can make a simple on and off switch from a index card, two brass fasteners and a paperclip? Then you can connect the switch to a circuit, like this one that powers a propeller plane. This plane doesn’t fly, but it’s fun to turn its propeller on and off any way. Start simple and then surprise yourself and others by inventing a completely new version of this fun toy, such as an actual miniature helicopter that can lift off when the switch is turned on. See the links below for more inspiration. See “Video” on Maker Kids ( for a demonstration of Propeller Plane making.

ScissorsHot Glue Gun

Wooden Hobby Plane KitMotorPropeller

Rubber Band

3 x 5 card

2 Brass Fasteners

Paper Clip


Alligator Clips

How To:

First, you build and paint the airplane. Kits with a paint brush, glue and paint are available from Michael’s arts and crafts or you can build your own from balsa or scrap wood.
While the paint is drying, make the switch.
Poke two holes in an index card, about three inches apart from each other.
Next, push a fastener’s legs through one hole of the index card and slip a paper clip over it before opening the legs up.
Then, push another fastener through the other hole and open its’ legs up.
When the paper clip is connected to both legs of the fasteners, the circuit is closed and the switch is on. When the paper clip is not connected to both legs of the fasteners, the circuit is open and the switch is off.
Next, you attach the motor to the front of the airplane with a rubber band and then attach one alligator clip to each prong of the motor.
Then attach the other ends of the alligator clips to each of the fasteners.
Now you will complete the circuit by attaching two alligator clips to each end of the battery from the on off switch.
Wrap a rubber band around the battery width and then attach one alligator clip from one fastener’s leg to the positive side of the battery by slipping it under the rubber band.
Then clip the second alligator clip to the negative side of the battery.
The propeller will spin when the switch is on and will stop when the switch is off. To make your plane even fancier, you can use conductive paint to add navigation lights to it.

Where to purchase plastic propellers:

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