Introduction: DIY Recycled Material Kite
I love my three cats, but it is my job to change their litter every week! I don’t mind this that much because I love my cats and want them to be happy, however, I noticed that we go through a lot of litter bags. I also noticed that the material is very light and durable and so I wondered, wouldn’t it be perfect for a kite! The answer is yes it is perfect, so grab your tools and some trash we’re going to build a kite, not just any kite though, we're going to build the Kitty-Litter Delta!!
Step 1: Materials
First off we need our materials and tools to build the kite, they are as follows:
- Two 20+lb cat litter bags (you can try using other materials, but these are what worked best for me)
- Wood, bamboo, fiberglass, or plastic rods that are durable, light and thin (about pencil thickness)
- You will need the following lengths:
- 2 - 24-inch rods
- 2 - 27-inch rods
- You will need the following lengths:
- One cereal bag
- A hole puncher
- Yard Stick
- Angle Protractor
- Kite Spool (or any strong and long string spool)
- String (separate from the flying spool)
- Sharpie (aesthetical purposes only)
Step 2: Prepping the Litter Bags
In order to build the kite, you will have to cut everything to the right size. Start by removing the top and bottom stitches of the bag with scissors. Then find the seal lengthwise seal on the back of the bag, pull it apart to make the bag into a flat sheet. Now, from the cat litter bags you will need to cut three triangles with the following dimensions:
- Sides - 21in - 21in - 27in Angles - 50° - 50° - 80°
Sides - 21in - 21in - 27in Angles - 50° - 50° - 80°
Sides - 10in - 17in - 20in Angles - 30° - 60° - 90°
Be sure to draw out the triangles to make sure they fit before cutting! If you want to use a larger bag and make larger triangles, use the angles above with large proportional side lengths (comment below if you need assistance with this).
Once the triangles are cut you will want to put a slight concave cut into the backs of the triangles, this can be confusing as the triangles are isosceles and have two congruent sides. In order to cut them the right way orient them to match the last picture so that the longest sides are facing out towards you, and two of the short sides are facing each other like they are mirrored. Cut along the two short furthest away sides so that they are concaved about one inch in the center of the side.
Step 3: Assembling the Kite
To assemble the Kitty-Litter Delta you will first need to get all of the tools pictured, this includes, triangle pieces, tape, scissors, and rods. Also, use the last picture to remember where the top, front, and back of the kite are.
Start by taping the two short sides that are not curved, they should barely overlap when you tape them, about 1/4 inch. Tape one of the shorter rods to the center of the bottom where the two pieces overlap one end of the stick should stick out at the back of the kite. Next, take the small triangle and line it up with the center rod so that the smallest angle (30°) so that it lines up with the end of the stick, look at the fourth picture for reference. Tape the small triangle in place by threading the tape under the main rod and connecting to both sides of the small triangle.
Then, tape the longer rods to the sides of the bottom of the kite so that they stabilize the sides of the kite, see the second to last picture for reference.
Finally, take the other short rod and position it on the top perpendicular to the center rod underneath. Tape the rod on the kite so both ends end on the edges of the sides of the kite like in the last picture.
Step 4: Making a Tail
To make the tail you will need a cereal bag, scissors, sharpies, paper, and an iron. Start by flattening the cereal bag and then cut it into about 1 inch wide crosswise strips. you will need at least nine. If you want to make them colorful use the sharpies or any very permanent marker to color them now.
Once you have cut nine strips and colored them to your liking heat up your iron. Set up your ironing board with paper on top of it, you do not want the plastic to touch either the board or the iron. Line up two strips so that they overlap about an inch, place a piece of paper on them and iron them for a few seconds. In order to make the tail long enough, you will have to attach three strips together. Finally, layer the ends of the three complete sections and using paper and the iron fuse the ends together as seen in the last picture. The finished product should look like the one in the following step.
Step 5: Finial Steps
Adding the Tail:
Using the tape from before, wrap the end of the tail to keep the layers fused together. Next, use a hole puncher to make a small hole in the middle of the tape as pictured. At the smallest angle of the small triangle at the back of the kite bunch a hole to attach the tail. Using separate string from the flying spool tie the tail to the end of the kite where you punched the hole.
Adding the Sting:
At the very bottom of the kite attach the flying spool of string to the kite, you can tape it or make a hole, I simply taped it to the bottom of the kite.
Once everything has been attached and finished make sure everything is secure and matches the pictures. Add extra tape if any of the rods seem likely to fall off.
Step 6: Flying the Kitty-Litter Delta
Now let's fly your new kite! Try to pick a day with moderate wind, too little or too much will not work well, about 5-20mph, never fly in a storm of any kind! Try to find a clear area to fly, like a field or beach, that doesn't have trees, powerlines etc. Next, make sure your kite string is secured you don't want your kite to fly away. Once you are ready, stand with your back to the wind and hold the very bottom of the kite where the string attaches so that it is facing you. Hold the kite above you until it catches the wind, you may need to give it a head start by running it against the wind. If the kite doesn't catch the wind a pull upward you may need to pick a windier day. If you succeed in launching the kite you can slowly feed it string to get it higher, when you want to bring it down just start winding the string back around the spool. Make sure the spool always has pressure holding it down, your kite could pull it up if not. Good luck and enjoy flying!!
If you wish to read more about kites, here are two good sources:
Step 7: Conclusion
I like to end every project I do with a short conclusion to talk about the process and my experiences.
A few months ago I bought a Stowaway Delta for just under $50. I was very happy with it, however, I wanted to see how hard it was to make my own, using trash. Once I found my materials I started to build, at first I wanted to make it with hot glue, however, I had very little at the time and it didn't hold very well. Although it's not very pretty I decided to use tape, it needed to be strong so I used book-binding tape, but duck tape should work too. Once I assembled everything trying to make it similar to mine and other delta kites. At first, when I tried to fly it, it failed completely, it either wouldn't generate its own lift, or it would nose dive immediately. I fixed both problems by moving the bottom triangle forward to match what my directions now say. And what do you know it flies perfectly now, almost as good as my professional grade one I bought! I am very pleased with my results and hope you try this project too.
If you have any problems or questions don't hesitate to comment below!
Participated in the
Trash to Treasure