Making Your Own Boomerangs

Boomerangs are a fun outdoor toy for many ages. It i fairly simple to make your own with some tools and a boomerang template. Different levels of boomerang designs are available for purchase, but a beginner design is strongly recommended if you have not previously owned or thrown a boomerang. While the process of carving out your boomerang is rather straightforward, it does require attention to detail, as well as practice. However, the hard work does pay off when you are able to achieve a well-crafted boomerang that flies and returns well.

What You Will Need:

  • Boomerang template
  • Aircraft birch plywood
  • Pencil
  • Spray lacquer
  • Paint
  • Drawing paper or poster board (optional)
  • Coping saw
  • Sanding block

Step 1 -- Plan Boomerang Shape

Many boomerang templates are available to download from various websites. Some have complex designs with three or more wings. For a beginning boomerang, it is best to choose one with two wings and a span of 12 to 14 inches from one tip to the other. Alternately, you can draw out this kind of boomerang shape onto a correctly sized piece of paper or poster board. This will later be traced onto the sheet of plywood.

Step 2 -- Select Birch Plywood

Boomerangs can be made out of various types of plywood, as long as it is 1/4 inches thick. Birch plywood is recommended because it is smooth, light, and strong, and therefore creates the best aerodynamics. If you would like to paint solid colors or designs on your boomerang, be sure to select plywood that is still unfinished and unsealed. The wood you choose for your boomerang should also have at least several plies, allowing for easy sanding of the airfoils.

Step 3 -- Cut out Boomerang

Once you have selected high quality birch plywood, transfer your boomerang shape onto the plywood sheet from your template. Use a pencil and draw lightly at first; it may take a few tries before both sides of the boomerang are completely symmetrical. After you have achieved an accurate tracing, carefully cut out your boomerang with your coping saw. It is a good idea to do this on a sturdy workbench where you can secure the plywood to the edge with clamps in order to prevent the plywood from accidentally slipping during sawing.

Step 4 -- Create Airfoils

For your boomerang to fly correctly you will need to carve out airfoils. These are specialized types of beveled edges that always face opposite directions on either side of the boomerang in order for it to spin with enough lift. The motion from airfoils on a boomerang is not unlike that of a gyroscope. A basic airfoil shape is included with ready-made boomerang templates. Use your sanding block to create airfoils, and face each airfoil's wider end closest to the hand you will be using to throw the boomerang.

Step 5 -- Paint and Finish

After you have created the airfoils, brush away all sanding dust from your boomerang. At this point, you can paint it with the designs and colors of your choice. Allow at least a few hours for the paint to dry, and then spray your boomerang with a coat of protective clear lacquer. Allow it to dry overnight.