A Garbage Bag Kite





Introduction: A Garbage Bag Kite

This is a simple project to do with kids. All you need are two sticks, a bag, string and scissors and you have a kite!

Step 1: The Materials

You will need: a plastic bag, string, two sticks, scissors and ribbon.

Step 2: Tie the Frame

Take the two sticks - they can be garden stakes, dowels, straight twigs, simple skewers tapes together - and tie them together with a piece of string. The cross stick should be tied about one third of the way along the the main stick.

Step 3: Tying the Frame Knot

Wrap the string around the back of the main stick and cross the string across the front of the cross stick. Then wrap the ends of the string back around the back of the main stick and make a single knot. Then wrap each end of the string one around either side of the fron tof the cross stick and back again around the back of the main stick. (Does this sound complicated or is it just me? It's really not complicated.) Then make a double knot. Done!

Step 4: Cut the Sail and Tie to the Frame

Cut the garbage bag to fit the frame of the kite. Tie the ends of the sail to the wood frame. No need to use glue or tape. Just keep the knots tight!

Step 5: Attach the Flying String

First, tie a piece of string from one side of the cross stick to the other, leaving slack to form a triangle like shown in the photo. Then, tie the end of a BIG BALL of string to the bottom portion of the main stick, loop under the slack cross string and tie a simple knot at the intersection of the two strings (so it forms a triangular pyramid shape).

Step 6: Make a Ribbon Balance

Tie lovely ribbons to the end of the kite in order to help balance it. You can even attach a small weight, like a washer, if the ribbons don't seem hefty enough for your kite.

Step 7: The Hardest Step - Find Wind and Fly

The day I made this kite and had my camera with me, there was no wind. :( So it only got about two feet off the ground. But if you can get a nice field and some gusts going, you'll be in business. The best way to launch the kite is to have friend hold it while you back up slowly into the wind. Have your friend let the kite go and let the string out. OR, you can just hold it and run wildly into the wind! Either way works.



    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Game Life Contest

      Game Life Contest

    19 Discussions

    I've made with very light steel rods but the size was somewhat larger than shown here and I used a light nylon material (the kind used for lightweight tents). It worked extremely well but that was years ago.

    How long are the two sticks?

    These instructions show the string bridle improperly tied to the BACK of the kite. It should be tied to the FRONT of the kite. Many online DIY kite instructions make this mistake. Please fix!


    1 year ago

    Lovely idea.

    i am going to make this know


    I used to make these with my grandfather as a child. Thanks for the post! I'm going to be doing this with my kids this weekend. :-)

    i have tried this deisgn when i was a kid. but i bend the stick the horizontal one to form half a circle. in that way i can easily steer and control the kite....

    Sorry, but in Ecuador people (kids) have been using plastic bags for ages. They also use split bamboo sticks. and they use rag strips for the tail. HOWEVER they almost never use th + shape. they make an "H" instead see picture


    Haha... my grandpa's house gets a lot of wind, and me and my cousin were seriously bored, so we took a big green garbage bag with the handles, tied some string to the handles, then went on his deck and flew it around... it was so windy that it actually dragged me (I was a good 135 pounds about then) and he had to grab on too... It was sweet.

    I like the idea of tying the plastic to the stick, too. You might use a constrictor knot to make that connection. Once pulled tight, a constrictor knot cannot be loosened - only tightened. The only way to release it is with scissors or a knife.

    If you want a more sturdy kite, look for house under construction and see if you can get scraps of Tyvek. Or you if you get any mail in Tyvek envelopes, those work.

    If you want a cleaner look at the corners, try using a 1/2 to 3/4 inch line of Gorilla Glue on the stick. The disadvantage of the GG is you have to hold the pieces together for 24 hours while the glue dries.

    I made sometrhing like this back in april and the smaller of the two cross-bars for the frame snapped instantly!

    1 reply

    as a child about 7-8 my model airplane class teacher from the local youth center "jeff" mad a kite from like 1x2 and black plastic tarp. it was probably between 6-8' wide and 8-10' tall with "open house" or something on it. geez we made awesome flying models like a 3 inch oval thin piece of balsa with stabilizers on the outers of the narrows of the ovals and a balsa stick lik 3/8x3/16 for a frame with clay to balance em. remember "battle star galactica"? cylon fighters? also made a helicopter. i was 2nd youngest in class and first to finish. i told jeff it doesnt work. he spent roughly 2 hrs trying to make it work. it was wood framed and covered in cellulose and paper. i said hey maybe it doesnt fly because it doesnt have a rotor. anyway a long story short he said"i know how to fix em" and then he threw my chopper on the floor and stomped it, and told the rest of the class dont bother with them. god was he mad! he got the plans from a model book. greatfull to have had the opp.

    If you use two sticks of the same length, cross them at between 1/7 and 1/10 of the vertical one, and tie a bow into the horzontal one, you will have a much more stable and easy to fly kite. The bridle line should be made to go through the plastic and the bow should bend away from the bridle. The nice innovation here is the simplicity of lashing the plastic to the sticks. Having made lots of these over the years with tape, I really appreciate the idea of being able to manage without tape. As to the spar (cross stick) breaking, the size of the spar and mast needed depends on the size of the kite. As to the "balance" ribbon, stay away from weights, what you want is something to drag behind in the wind, not to pull down toward the ground. Finally, remember that kites that are unstable on a short string near the ground often can be stable on a longer string far from the ground. The easiest way to achieve that is to have one person launch the kite downwind and the other gently pull string in hand over hand until the kite catches the wind above the trees. Then feed the string out again slowly.

    You may get better results if you have the frame at the back of the kite instead of the front. i.e. let the wind push the fabric against the frame instead of having it billow as shown.

    1 reply

    Yes, you definitely will get better results with the frame behind the sail. Attaching the frame like that is just plain wrong. Ok, kids wil love the kite which ever way but I'm an engineer so I can't keep my mouth shut.

    If you tie this loop of string to the vertical spar(longer stick), you can control the balance of the kite much better by adjusting where your flying line attaches to thie loop (called the bridle). Here are some nice knot trying pictures for attaching the bridle:

    simple but effective, smart plan i like it