Matchbox Scale Microkite - just a square inch

Picture of Matchbox Scale Microkite - just a square inch
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.

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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Stan1y8 months ago
could you use mono filament fishing line for the line
Kiteman (author)  Stan1y8 months ago
If it is *very* fine, possibly, but I normally use unravelled thread, so fine it can break easily.
Atom 68 months ago
Kiteman (author)  Atom 68 months ago
Thank you!!!!!!!
I'm gonna miniaturize myself, and make me a hang glider!
Kiteman (author)  MechanicallyDeclined10 months ago
Oh... you could twist a tuft of cotton wool into the shape of a person, and twist its hands around the flying line...!
OjoeMDC11 months ago
what could i use as spars
Kiteman (author)  OjoeMDC11 months ago
You could try the bristles from a broom.
GrantLevy11 months ago
For a smaller kite you could try using human hair for kite line.
Kiteman (author)  GrantLevy11 months 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.
machonurin11 months 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)  macrumpton11 months ago
Sounds fascinating!
macrumpton Kiteman11 months ago
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)  macrumpton11 months ago
Kiteman (author)  machonurin11 months ago
Oh, thank you!
hazlett11 months 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)  hazlett11 months ago
You should post one!
OjoeMDC11 months ago
or could you use a rice krispie treat bag?
Kiteman (author)  OjoeMDC11 months ago
OjoeMDC11 months ago
is there any chance you could use a 5 brand gum wrapper or too small?
Kiteman (author)  OjoeMDC11 months ago
If you could find something to act as spars...
Kasm279 OjoeMDC11 months ago
Too heavy and too flexible
confu11 months 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)  confu11 months ago
Like this?
confu Kiteman11 months ago
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)  confu11 months ago
And thank you for the vote!
sumers11 months ago
Now this is something that I'd love to try.
Kiteman (author)  sumers11 months ago
Go for it!
Bowtie4111 months 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)  Bowtie4111 months ago
Thank you.
sup_b11 months 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_b11 months ago
I predict one of two things: either a kite on the floor, or a kite tangled around the fans!
sup_b Kiteman11 months 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_b11 months ago
OjoeMDC11 months ago
I voted for you, so cool!
Kiteman (author)  OjoeMDC11 months ago
Thank you!
Zaid Bin Talib11 months ago
Dear Mr. Kiteman,
Very nice work and a great Microkite; voted for you.

Kind regards,
Kiteman (author)  Zaid Bin Talib11 months ago
Thank you!
Dear Mr. Kiteman,
It's my great pleasure; you are welcome.

Kind regards,
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