How to Make a Kite

Creating a kite is a fun way to connect with the environment!

You might be wondering, "but wait - what does kite flying have to do with poetry or learning about the environment?"

In addition to providing a fun and engaging way to experience the outdoors, we think that kite flying is an effective way to connect to the part of ourselves and the universe from which poetry and art flow. Many cultures have valued kite flying as a kind of meditation and a celebration of beauty, grace, nature, and art. “Catching the wind” has fascinated humans throughout history and led to many artistic and scientific achievements, not to mention hours of sheer delight and contentment. Check out the sections below for more information about all the ways humans have used kites as tools or entertainment to interact with the environment - including as the objects of science experiments and even methods of espionage!

Materials:

  • Twine
  • Glue or tape
  • A sheet of strong paper, such as construction paper or art paper
  • 1 stick (bamboo, skewers, dowel rods) 90 cm in length
  • 1 stick (bamboo, skewers, dowel rods) 102 cm in length
  • Scissors or an x-acto knife (be careful!)
  • Optional: supplies to decorate your kite! Markers, crayons, colored pencils, glitter glue, etc
  • Optional: Ribbon to make the kite tail

Steps (photos to come):

  1. Make a cross with your two sticks; place your shorter stick horizontally across your longer stick. Be careful that both sides of the shorter stick are equal in length - the shorter stick is called your “cross-piece.”
  2. Tie those two sticks together with your string or twine. Make sure the sticks stay at right angles to each other. When you are done, a dab of glue will help ensure the joint you’ve just made stays strong. Congratulations: you’ve just made a kite frame!
  3. Cut a notch at each end of both sticks - make sure it’s deep enough for the type of string you’re using to fit into. Cut a piece of string long enough to stretch around the whole perimeter of your kite frame. Make a loop in the top notch and fasten it by wrapping the string around the stick. Stretch the string through the notch at one end of the cross-piece, and make another loop at the bottom. Stretch the string through the notch at the other end of the cross-piece. Finish by wrapping the string a few times around the top of the stick and cutting off what you don’t need. The string frame needs to be taut, but not so tight that it warps the sticks.
  4. Lay your sail material flat, and place the stick frame down on top of it. Cut around the stick frame, leaving about 2 or 3 cm for a margin. Fold those edges over the string frame; then, tape or glue the sail margins down so that the material is tight.
  5. Cut a piece of string about 122 cm long, and tie one end to the loop at the other end of the string to the loop at the bottom. Tie another small loop in the string just above the intersection of the two cross pieces. This is the kite’s bridle - the string that attaches to the flying line.
  6. Make a tail by tying a small ribbon roughly every 10 cm along the length of string. Attach the tail to the loop at the bottom of the kite
  7. Cut a flying line about 10 meters in length. Attach it to the kite using a square knot.
  8. Decorate!

Artwork: "Feel Freedom, Feel Free!", Fahim Hashimi, age 17. Quetta, Pakistan. Mosawir Art Academy. Teacher: Nawroz Ali Mosawir. 2013 River of Words