Go fly a kite! No, I don’t find you annoying and I certainly don’t want you to take a hike. But if you’re at the end of your rope trying to control the purse strings, then perhaps it’s time to reach for the sky and get high as a kite!
This past weekend I rediscovered the fine art of frugal kite flying. A friend of mine had the brilliant idea to launch a Kite Flying Party to celebrate nothing in particular, except recycled materials and wind. I must admit that getting together with a group of friends to stare into the clouds was the most fun I’ve ever had with a recycled garbage bag and a spool of fishing wire.
I am so inspired with kites given the cost (free) and endless fun involved, that I’ve decided to share one of Carl’s winning kite designs with you. It’s not the prettiest kite in the sky, but it flew the highest and longest for the least amount of money. At the party everyone wanted to know how to make a kite like Carl. So here’s how to build a kite using a printable kite pattern. This is an easy and super fun project for both adults and kids.
Materials You’ll Need:
- 2 wooden dowels, 90cm (35″) and 120cm (47″) long. The longer dowel is the spine of the kite, the shorter dowel the crosspiece.
- Plastic sheeting or recycled garbage bags
- Strong tape, such as packing tape or electrical tape
- Kite string or fishing line
Tools You’ll Need:
- Tape measure
DIY Instructions: How To Make A Kite
This Do-it-Yourself project takes about an hour to complete. Having enough wind to make your aircraft fly is totally up to you! Feel free to get creative by decorating your kite in a unique way using paints, markers, or stickers.
1. Download the printable kite pattern and get your kite building materials together. Having a friendly big-eared dog watch you is entirely optional.
2. Measure and locate the middle point on the crosspiece, mark with a pencil. Place the middle point of the crosspiece at right angles on the spine, about 30cm (12″) from one end.
3. Fasten the two dowels together using twine and tape. It is important that they remain at right angles to each other, and the mid point of the crosspiece is directly on the spine.
4. Run twine from one end of the crosspiece, to the top end of the spine, to the other end of the spine. Fasten at each end using tape. This will help keep the dowels properly at right angles to each other. Lay the frame flat, with the crosspiece facing up.
5. Cover the frame with plastic material. Use tape to secure to the dowels and the twine, with extra reinforcement at the ends.
6. Punch two small holes along the spine for the bridle. It’s a good idea to reinforce these holes with tape.
7. To make the bridle, feed a length of twine through the hole at the top and tie it to the spine. Do the same with the other end of the twine at the other hole. The bridle should be long enough so when you pick up the kite by it, it’s at least 20cm (8″) from the kite’s surface.
8. Attach the kite string to the bridle. By choosing where you attach the string, you control the angle at which the kite flies. This will require some experimenting to find the best spot, but start at a point near the top of the kite.
9. Attach a length of twine (about 120cm/4′) to the bottom end of the spine as a tail. Tie ribbons of left-over plastic at regular intervals to it.
10. Find some wind, and GO FLY A KITE!
Troubleshooting: Ways to Fix Your Kite
If you’re having problems getting your kite off the ground or it’s spinning out of control, then try some of this kite-fixit-ideas!
1. Problem: Failure To Launch
If your kite won’t lift off well and flies fairly flat and limply, try moving the point where the kite string attaches to the bridle a bit towards the tail of the kite.
2. Problem: Spinning Out of Control
If your kite spins or dives uncontrollably to one side then the next, move the bridle attachment point a bit towards the front of the kite, or add a few more ribbons to the tail.
3. Problem: Not Enough Wind
I can’t help you here. Have you tried beans?
Kite flying parties are an amazing amount of frugal fun for all ages. I highly recommend finding an open field, throwing a kite design contest, or trying to engineer the best flying machine you can muster. Now go grab your friends, your kids, or your grandchildren and take them outside for a fun day of kite flying.