DIY Kite Designs: How To Make A Kite


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.

how to build a kite the kite runner

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.

kites how to make a kite free kite plans

Free Kite Plans Download: How To Make a Kite

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
  • Twine
  • Kite string or fishing line

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

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.

kites kite designs

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.

kites kite how to make a kite

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.

free kite plans kites kite designs

5. Cover the frame with plastic material. Use tape to secure to the dowels and the twine, with extra reinforcement at the ends.

how to make a kite kite designs

kites kite runner how to make a kite

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.

how to make a kite designs kites

10. Find some wind, and GO FLY A KITE!

kites kite designs kerry

Trying my best not to blink. Wearing terrible pants, but having lots of fun.

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!

kite design party

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.


  1. Emily July 6, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I love you. That is all.

  2. Hollie July 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Think I will try this with my daughter, and you are right about it being frugal fun.

  3. Laurel Alanna McBrine July 7, 2009 at 5:31 am

    Hey – I recognize that mountain. I grew up on the hill opposite, on the other side of the valley!

    You are flying kites VERY close to the house I lived in.

    I have a quick oil sketch of Blue Nose in one of my painting blogs – scroll back to the beginning of the blog:

  4. Kerry July 7, 2009 at 5:43 am

    @Emily You crack me up girl. That is all. 😉

    @Hollie Building a kite is super fun. Get your daughter to decorate her kite with stickers, markers, paint, or anything else crafty!

    @Laurel Alanna McBrine You are correct! It’s Blue Nose in the background. The perspective in your painting is indeed very very close to where we launched our kites. The world just got smaller, neighbour! 😉

  5. kosmo @ The Casual Observer July 7, 2009 at 8:21 am

    What about problem 4: a tree ate my kite. Charlie Brown ran into this a lot.

    We made kites with newspaper instead of plastic when I was a kid. Seems like the plastic would probably work better, but our kites worked just fine.

  6. Kerry July 7, 2009 at 9:19 am

    @kosmo Trees can be hazardous to kites, very very true. I would suggest finding a launching pad far away from trees and hydro polls too (for safety!). Using paper as kite making material sounds like a fabulous idea!

  7. Sagan July 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    You’re so creative!

  8. Patrice July 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I guess you need a dog there for moral support.

  9. Kerry July 9, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    @Patrice Dogs are awesome. 😀

  10. FupDuckTV July 10, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Did someone try to blow you off by telling you to “go fly a kite”? Hottie rockin the kite in photo #10. Nice job Foxy (can’t get used to calling you Kerry)

  11. Kerry July 10, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    @Fup Naw, I told myself to go fly a kite. 😉 You can keep calling me Foxy. 😉

  12. Katie @ Cheep Ideas March 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    What a great tutorial!! I’ve included it on my website today along with some other kite tutorials. I’m sure this will be a hit!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  13. Fe May 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I love the idea of using recycled bags; I did the newspapers when I was a kid. I’m going to give my 7th graders a choice. Paper or plastic.

  14. Tess August 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I am a teacher/summer camp instructor and I just made these with a group 1st-5th graders: they LOVED it. It was difficult for them (I had them work in partners), but a good lesson in perseverance because when it was all said and done, one of the kids shouted, “I want to make these every day for the rest of my life!”

    Thanks for an awesome tutorial!

  15. Emily March 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I’m a little confused as to how you put the plastic bag on… could you explain?

  16. […] You can find the instructions for this kite at Squawkfox. […]

  17. callie April 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I am doing this for a project…is there any possible way instead of plastic paper i could use it with just regular paper?

  18. rob April 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Did Pivo get his own kite?

  19. Dona Collins May 2, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Oh my goodness! I think I’m going to host a kite flying party for my birthday this summer. I haven’t flown a kite since summer vacations down the shore with my family as a kid. Geez!

  20. vyana February 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    How thick should the dowels be?

  21. Jeff platz February 14, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Kerry… My first memory was with my dad at the age of 2 years old flying a kite!!Now I fly kites with my son and just last weekend my dad and I flew kites again after all these years. im now flying my kites at night as well I add some light weight bicycle lights to my kites for night flight its soooooo much fun.This morning I test flew my biggest home made kite ever its 14ft wing span and 10 ft tall it did great its first time up!!!! was amazing.Im going to get kite flying in my area to be something lots and lots of people start doing.Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

  22. ben archer April 27, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Pants look good to me, you’re a hottie! 😉 Anyway thanks for this, going to make me a kite today. They have some super strength Gorrilla glue trashbags I’ve been using and it’s hard to puncture them even with scissors so I’m going to try that but with a W-Frame kite

  23. Robert Romero May 16, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I have probably the only two boys who have no interest in flying kites. …. why me, i love kites. I torture them anyway ¿?

  24. Mercades May 13, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    So what kind of material did you exactly use to cover it up?? would big trash bags work just as good? or is it the lighter the better kind of deal? if you could reply as soon as you can, thatd be great.

  25. Drachenbauer May 26, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    What are the exact vaules for the bridle-holes in the sail (between top corner and top hole and between bottom corner and bottom hole)?

  26. Jessica October 11, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I really love your friendly big-eared dog. So cute! :3 <3 This kite idea is really good! Also,can I have your dog? I wish it wasn't optional! 🙁

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