Aug 312009

As promised, here are the step-by-step instructions with detailed photos on to make your very own kite using materials from around the house.

If you’re visiting via a CBC shoutout on Ottawa Morning, c/o of Amrita Singh’s Frugalista series, or via a Radio-Canada mention on Divine Tentations c/o Mélissa Proulx, then welcome to the blog!

A little context for those of you visiting for the first time: Kite-making was the project of the month for the August installment of Spins & Needles in Toronto, and was a featured workshop at the Ottawa Folk Festival this month. Click here to find out more about Spins & Needles, a creative night out based in Ottawa.

You can also check out the full picture set on the blog Flickr page.

So here we go:


1 - Kite Making Materials


  • Thin wood dowel x 2 pieces (I got a 1/4″ long thin dowel at Home Depot and broke it in half)
    –> alternatives include barbecue skewers or any slightly bendable wood
  • Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • String
  • Popsicle Stick
  • Ruler
  • Plastic bag (I used a colourful plastic bag from a local toy store hanging around the house)
    –> alternatives include a garbarge bag or newspaper or shower vinyl on which you can decorate with paint or permanent marker

2 - Make and Tape the Frame

Create Your Frame

1. Take one of your wood dowels and place it across your second dowel. Place it slightly higher the the mid-point (so that the diamond shape will be more top heavy).

2. Use tape to secure the two dowels. The vertical dowel is your spine and the horizontal dowel is your spar.

Cut Out Your Sail and Attach the Frame

3 - Cut Out Your Sail and Attach Frame

3. Cut your plastic bag first down the sides.

4. Place your frame on top of your bag and cut from the point of the spine to the spar to create your diamond sail. Trim as necessary. Make sure the sides are not too jagged. After the diamond sail has been cut out, flip the sail to the back side.

5. Turn your sail over so that the wrong side faces you. Tape each end of the to the sail dowel using 2” pieces of masking tape: lay 1” on the front side of your sail, then wrap remaining 1” tape over tip of stick and onto opposite side of the sail. Do this for each dowel.

(Tip: when you first cut your bag, don’t cut across the bottom part of your bag so you can maximize the length of the bag and to ensure it will fit your kite frame. Plus if you have enough left over you can use it for the tail or make another kite.)

Prepare 2 Bowstring Tape Mounting Tabs

5a - Make a Double-Taped Tab

6. Cut one 4” piece of masking tape. Place toothpick about 1″ down from top on sticky side.

7. Wrap the 1” over the toothpick to create a doubled tab. There should be a remaining 1-2″ of single-layered tape.

5b - Poke a Hole Through the Tab

8. Use another toothpick to poke a hole through the tape below the toothpick.

5c - Snap Excess Toothpick Wood Off

9. Snap ends off toothpick that are not wrapped in tape.

5d - Adhere Sticky Part of Tab to Kite

10. Stick one tab on the front of the sail at one end of the spar. Secure with more tape if necessary.

5e- Create Second Tab for Other End

11. Repeat to create second tab and stick on other end of spar.

Create the Horizontal Bowstring

6a - Cut a Piece of String for Bow

12. Cut a piece of string about 5″ longer than the length of your spar.

6b - Tie End of String to Tab

13. Tie one end through the tape tab.

6c - Bend Spine and Tie End of String to Other Kite End

14. Pull carefully across sail to create a slight curve and tie it securely to opposite tape tab. When bowed properly, distance should be approximately 2-3″ from center of string to point where sticks cross. If your stick cracks or breaks as you start to bend it, some masking tape wrapped around the sticks should help put it back together.

15. Cut any excess string.

Create Vertical Bridle String

7a - Poke Two Holes at Either End

16. Turn your kite on to its front. Find the mid-point between the top of the kite and where the dowels cross.

17. Using a toothpick, poke two holes on either side of the spine.

18. Then poke two holes 3-4” up from the bottom of your kite.

7b - Cut Piece of String for Bridle

19. Cut a string about 5” longer than your spine.

7c - Pull String Through Other Hole and Tie Knot

20. Tie one end of the string through the two holes (doesn’t matter which hole it is) at top of kite. Make sure the string comes back up through the front of the kite AND that the string goes over the spine when it is pulled through the second hole.

7d - Pull String Across Front of Kite and Tie

21. Pull string across front of kite. Tie other end of string through two holes at other end of kite. Again, make sure the string comes back up through the front of the kite AND that the string goes over the spine when it is pulled through the second hole.

The bridle you have just created will not be taut but loose (this will allow your kite to be more flexible in the wind).

Attach Fly Line to Kite

8a - Tie Ends of Doubled String to Create Loop

22. Create a bridle loop: Cut a piece of string about 8” long. Fold it in half and tie a knot to create a loop (overhand knot).

8b - Thread Loop Onto Bridle

23. Attach loop onto bridle string by placing bridle on top of loop and then pulling ends of loop through itself.

9a - Wind 30 ft of String Around Popsicle Stick

24. Cut at least 30 feet or more of string and wind onto hobby stick.

9b - Attach Popsicle Stick String Through Bridle Loop

25. Attach fly line to bridle loop with 2 overhand knots.

Create and Attach the Tail

10a - Cut Excess Material for Tail

26. Cut out strips of the remaining part of your plastic bag.
–> alternative: If there’s not enough, use another plastic bag or tie ribbons around string for a bowed tail.

10b - Attach Tail to Bottom of Kite

27. Tape end of strips to end of kite.

Front View
Front View

Whew! You’re done! Now go fly a kite.

Back View

Hope you find this project as much fun as I did – I have become a kite convert!

The video that inspired me was this one on Activity TV. You’ll find lots of other kite ideas on that site.

 Posted by on August 31, 2009 Craft, Craft DIY, DIY Tutorials, Making Stuff  Add comments

  One Response to “DIY: Kite-Making Using Recycled Materials”

  1. [...] winter to write up a tutorial on how to make your own DIY kite for the spring issue (based on this blog post),  it was an immediate yes of course!  BUST is such a great magazine, and was one of the very [...]

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