Introduction: Tetrahedral Kite

Picture of Tetrahedral Kite

Today, we can enjoy the luxury of flying from one location to another jumbo jet airliners. We have state of the art military jets that can travel faster than sound. But, the first form of aviation was the kite. In this tutorial, you will learn how to make your very own tetrahedral kite. A kite very similar to the one Alexander Graham Bell invented in 1903.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials

You will need the following materials:

  • Gift Tissue Paper
  • String
  • 60 Straws
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Step 2: Threading Through the Plastic Straws

Picture of Threading Through the Plastic Straws

Thread the string through three equal sized straws together. Make sure that you move the straws to one end of the yarn ensuring that you have a piece of yarn that measures 2-3 inches on one end. Then, tie the yarn together forming a triangle with the straws. Make at least 2 to 3 knots so that the kite doesn't fall apart while in the air. When you are done the piece of string facing away from the spool should measure about 2 inches.

Step 3: Making a Diamond Shape

Picture of Making a Diamond Shape

After the triangle is made and tied use two more straws to measure out the remaining string to complete the pyramid. Line up two straws parallel to the string still attached to the spool and leave about two inches after the straws and cut the string from the spool. Create a diamond shape with the straws by using the remaining string to tie the last two straws to the triangle you created earlier. Remember to tie as many knots as necessary so that the straws don't come apart (usually at least 2 knots).

Step 4: Creating a Pyramid

Picture of Creating a Pyramid

Thread a piece of string through another straw and leave about two inches on each side of the straw before cutting it. Tie the string from one side of the straw to one vertex of the diamond then tie the other side of the straw to the opposite vertex. Make sure all ties are secured properly with at least 2 knots as previously mentioned. When both pieces of string are attached, you should have a straw pyramid in front of you.

Step 5: Creating a Stencil

Picture of Creating a Stencil

Cutting the tissue paper is easier if you start by creating a stencil first. Use a straw to help you create the base of the stencil. With the straw lined up on the bottom of the paper make two separate marks about 1/10th the length of the straw in from each of the openings of the straw. Go in an additional 1/10th of the length of the straw from each of the previous marks. Begin by using the two inside marks as the base of a rectangle and a height that is about a 1/4th of an inch longer than that. Measure the distance from one straw to the next on a made pyramid 1/10th of the way in on any corner. Using the ruler make an approximately 45 degree angle from the first mark in the opposite direction from the second mark and then draw a line with the ruler that is about 1/2 an inch longer than the measurement you took from the corner of the pyramid. Use the ruler to draw a line from the end of this last line to the top of the rectangle. Repeat these last two steps for the opposite side. Cut along the lines you have created and you now have your stencil.

Step 6: Preparing the Tissue Paper

Picture of Preparing the Tissue Paper

Using the stencil you just created, fold the tissue in half around the stencil so that it covers the entire stencil evenly. Then take the stencil out and place on top of the tissue paper so that the base of the stencil is lined up in the middle of the folded edge of the tissue paper. Use the stencil to cut out the shape from the tissue paper being careful not to move the stencil as you are cutting.

Step 7: Applying Surface Area to Each Pyramid

Picture of Applying Surface Area to Each Pyramid

Using the tissue paper cutouts, place one sheet flat on a table. Align one edge of the pyramid to the folded center of the tissue paper. Apply glue to one tab of tissue paper at a time and fold over the straw.Always ensure that the side you are gluing is flat on the table.

Step 8: Assembling the Base of Your Kite

Picture of Assembling the Base of Your Kite

The base of your kite should have a total of 6 pyramids connected together from each corner. Three should be in front, two in the middle, and one in the back.

Step 9: Assembling the MidSection of the Kite

Picture of Assembling the MidSection of the Kite

The midsection of the kite should have three pyramids. The bottom of each pyramid in the midsection should be tied to the top of the base pyramids.

Step 10: Assembling the Top of the Kite

Picture of Assembling the Top of the Kite

Tie the last pyramid to the top of the midsection of the kite. The ten pyramids should now form one larger pyramid.

Step 11: Cut Excess Yarn

Picture of Cut Excess Yarn

Using scissors, cut off any excess yarn.

Step 12: Attaching a Long String

Picture of Attaching a Long String

Tie a string to the top of your larger pyramid and get ready to see your kite in action.

Step 13: Ready to Fly

Picture of Ready to Fly


mrwonton (author)2017-09-14

cool! great work!

ecabuya rodriguez made it! (author)2015-07-30

thank you it was so helpful your article I am from Bogota,Colombia tomorrow I'm gonna prove it :D

I'm glad you liked my tutorial. Thank you for sharing pictures of the one you made.Did it work?

erdoerne (author)2015-08-05

that is big and long

tropicaliano (author)2015-06-29

Congrats from a kite maker in Brazil. It´s good to be part of such a good community as "Instructables"

Thank you tropicaliano! You should post some instructables on how to make the kites you make. You're right about Instructables being a great online community.

Dani65 (author)2015-06-13

I haven't seen this since I was a kid. Very cool.

janetandrade81 (author)Dani652015-06-13

Thanks, I remember making one in middle school. Many, many years ago.

Saula1 (author)2015-06-11

yea I'm going to make one

Saula1 (author)2015-06-11

I'm going to make one to fly it in the park

karlaa (author)2015-06-11

My brother would love this.

MayraxoxMoisesH (author)2015-06-03

My kids would love to have one of these.

JonathanA3 (author)2015-06-03

can i fly it plz. jk :-)

IsaiahB1 (author)2015-06-03

thats AWESOMEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CarlosH6 (author)2015-06-03

you got my vote to

TyonH (author)2015-06-03

you got my vote

emma_vg (author)2015-06-03

Looks REALLY cool!!!!!

I wanna try to make it now!

Seathekid (author)2015-06-03

Its looks really nice hope you get to the finals. I would like to make this.

Ultra-Indigo (author)2015-06-02

This looks pretty cool! does it need a good wind to get lift?

All you need is a small gust.

shantinath1000 (author)2015-06-02

nice work! I had one as a kid- a sturdy thing- never felt a kite pull so hard untill I got an inflatable wing.

RicardoO1 (author)2015-06-02

Very nice idea cant wait to make one

janetandrade81 (author)RicardoO12015-06-02

Thank you

Edbed (author)2015-06-02

This looks great!

janetandrade81 (author)Edbed2015-06-02


Kiteman (author)2015-06-02

Tetras are awesome kites, practically impossible to fail to fly, no matter where you attach the flying line, and the cell design is very flexible - I like to connect them into small pyramids of four, then connect those four small pyramids into one larger kite (any bigger, and you need to reinforce the leading edge).

janetandrade81 (author)Kiteman2015-06-02

I'm going to have to give that a try.

Just4Fun Media (author)2015-06-02

Very interesting design and a well documented build.

Have a great day! :-)

Thank you

CraftNucleus (author)2015-06-02

So, I love making geometric shapes out of straws! I've seen them all over YouTube and websites like that. But I've never seen anyone turn one into a kite. That's awesome! Thanks for the great instructable.

You're welcome

wedding-dj (author)2015-06-02

I can't wait to make this for my 3-year-old daughter. Cool idea, and she's gonna love it. Thanks.

The best part will be when you see her face when she sees it flying.

twitting (author)2015-06-02

Nice! I had a commercial version of this when I was a kid in the 70s...called, of all things, the Tetra-kite.

janetandrade81 (author)twitting2015-06-02

It's a good activity to work at home with kids (or adults who feel like kids). It's almost impossible to mess up. The kite works great!

xochitla1 (author)2015-06-02

Looks like it flies really high! :)

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