How to Make an Afghan Fighting Kite

Written by nakia jackson Google
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How to Make an Afghan Fighting Kite
Afghanistan's fighter kites execute beautiful and dramatic battles in the sky. (kite image by Gina Smith from

Afghan kites are known as gudiparan, which means "flying doll." Teams of two compete using these fighter kites, traditionally made of tissue paper and bamboo, to cut their opponents' kites down using the kite line.These kites are usually of a diamond-like shape, and colours and sizes vary widely. These stunning works of traditional craftsmanship are as enjoyable as they are beautiful, and the works of the master kite builder are often museum-quality pieces.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bamboo strips or wooden dowels, 1/4 inch in diameter
  • Wooden dowel, 1 inch in diameter
  • Wooden dowel, 1/8 inch in diameter
  • Sandpaper
  • Cardboard
  • Knife
  • Glue
  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Nylon kite line
  • Cotton string or thin twine
  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Determine the dimensions of your kite. The smallest kites can be 10 by 10 inches, with the largest being more than 5 by 5 feet. Multiply the desired length and width of your kite, and obtain at least this much tissue paper. Square the length and width of your desired kite, add the two numbers together and obtain the square root of that number. This is your kite's diagonal. Get two wooden dowels/bamboo strips 1/4 inch in diameter and cut to the diagonal of your desired kite.

  2. 2

    Make a notch at each end of the frame pieces, parallel to the ground when the bamboo/dowels lie flat. Make a plus sign shape with the bamboo/dowels. Take your cotton string and wrap it around the middle of the plus sign, binding them together to make an "X" shape. Tie the ends of the line in a knot once the frame pieces are secure. Thread cotton string through the notches in the frame pieces, pulling it taut but not tight enough to warp the kite. Knot the string ends around the centre of the kite.

  3. 3

    Glue the tissue paper to the wooden kite centre frame, wrapping the ends around the cotton thread at the edges. Use glue sparingly. Allow to dry.

  1. 1

    Cut two circles 5 inches in diameter from a piece of cardboard. Cut a small hole in the middle of each circle about 1 inch in diameter.

  2. 2

    Poke six small evenly spaced holes in the cardboard circles 1 inch from the edge of the circle. The holes in each circle should line up with one another.

  3. 3

    Cut the wooden dowel that is 1/8 inches in diameter into six pieces, 3 inches long.

  4. 4

    Thread those dowel pieces through the small holes in the cardboard circles.

  5. 5

    Cut the wooden dowel that is 1 inch in diameter to 12 inches. Sand the cut end and thread the larger dowel through the holes in the middle of the cardboard circles. Tie the kite line onto the larger dowel piece and wind the kite line onto the spool. Tie the other end of the kite line to the kite when the kite is dry.

Tips and warnings

  • You can paint the spool pieces before assembling for an even more colourful display.
  • If this is your first kite project, consider a solid-colour kite with designs drawn on rather than a design requiring multiple pieces to be glued together.
  • In Afghanistan, kite line is treated with ground glass to improve cutting ability. This is dangerous and can result in severe injuries.

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