wikiHow to Make a Parachute With a Plastic Bag and a Straw

This cute little parachute is ideal for playing with, or it can be used as a decoration (perhaps a jellyfish), or even used as a sunshade. An ideal craft or science project for the classroom or home, this parachute is easy to make and fun to use; just follow the simple instructions outlined here.


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    Cut a flexible straw into 8 equal parts lengthwise, as shown in the image.
    • Only cut down to the concertina flex part of the straw and not beyond.
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    Fold over the the other end of the straw (the uncut portion) slightly and hold in place with pliers. Seal this end together using a flame:
    • Hold the end in place with the pliers.
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    • With care, use the naked flame to heat seal together.
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    Stick double-sided tape on each of 8 cut ends of the straw.
    • Bend over the end, with the double-sided tape intact.
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    Find a plastic bag and smooth it out to remove wrinkles.
    • Cut off the handles and the base, as shown in the image.
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    • Cut out a rough square shape as shown in the image. The square should measure about 35 centimeter (13.8 in) x 35 centimeter (13.8 in) / 13.7" x 13.7".
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    • Fold like origami. Fold in half, then a quarter, then an eighth, and then a sixteenth (1/2>1/4>1/8>1/16).
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    • Once folded, cut the folded piece a length of 15 centimeter (5.9 in) / 5.9" radius. Cut off this excess, so it'll form an isosceles triangle.
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    • Unfold the circle. You'll see that the fold lines remain clearly, indicating suitable positioning of the parachute strings to ensure even balance.
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    Attach each of the eight cut straw pieces with double-sided tape. Stick the sticky side alongside one fold line.
    • Continue working your way around the entire parachute using even positioning, as shown in the image. It's helpful to click and enlarge this image to follow it more easily.
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    • The appearance at this stage.
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    Weight and stopper the open portion of the straw. Where the cut lengths of the parachute meet the concertina flex of the straw, there remains an open hole. In order to weight the parachute for smooth floating, you'll need to fill this with some small beads.
    • Carefully funnel the small beads into the hole.
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    • Seal the beads in by corking it with tissue pieces. Make sure it is firm so that the beads don't come tumbling out.
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    Decorate the parachute if wished. While this step isn't necessary, it's also fun and it personalizes the parachute. A great activity for kids during the holidays or on rainy weekends!
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    Play with your newly made parachute. Throw it into the air on an angle. It should go up like an umbrella. Release and watch it drop.


  • If you make several, children can have races to see whose parachute touches the ground first. This could also make a great science experiment, to have the kids adjust the weighting to see if that makes a difference to speed, angle, and height of floating.
  • If the straw with a four line:
  • Adjust the weight by the amount of the beads you put in. You might need to experiment with this to see what works best.
  • This is a good way to recycle plastic bags which can easily pollute the environment if simply thrown away.
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    Cut open up on the line. Double-sided tape on the inside. Cut into 8 with respect to the line.


  • Dispose of properly when it is no longer needed. Plastic pollution harms forests and the sea.
  • Do not drop your parachute onto people. Avoid throwing into a public place without permission.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bag (loose and flexible / 35cm x 35cm / 13.7" x 13.7" per square); be careful if using a biodegradable plastic bag as it won't last long and will disintegrate in the sunlight - it will only be a temporary toy or decoration
  • Plastic straw (Flex type / 21cm / 8.26")
  • Grass beads (small size) for "weight"
  • Double-sided tape (5mm /0.19" wide)
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Lighter (flame)
  • Oily marker (optional), for decorating

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