Introduction: How to Make a Kite: the Tabloid Sled.
Knock up a decent kite in less time than it took to clear my workbench.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
@ A newspaper,
@ Sticky tape,
@ Light string,
@ Long straight edge.
Step 2: Making the Sail
Carefully fold one sheet of your newspaper in half.
Mark points approximately half-way along the top and bottom edges, and about one thrird of the way down the side.
Join the points. (The dotted line is not essential - it is just to show where the longerons are going to be later.)
Cut along the lines and discard the triangular pieces.
Step 3: Longerons
Longerons are the spars of any kite that go front-to-back.
Take another double page of your newspaper. Roll it up tight from one vertical edge and tape together.
Make another roll of paper.
Decide which side of your sail will be facing you in flight, and place that side up. Tape one longeron on each side of the sail, where the dotted lines were in the previous step.
Notice that the end of the pice of tape folds over the edge of the sail and is stuck behind - a simple trick, but it makes the kite a lot stronger.
Step 4: The Bridle
Cut a piece of string about four times as long as the kite is wide (corner to corner).
Turn the kite longerons-down, and attach the string from corner to corner, using tape at each corner.
Tie the ends of the bridle together to make a loop. A reef knot (I think US readers may call it a square knot) is fine for this. The bulk of the loop should be in front of the kite.
Note that I have attached the string waaaay off-centre. This prevents the knot from obstructing the flying line when we attach it later.
Step 5: The Tail
Fold another sheet of the newspaper in half, three times. This makes eight layers.
Cut along the creases to make eight strips of paper, about two inches wide.
Tape four strips together, end-to-end. That's one tail.
Tape the other four together. That's a second tail.
Tape one tail to each lower corner of the sail.
Your kite is basically complete.
Step 6: The Flying Line
Tie the rest of your string to the mid-point of the bridle.
The best way to this is with a simple over-hand knot around the bridle, pulled very tight, and repeated several times.
If you can slide the knot along the bridle, but with some effort, then the knot is right.
Step 7: Flying the Kite
Check one of my other Instructables for how to launch and land your kite, and for general kite safety tips.
Be warned, though, this kite will not survive even a light shower of rain if it is in the air.
You may find that your kite tends to lean or fly over to one side in the air.
If the kite leans to the left, slide the knot along the bridle to the right. If it leans to the right, slide the knot to the left.
If sliding the knot does not cure the tilt, adjust the tails - cut or tear pieces of the tail. If the kite is going left, trim the left tail, and vice versa.
If you over-do it with the tail, you can trim the other side to match, but don't get carried away, just in case you run out of tail.
The kite has no financial value, but it's a pain if something goes wrong before you get a chance to enjoy it properly.
Take along a roll of tape and a pair of scissors when you fly it. Small rips can then be patched quickly, and tails can be re-attached without fuss (especially if you got carried away with the adjustments). You may want to take along a spare page or two as well, just in case.
If you are planning to fly the kite again, and you get is just right, wrap a piece of tape around the knot on the bridle to hold it in place, to save you needing to re-adjust it next time you fly.
Storage and transport
Assuming you want to fly the kite somewhere other than where you made it, you will need to make it more convenient to carry.
Gently roll the sail up around the longerons, then wrap the tails around the sail, then wrap the bridle around the whole thing. Lay it gently (complete with string) in the bottom of a carrier bag and roll up the carrier bag. Done.