How to Build a Kite

When building a kite, you want to have a kite with the largest exposed surface area and the lightest weight possible. This combination provides the greatest strength and the maximum amount of lift. Kites of moderate size are most likely to work well and are easy to assemble.

Tying the Joints
Never drive nails or tacks through the sticks as they will split under pressure. In smaller kites, tying will hold any stick crossing or joint very well. Tying will generally suffice for larger models if small notches are cut in the edges of each stick to hold the tie string firmly. Brushing glue over a tied joint will make it even firmer.

When you graduate to larger box kites, tying the corners is not going to be sufficient to hold the sticks together. Gluing, under the pressure of clamps while the glue dries, is needed to make a joint strong.

The Bow of the Cross Stick
In small kites, where a bow is needed, it can be produced by attaching a cord shorter than the cross stick to the ends of this stick with a loop slipped over each end.

After the frame is made, you should cut the covering to size leaving a border of material larger by a couple of inches than the actual kite size. This edge can be folded back around the border string of stick and be fastened to the covering with whatever adhesive is best for that material. Tissue paper is very good for small and medium kites. Cloth, particularly silk or nylon, is still very useful for large models, but cellophane and plastic, easily fastened with cellophane tape, work well.

Backyard Kite

Materials: trash bags, 1/2" flat wood moulding, kite string

Instructions: Each father/ child team will be able to produce this kite during one long activity period. Take 2 pieces of the lightest weight moulding you can buy, one piece longer than the other. Place them perpendicular to each other and lash them together at the crossing. Cut a slot at each end (4 slots total). Using regular string, pass through each slot until you have created a kite shape without the fabric. Again using string, tie one piece to the top of the kite, stretch it to the bottom and tie it onto the bottom. Do the same for the cross piece. Where these two strings cross, tie your kite string. Next, spread out a heavy plastic trash bag. Lay the kite shape face down (string up) on the plastic. Fold over the edges, trim and glue together.