How to make a kite

Kites: learn how to make handmade kites for less than five dollars | Photo: Elvert Barnes/Creative Commons

Kites are cool. Let's learn how to make our own handmade paper or plastic bag kite. Our easy-to-build kite models will cost you under five dollars.

The first kites were developed in China, near 500 BC. Their sails were made of silk fabric, and the framework was built with bamboo. The lines were then added using silk, too. Simple, yet effective.

Back in the day, Chinese kites were used to measure distances, signaling, checking wind conditions, and communicating with others in military situations. The kite mania then spread to the whole Asian continent before flying over the Western world.

Kites are still very popular in the Far East. China and India hold the largest kite festivals on the planet. These outdoor exhibitions showcase kites reaching 1500 square meters and 200 kilograms.

Kites can have multiple designs (bermuda, bowed, delta, foil, leading edge inflatable), and a wide variety of purposes and environments(fight, indoor, man-lifting, water). Materials used to produce modern kites include cotton, dacron, hemp, kevlar, manja, nylon, polyester, silk and other substances.

It's quite easy to build a custom-made kite. We'll learn how to make two flying kites with two different core components: paper/cloth and plastic. And it will only take 10 minutes. Shall we start with the classic diamond paper kite? Alright. You'll need:

1. A sheet of carton, a table cloth, or a simple fabric;
2. Two bamboo or balsa sticks;
3. A long string;
4. Scissors;
5. A stapler, tape or glue;

Make a kite: you'll need a carton, bamboo sticks, a stapler, and string | Photo: SurferToday

Here's how you make the diamond kite:

1. Cut the four corners off until your carton, cloth or fabric gets a diamond shape;
2. Cross the sticks, and tie them diagonally;
3. Glue, staple or tape the sticks to the carton, cloth or fabric;
4. Tie a loose string to both sides of the horizontal stick;
5. Tie the main control kite line to the structural string;
6. Add colored strips to the end of the kite;
7. Fly your kite in light to medium winds;

Alternatively, and in under 60 seconds, you can "design" the ultimate supermarket plastic bag kite. All you need is a polyethylene trash bag and a long string. Here's how it's done:

1. Tie the bag's handles together with a small string;
2. Attach a long string to center of the small string;
3. Fly your kite in light to medium winds;

Learn how a kite flies.

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