Picture of Tetrahedral Kite
This project will tell you how to build a tetrahedral kite out of cheap household materials.
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Step 1: Gather your materials

You will need:
*A lot of bendy straws. You will need 12 per cell of kite, so for the 16-cell kite shown, you will need 12x16=192 straws. Best make it 200 for the ones you will mess up on.
*Plenty of good ol' Scotch Tape. You may get by with a roll, if you are awesome, but I bought a three-pack.
*Twist-ties. Get these from garbage bag packets, or bread bags- you should have some around. You will need a fair number.
*Lifting surface. This should be thin and light, yet durable. Grocery bags work, as do garbage bags, good tissue paper, wrapping paper, mylar, chip bags, you get the idea. This is where the colour will come from, so go all out here.
*Kite String. Salvage it from an older kite, or buy it. Don't bother getting the nice stuff, the kind you get with a $2 kite from Wal-Mart works great.
*Dowel (optional)- If you are building a very large kite, this can add some stability.
Tools you will need:

Step 2: Make the first triangle

Picture of Make the first triangle
Take three bendy straws. Put the short ends of them into the long ends as shown to make a triangle. This can be a bit tricky, the best way I've found is to flatten the end and fold it in half- this makes a skinny bit to help you stick it in.

Step 3: Make the first cell

Picture of Make the first cell
Repeat step 2 to three times so you have four of these triangles. Then, using tape, construct a tetrahedron as shown.

Step 4: Wind surface

Picture of Wind surface
Cover two adjacent cells with your lifting surface material. In the end, you should wind up with something like this. This is your first cell.

Step 5: Make the remaining cells

Picture of Make the remaining cells
Repeat this process as many more times as you want your kite to be big- pictured here are four and sixteen-cell kites. Attach the cells together at their points with the twist ties. It's ok if it's a little wonky- just try to keep it generally straight. Make sure to align the covered surfaces all in the same direction as shown.
dan8 years ago
wow! do you have a photo of it flying?
bemdude (author)  dan8 years ago
Actually, not yet. This one was made as a sort of class project- hence the decorations- everyone made a cell. It hasn't been flown yet. But, rest assured, when it is, I will have pictures, and put them up. I should have pictures of some of the others I've made, but they are buried somewhere.
considering it is 3 year later and still no pics i asume you forgot
bemdude (author)  imthatguy11255 years ago
Forgot? No. This kite got put on display, and someone ripped it down and vandalized it. I'm making another one soonish for a class I'm teaching- and that one will be flown first thing.
dombeef bemdude4 years ago
jbussé dombeef3 years ago
in three years =D lol
Charles IV6 years ago
It's a Sierpinski triangle kite!
Kiteman8 years ago
For a safe way to launch and land this kite, check this article I wrote for the BBC:
kovessiz8 years ago
Hi, have a look at my site - - and you will find step-by-step pix of how i built a collapsible tetrahedron.

Perhaps you're interested in a newspaper flowform kite, too. Step-by-step
Fair winds,

dhammy8 years ago
In a tetrahedron, wouldn't ANY two cells be adjacent? ;) BTW, cool kite!
bemdude (author)  dhammy8 years ago
yes, in fact. the important bit is to cover only two.