Flying kites is a centuries-old way to enjoy the outdoors, and flying a kite that you made yourself is even more fun. One of the simplest kite designs, the sled kite, can be made with only a few spars and a small amount of fabric. The beginner's version is created with straws and tissue paper like that used in gift wrapping. This simple project is a good craft project for elementary school classes or scout troops.
Make a cut along the length of the straw, starting at the end, for a distance 2.5 cm (1 inch). Make a duplicate cut on the other side of the same end of the straw. Look at the opening in the straw, and you will see a convex curve and a concave curve, not quite connected at the sides. Bend up one curved half of the straw end, leaving the other curved half alone. Cut off the curved part that you have bent. Do the same thing on the other end of the straw.
Lay the straw that has been cut on the table with the cut sides up. Lay a straw over each end of the cut straw, with the cut straw ends at midpoint in the crossing straws. Wrap the half straw ends around the middle point of the crossing straws and fasten securely with tape. This will create an H shaped frame.
Slip the string through one side of the H, then across the top and down through the other side of the H. Fasten the two ends of the string together, pulling taut but not bending the straws. This will create a square of string.
Cut out a piece of tissue 25 by 30 cm (10 by 12 inches). Cut out a square in each corner that measures 6.5 square cm (1 square inch). Lay the straw frame on this tissue.
Fold up the sides and top and bottom of the tissue over the straws and string. Secure these flaps to the main body of tissue with tape. This is now the back of the kite.
Turn the kite over so that the front of the kite faces up. Use the scissors to cut two windows in the tissue in front of the centre cross straw, right below where it was taped to the H legs. Make the holes about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide and 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) tall. One hole should be at either end of the straw. This is where you will secure your bridle.
Cut a piece of string about 25 cm (10 inches) long. Thread one end of the string into the first window that you cut in the kite front. Wrap the string around the straw and secure it with a double knot. Tie the other end of the 25 cm (10 inch) string to the other end of the straw in the same manner. This piece of string is your bridle.
Cut two strips of crepe paper or Mylar about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide and about 5 or 7.5 cm (2 or 3 feet) long. Tie them to two straw ends, making sure that they are tied onto the same straw. These are the kite tails.
Tie the end of a roll of kite string to the centre of the kite bridle. Put one finger inside the bridle and let the kite hang down. The point where your finger sits is where you should tie the string.
Every kite is different. You may have to adjust your kite string up or down the bridle to make the kite fly straight. If the kite goes up in the air and just spins, you need to add longer or heavier tails. These will hold the bottom half of the kite in place and stabilise the kite.
Things you need
- Plastic straws
- Thin string or dental floss
- Tissue paper
- Crepe paper or Mylar