Introduction: How to Make a Basic Kite
I thought that this contest would be a great excuse for me to make something I have always wanted to make: a kite. With Isaias coming it has gotten more and more windy so it is perfect conditions to try to make something that is wind powered. There are many different kite designs out there but I wanted to keep this one as simple as possible so I went with a classic kite shape. Building this kinda inspired me to look into other kite designs and try to do those such as building a sled kite or a box kite. Anyways let's get into it.
Most of these materials are easy to find at home. I used the following to build and make the kite.
1/16 Fiberglass rods or alternatively you could use 1/16 wood dowels
Heavy-Duty Trash Bag
Tape Measure or Ruler
Step 1: Prep Crossbars
The dimensions of my kite are quite small compared to other kites I have seen/have. I made the main vertical bar 16 inches long while my crossbar was 8 inches long. I found that most kite plans for this type of kite make the crossbar 1/2 the length of the vertical bar. I then measured 4 inches down from the top of the vertical bar and marked it so I knew where my crossbar would go. I just eye balled how far down to place the crossbar and thought 4 was a good number. It largely depends on your dimensions. Because fiberglass rods slide easily against each other I thought it would be a good idea to sand and cut a notch where my crossbar is placed.
If you are using wood you might not need to cut a notch for the crossbar but it definitely will make it sturdier.
You will also need to cut notches on the ends of the bars. I cut mine deep enough for me to be able to put two diameters of string through it.
Step 2: Attach Crossbar
To attach the crossbar I used string and electrical tape. I used something similar to a square lashing to attach it with the string and then covered it with tight electrical tape which gave it extra strength. I started out with a clove hitch on the vertical bar which gave a strong starting point and then wrapped it around the two rods. I also ended with another clove hitch on the vertical bar. Be sure to pinch the lashing by passing the string around the lashing to tighten it! Refer to the pictures to get a better idea.
Step 3: Create Frame
A kite needs more support than just two bars in a cross formation. It needs to have some sort of outline to make it structured. To do this I used string that passes through the notches around the perimeter of the kite. First I tied yet another clove hitch to the vertical bar down at the bottom. This is the starting point. I then passed the string through the bottom notch going to the crossbar notch and then the top of the vertical bar notch. I made sure the string was tight and the two bars were straight and the way I wanted them and then continued down to where I started originally. I then proceeded to wind the string a couple times around the bottom and finished off with another clove hitch and wound with electrical tape. This should create a tight frame for your kite mesh.
Step 4: Mesh Time!
Now that you have a frame you can cut the trash bag needed to make it fly. To do this cut a square of the plastic bag a little bigger than the size of your frame. I then folded it in half and traced/cut the outline of the frame so that it would be a symmetrical cut. I then unfolded it and then put my frame on top of it. Now, to attach the frame I used electrical tape at the ends and left the straight edges open. I thought this would help with stability a little.
Step 5: Bridle System
Now it is time to attach the bridle system. This is very basic compared to other kites. It consists of two strings that run the length of both the vertical and horizontal bars. I cut my string so that there was 3 inches of clearance between the kite and the string. I used a clove hitch then electrical tape to attach the string to the frame. I crossed my vertical string under the horizontal but I don't think it matters. I then straight attached my kite line to where the two strings cross. Make sure this does not slip! You want the kite line to be directly above the intersection point of both rods or else the kite wont fly right!.
An upgrade to this would be to attach a swivel and snap so you can change out kite line and not have it get twisted but I didn't have one around.
Step 6: Tail Time!
For this type of kite it is important to have a tail. It creates drag with results in making the kite more stable. I made my tail about 4 or 5 feet long. I just cut thin strips of the plastic bag and tied them together using a simple overhand knot and then taped it to the bottom of my kite. You can tie small strips horizontally too! Really you just want the end to be draggy so its stable.
Step 7: Fly Your Kite!
Alright now its time to fly your new kite! Just put it in some medium wind and it should take off just fine.
I hope you enjoyed my instructable and if you liked it please consider voting for it in the Make it Fly Speed Challenge!
Runner Up in the
Make It Fly Speed Challenge