Instructables

Matchbox Scale Microkite - just a square inch

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Kites are cool. They have a long, long history, employ ancient crafts, and feature in many cultures around the world, yet can be made with modern materials to match the most extreme of sports.

A branch of the hobby that is often neglected is the microkite - kites as small as your hand, or even smaller.

The size and fragility of microkites means they often cannot be flown outdoors, but they can be flown in unusual locations, such as train corridors, aeroplane aisles or anywhere else you have room to swing a cat.

I decided to go the whole hog, and made a kite that is only a square inch in size.

This is not the world's smallest kite, but it's close, and it is a tiny fraction of the size of the kites you may find being sold in the street or on Ebay under the title of "World's Smallest Kite". They are usually about 4 inches long by 3.5 inches wide, more than seven times the area of the one I'm making here.

 
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Step 1: Materials and tools

This microkite is made from aluminium-coated Mylar film, usually encountered as shiny gift-wrap or, in this case, the inner wrapper of a bar of posh chocolate.

You also need:
  • Thin sewing thread, embroidery "floss" or other twisted line.
  • Scotch tape
  • Sharp knife
  • Metal ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Ceramic or glass cutting surface. I used a spare wall tile.
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A note on thread:

The thread you use needs to be as light as possible.  If you can, untwist the the thread and separate it into two or more thinner strands.  Cotton sewing threads tend to come apart when untwisted, but synthetic threads are often made with longer fibres.  If you have some spare Dacron kite line, that untwists very well.

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Stan1y11 months ago
could you use mono filament fishing line for the line
Kiteman (author)  Stan1y11 months ago
If it is *very* fine, possibly, but I normally use unravelled thread, so fine it can break easily.
Atom 611 months ago
COOL!!!!!!!:)
Kiteman (author)  Atom 611 months ago
Thank you!!!!!!!
I'm gonna miniaturize myself, and make me a hang glider!
Kiteman (author)  MechanicallyDeclined1 year ago
Oh... you could twist a tuft of cotton wool into the shape of a person, and twist its hands around the flying line...!
OjoeMDC1 year ago
what could i use as spars
Kiteman (author)  OjoeMDC1 year ago
You could try the bristles from a broom.
GrantLevy1 year ago
For a smaller kite you could try using human hair for kite line.
Kiteman (author)  GrantLevy1 year ago
I thought of that, but we're a short-haired family, and asking strangers for a lock of their hair is the sort of thing that lands on the front page of the Daily Mail.
machonurin1 year ago
Wow. Shades of Bill Bigge :D
I never saw any of Bill's tiny kites in person, but I went to a workshop he did on glider kites that was loads of fun, making 8" glider kites from ultra thin sliced foam and bamboo slivers split from kebab skewers.
Kiteman (author)  macrumpton1 year ago
Sounds fascinating!
It was back in the last century, so I doubt I have any photos, but maybe I can see if I can remember enough to do a tutorial.
Kiteman (author)  macrumpton1 year ago
Cool!
Kiteman (author)  machonurin1 year ago
Oh, thank you!
hazlett1 year ago
I made similar kites, years ago, and they flew quite well. I used a delta shape and only paper for the kite. So simple to make. I had one that flew overnight after I tired of holding the string and tied it to our fence !!!!
Kiteman (author)  hazlett1 year ago
You should post one!
OjoeMDC1 year ago
or could you use a rice krispie treat bag?
Kiteman (author)  OjoeMDC1 year ago
Probably.
OjoeMDC1 year ago
is there any chance you could use a 5 brand gum wrapper or too small?
Kiteman (author)  OjoeMDC1 year ago
If you could find something to act as spars...
Too heavy and too flexible
confu1 year ago
I built one in this size from 36 µ PET film and used the plastic bristles of a broom as support. Worked fine, too.
Too bad I can´t find it anywhere to take a picture.
Kiteman (author)  confu1 year ago
Like this?
confu Kiteman1 year ago
LOL
Exactly. Was wondering all the time where I got the idea from, there it is!
I´m becoming senile ;)
Did that about 2-3 years ago when I was bored at work. Fun project!
Later I attached it to my fan at home, where it had great times circling around during hot summerdays. But now it seems to have flown away, maybe it got dizzy too often.
Voted, thanks for the nice Ibles :)
Kiteman (author)  confu1 year ago
And thank you for the vote!
sumers1 year ago
Now this is something that I'd love to try.
Kiteman (author)  sumers1 year ago
Go for it!
Bowtie411 year ago
I dunno,if I had room to swing a cat,I'd rather do that,lol.Just kidding.Ours is on my lap right now,soaking up ear rubs.Nice I'ble.Good luck in the contest,You've made several fine candidates!
Kiteman (author)  Bowtie411 year ago
Thank you.
sup_b1 year ago
If this is a stupid question, then pls pardon the stupidity. I haven't flown a kite since my dad's arms were around me doing most of the work. Would you possibly be able to use a ceiling fan? I have 2 fans - 1 in the living room, 1 in the family room. The rooms adjoin and the entire space is open. The fans are fairly close together - 24' apart. Have any thoughts on what would happen if you stood between them & tried to fly the kite?

I voted for you too. ;)
Kiteman (author)  sup_b1 year ago
I predict one of two things: either a kite on the floor, or a kite tangled around the fans!
sup_b Kiteman1 year ago
Haha. Well, they say the only dumb answer is the one you don't ask, right? That looks rly cool. I'm more into deconstructed clothes, sewing & making jewelry from recycled objects. But your mylar & matchsticks may have just given me an idea. (If anything comes of it, I will def give u a shout-out)
Kiteman (author)  sup_b1 year ago
Cool.
OjoeMDC1 year ago
I voted for you, so cool!
Kiteman (author)  OjoeMDC1 year ago
Thank you!
Dear Mr. Kiteman,
Very nice work and a great Microkite; voted for you.

Kind regards,
Kiteman (author)  Zaid Bin Talib1 year ago
Thank you!
Dear Mr. Kiteman,
It's my great pleasure; you are welcome.

Kind regards,
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