Somewhere it’s a fine breezy day. Or it will be eventually. If you need a fun project for an indoor day? Build a kite!
The idea came to me during a walk a few weeks ago. I saw in the distance a kite riding on the wind, and thought “Hey! I want a kite!” and next thought “I wonder if I could make one?”
I’m talking simple DIY single-person kites here. Some are so elaborate and so large it takes many people just to get them into position for flight.
I found galore of how-to videos online, and learned a lot about different types. The history and variety and physics and cultural importance of kites, and just the beauty of watching them soar, makes this an interesting subject to explore.
There is the familiar diamond-shape kite from my childhood, but there are so many more shapes and sizes and materials to try!
Here’s how to make a quick and easy beginner kite. This was the inspiration for my green kite, below
Kites that look like ships! Or like skeletons! Or tetrahedrons! Or a humming Bermuda kite!
My efforts – three tries – were more or less successful… Mostly less.
Here are some problems with the kites I made:
- I made the green one too big. It’s a bit of a walk to the nearest big park, so carrying it on a windy day is challenging. Lesson: a collapsable kite works best for transport. Also, a big kite in strong wind pulls hard. With no device for letting out and reeling in the kite string, I had to be careful not to cut my hands as the string played out fast.
- The hexagon kite was also too big. When I saw how hard it was to fly the green one, I cut the cross-pieces and re-assembled the hexagon at about half it’s original size. It hasn’t had its’ first flight yet.
- Low-wind tests of the tetrahedron are disappointing. It just spins without getting any lift.
- When I did get the green kite up in the air, it pulled so hard I couldn’t free a hand to take a picture! Then it nose-dived.
- Most of the online videos don’t clearly say how to attach the string to the kite. If that isn’t done right, the kite won’t fly, or it will nose-dive. I found very thorough breakdown of kite bridles here.
- When I was a kid, we just wound the string on a stick. There are clever devices to manage kite string, but I don’t have one.
I provided some entertainment to people in the park, when trying to fly the green one. And I had a lot of fun in the construction of each of these. I’m eager to try some more types, and also to fine-tune these so they will fly well.
Making a kite is a fun, easy inexpensive way to create something on a wet day, and get outside the next windy day to try out the creation.