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.
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:
DIY PROJECT: KITE-MAKING USING RECYCLED 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
- Masking Tape
- Popsicle Stick
- 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
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 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
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.
8. Use another toothpick to poke a hole through the tape below the toothpick.
9. Snap ends off toothpick that are not wrapped in tape.
10. Stick one tab on the front of the sail at one end of the spar. Secure with more tape if necessary.
11. Repeat to create second tab and stick on other end of spar.
Create the Horizontal Bowstring
12. Cut a piece of string about 5″ longer than the length of your spar.
13. Tie one end through the tape tab.
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
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.
19. Cut a string about 5” longer than your spine.
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.
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
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).
23. Attach loop onto bridle string by placing bridle on top of loop and then pulling ends of loop through itself.
24. Cut at least 30 feet or more of string and wind onto hobby stick.
25. Attach fly line to bridle loop with 2 overhand knots.
Create and Attach the 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.
27. Tape end of strips to end of kite.
Whew! You’re done! Now go fly a kite.
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.