Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

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I recently delved into the world of flat diapers for the very first time. If you aren’t familiar with a flat diaper, these are your grandma’s diapers. Not to say that flat diapers aren’t amazing, because they are, but that using flats is a very traditional way of cloth diapering your baby. A flat diaper typically consists of a large single layer of cotton cut into a square. Some flats are more perfectly square than others, and some flats are made of materials other than cotton. In order to turn that single layer into a functional and absorbent diaper, it needs to be folded! And that, my friends, is where flats get a bad rap. For some reason, the thought of folding a seemingly humungous piece of material into something small enough to fit on a baby seems incredibly daunting. At least, it was to me! I haven’t really delved much into origami since I was in middle school. The thought of intricately folding a square into something other than a rectangle was giving me cold sweats. Okay, not really, but I was overwhelmed. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be much of a cloth diapering blogger if I didn’t try new-to-me diaper styles, so when I had the chance to review a Geffen Baby Fladdle flat diaper a while back, I jumped in with both feet. I learned a few things from that experience. First, it’s okay for a flat fold to be messy. Second, I actually love flat diapers. Yeah, you read that right. I love flat diapers. If you haven’t tried flats, I think you should! You don’t need a ton to get started (I literally only have one), and once you start learning to fold them it’s really easy to do. Rather than inundate you with a whole bunch of flat folds all at once, I’m going to introduce some different flat folds one at a time. Today the fold I’m covering is called the airplane fold. 

What is the airplane fold? The airplane fold is a flat diaper fold that is really great for heavy wetting boys. This fold puts the most layers right up front which is exactly where you want it when you have a boy. The flat diaper that I’m using for this is the Geffen Baby Fladdle.

As always, you want to start out with your flat diaper completely open in a square. That’s step one! From there you’re going to start folding. The first thing you want to do with the airplane fold is fold up about 4-5″ from the bottom of the flat. The bottom would be whatever side you’re sitting/standing at when you’re folding.

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

Then you’re going to fold the bottom left corner in to the centre, just like you would if you were folding a paper airplane. Then fold the bottom right corner in to the centre so it meets up with the left side that you just folded in. What you’ll be left with is a corner at the bottom pointing towards you.

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

From there, you’re going to fold that corner/point up. How high you fold it up is what will determine the rise of the diaper. When I was doing up these folds, Petit Prince was just over 7 months old, so I was folding the point right up to the seam there. You will likely need to experiment with how high to fold the point for your baby.

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

Next, you’re going to take that lower left angled edge and bring that edge to the middle of the diaper. I ended up crossing over the centre a little bit because I was trying to create a bit of a narrower fit for a 7 month old. If you are doing the airplane fold for an older baby, you’ll want to stop right at centre.

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

Then you’ll bring the angled edge on the right up to the centre (crossing over centre if you’re folding this for a smaller baby or stopping right at centre for a larger baby).

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

What you’ll have now are two little corners hanging up over the top part of your flat diaper. Fold both of those down and into the diaper (just go ahead and tuck them in).

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

Now the diaper is ready for baby! If you’re not about to do a diaper change, you’ll just fold the bottom up so the bottom edge meets the top edge, then fold each of the sides in (those are your diaper wings).

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

With the airplane fold you end up with TWELVE layers of absorbency up front.

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

And that’s the airplane fold! An excellent choice for boys, and a relatively easy fold to master! If you’d like to use this one overnight, you can fold a booster right into the middle. You can place the booster in the centre of the flat diaper right before step five (where you fold up the angled edges).

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

Have you tried flats before? What’s your favourite flat fold? Which fold should I feature next?

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20 Comments on “Folding Flat Diapers: The Airplane Fold

  1. Thank you for posting this! I only know the pad fold, but this looks super easy and way more effective!!

  2. I remember using flat diapers on my little sister, but I don’t remember the fold. Ah, the memories of that sweet little munchkin come flooding back…

  3. thanks for sharing! I’ve neve used flat diapers before and I really had no idea how to fold them! I’m going to have to give this a try!

  4. When I cloth diapered my kids way back when, flats were my favourite of the very limited options at the time. So glad to see that they are still a favourite for many people. Wish that I had the internet then for folding tips! Some of my trial and error was pretty scary looking! I’m hoping to convince my daughter to add some to her cloth diaper stash.

  5. Thanks for this simple tutorial! Flats seem very intimidating, but this makes it look easy!

  6. Holy cow, that looked complicated! But I’m sure it’s one of those things that become second nature the more you do it.

  7. If I had to start cloth diapers all over, I think I’d strictly use flats…..just so perfect!

  8. There’s something soothing I find with folding flats. Thank you for this – I usually do an origami good but I’ll try this one next

  9. Wow that fold looks great when it’s done, but holy cow that’s a lot of steps. I was starting to like the idea of pre folds after diapering my two girls for almost 4 years with exclusively fitters and all in ones, but hike I don’t think I’m up for this challenge.
    Thanks for showing us though!!

  10. I was intimidated by Flats with my first. Now they are my favorite diaper to use.

  11. Oh wow! I cant wait to try this with my new flats! 12 layers? I could sing!

  12. That fold is so interesting and reminds me of my kid days playing folded airplanes

  13. Thank you for the diaper fold tutorial, I hope you do more. I’m expecting a new surprise baby and we are more strapped for cash than usual. I cloth diapered my last child eight years ago, so I have no stash. I’m thinking I’ll need to use the cheapest options available this time around.

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