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Project Sheet

Make Your Own Kite

Low prices will have you flying high

  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Completion Time: 3 hours

What you'll need

Kites are composed of lightweight materials so that they can soar easily in the wind. Before beginning construction on your kite, you'll need to gather these materials along with a couple of tools:

1. Getting started

First, measure one of the dowels with a tape measure and mark it off at 70 cm with a black marker or pen. Once cut, this 70 cm dowel will serve as the kite's crossbar.

2. I came, I saw

Using the saw, trim the dowel down to 70 cm. Remember to be careful: The craft saw is sharp!

3. Crossing over

Next, place the crossbar over the larger dowel around 1/3 of the way down from the top. The dowels should form a shape similar to a Christian cross, with both sides of the crossbar equal in length.

4. Pretty tied up

With the crossbar in position, tie the dowels together by wrapping the hemp string around both sticks repeatedly. The best way to do this is to wrap in a "God's eye" pattern, wrapping the string around each dowel end and then the next in a counter-clockwise fashion. Adding a dab of glue to the joint helps ensure that it will stay strong. Be certain to keep the dowels at right angles to one another.

5. Get into a groove

Using the saw, cut notches at both ends of each dowel. Be sure to make each notch deep enough for the hemp string to sit snugly within.

6. Strung out

Next, it's time to wrap a string frame around the edges of our dowels. To start, tie a small loop around the diameter of your index finger and wedge it into the notch at the top of our frame. Secure the loop by wrapping the hemp string around the dowel and stretch the string over to the left end of the crossbar. Seat the string in the notch at the left dowel end and continue stretching the string down to the bottom dowel end. Tie another small loop in the hemp string and seat it in the bottom notch. Then stretch the hemp string up through the right dowel end's notch and up towards the top. Wrap the hemp string around the top loop once more and tie it off to secure our taut kite frame.

7. We've been framed

Roll out the yellow paper and place the kite frame down flat on its surface. Using a pencil, trace out the frame on to the paper leaving a two-inch border all the way around the kite's perimeter. Later, we'll fold this excess margin over the frame to secure our paper kite sail.

8. Getting some color

After cutting the sail out using scissors, it's time to decorate. A nice sun pattern is perfect for a kite flying in warm, windy spring and summer weather. Use the markers and glitter paint to create a bright and sunny illustration that you'll be able to enjoy from the ground.

9. Tale of the tape

Once the paint has dried on our kite sail, it's time to attach it to our frame. Place the sail on a tabletop face-down and place the frame down flat on top of it. Fold the edges of the sail over the hemp frame and tape them down using the stretch tape. Make sure the sail is taut so that it will catch as much wind as possible.

10. Pin the tail on

Next, it's time to add a tail to our kite. The tail keeps the kite stable in the air, much the same way an airplane's tail fin keeps the plane from twisting and rolling in the sky. Cut two streamer lengths of about 80 in. Tie a bow in the streamers every 10 cm or so. When that's done, attach both streamers to the bottom of the kite frame using the stretch tape.

11. Tack that kite

We're almost ready to fly! First, though, we must tie on a bridle. Cut a length of hemp string long enough to stretch from the hemp loop at the top of the kite frame to the loop at the bottom. Tie the string to both loops, making sure it's long enough for the hemp to lie slack, not taut, across the body of the kite. This will be our kite's bridle.

Next, tie one end of our hemp spool to the middle of the bridle, close to the crossbar. Our kite is complete! You know what comes next!

12. Into the wild blue yonder

Fly that sucker! Pick a windy day and help your kite catch the breeze by running into the wind. As the kite catches hold of the wind, let out a little more string until you're flying high.

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