DIY Paper Kites




Introduction: DIY Paper Kites

About: Hi, we're Dara and Nash. Industrial designers, tinkers, and mayhem builders. Follow our travels.

Windy afternoon and nothing to do? Make a paper kite. With a few simple office supplies laying around the apartment, you can make your own custom one-of-a-kind paper kite in a few hours. You will need:

String (butchers twine works well or button thread)
Light weight wood strips
Paper ( We used tissue paper layered double, but you can also use newspaper, crepe paper, gift wrap, or any light weight paper lying around the house)
Glue (We used those scrapbooking instant glue to make ours which is SUPER fast)
Paper Cutter (Optional, but handy)

(Thanks everyone who came out for the Acorn to Oak Handmade Etsy Team October meeting! And a special thanks to Nick Wentworth for making us all laugh with Twilight Vampire Kites.)

Step 1: Measure and Cut Your Wood

Take your stick and cut it in two. In general kites measure 20+ inches by 40+ inches which is a 5 foot long stick if you do the math. You can harvest sticks or brush out of your back yard for free if you live in the country or use balsa wood or dowel rods if you live in the city. After you measure the stick, cut it. You can use a paper cutter (pictured here is our Paper Cutter of Death at Techshop RD) or any basic cutting instrument that gets the job done.

Step 2: Notch the Ends

With a pair of scissor notch each of the four ends to give the string something to lay in when you start tying it together.

Step 3: Tie the Two Sticks Together (Make the Frame)

With string, wrap the two sticks together at the half-way point. You can do this be doing 5-6 cross hatches and tying a simple, but tight granny knot. Voila, you have an instant cross to ward off vampires! Most excellent. It also makes a good frame for a kite. :-)

Step 4: Tie String Around the Edges

Taking one point, use your notch to act as a hold point for the string. Wrap the thread or twine several times around and move to the next point. When you get done you should have all 4 points of the kite connected.

Step 5: Glue the Paper Together

So, if you read kite making directions they talk about using paste glue and letting it drive overnight. We all cheat and use instant scrapbooking glue/tape you can buy at Michaels because we're impatient people, but you can use whatever you want. Glue your tissue paper (double sheets is better) or any other light weight paper you have lying around (newspaper, computer paper, crepe paper, wax paper...etc.) together with 2 rows of glue. Your final area should be bigger the the kite frame by at least 1 inch).

Step 6: Trace Around the Kite Frame 2 Inches Wider.

       With a pen trace around the kite frame an extra 2 inches.

Step 7: Cut Out Your Paper

Taking your scissors, cut out the diamond you just drew with your marker.

Step 8: Color Your Kite

      This is the most fun part in my opinion. Crack open your box of markers, crayons, or any drawing instrument and make your design. Mine is done in crayons (most fun), but other people used more adult tools like markers...etc. As long as you have fun. That's what counts.

Step 9: Tape the Paper to the Frame

Once you have finished your design, place it under your frame with the picture facing outward underneath. Tape the paper around the string, working your way around. You need to fold the corners down to make it easy to attach anything you might need later like the bridle or a flashy ribbon tail.

Step 10: Attach the Bridle and String to Fly It.

Now that you've finished your kite, you need to fly it. To do this, you need to attach a piece of string called the "bridle" from one side to the other. The piece should be fairly long and form a triangle with the base. This is how you control the kite to fly it. In the middle of the bridle or piece of string, tie your kite line to fly it. At least 100 ft. is ideal, many kite lines are closer to 500 feet.

Step 11: Optional Last Step: Add a Tail

As a fun optional last step, add a tail from the bottom with ribbon, tissue paper, or paper. People will tie all kinds of things to the end of their kite to give it stability. Viola, you have the perfect instant paper kite. Happy flying! Go enjoy this beautiful windy fall weather we're having.

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, thanks for introducing a great way to having family fun and spending quality time together. Kids are so proud of their creations and then see them flying high in the sky is so exciting. But, we want everybody to have a great experience, so, may I recommend doing some research to broaden one's kite knowledge. There are some technical guide lines to follow for good flight that can be found on the searching kites. As an example the bow shape on the horizontal stick must be towards the back ,some diamond kites need tails, the angle at which the kite flys (called angle of attack) is important to cause the kite to rise. is a great place to find such information.

    Happy Flying, keep the wind at your back.



    8 years ago on Introduction

    Those pictures are really cool. I have made homemade kites before but yall look like yall are having a lot of fun.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    One could argue that the tail isn't optional. The kite needs some form of drag to keep it upright while in flight. A tail accomplished that. Without one, the kite will flip wildly in the wind and be unpredictable. The way to get around without a tail would be to put a bow in your horizontal member. A 2-3" (5-7.5 cm) bow should be sufficient.

    Those kites look like a lot of fun and I wish you luck! Things are just so much more fun with something that was made by your own two hands.

    Haus Page
    Haus Page

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Some people flew theirs without the tail just fine so that's why I posted it as optional. There's a Middle School OM group making a bunch of these (Nick's class) next week so we'll see how it works in a larger test group. I don't think that they had to bow theirs to work, but I will let you know after I find out more. Still tails do help a lot with gusty NC weather to keep them from crashing.


    This is an excellent post. It looks like you guys had a lot of fun making the kites too. Do they get good lift?

    Haus Page
    Haus Page

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, we did. Surprisingly for something we threw together in an hour...these things fly pretty well. It's a new take on the old newspaper kites our grandfathers used to make with modern craft tools to help cut down on finishing time which you might be familar with. You can literally do this one morning from scratch quickly and go out to spend the rest of day enjoying the weather.