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How to Build a Homemade Kite


This instruction set will teach you how to create a fun working kite with everyday household materials. When I was 8 years old I followed these steps to make my own kites. This is a good activity to do with your family or by yourself if you live in a windy area. All you will need are some straight sticks, a plastic bag, tape, string, and scissors. It will take about 30 minute to complete the kite and the instructions can be completed with or without adult supervision. This kite can easily be constructed even with limited space to work. Basic knowledge of how to tie knots, use scissors, and use tape are the only skills required.

Instruction Set By: Stephen Pitterle 4/5/2014

Time to Complete: 20 - 50 Minutes Recommended Ages: 3 - 8 (With Adult Assistance) 8 + (Unassisted)


Table of Contents
Overview Cautions Materials Needed Making the Kite Tips for Flying the Kite Page 2 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 7

Overview
Here are the basic steps to making a homemade kite; you can find the detailed process below. 1. Cut the plastic into a kite shape 2. Place the sticks on the plastic to form a cross and cut the sticks to the correct size 3. Tie the sticks together with string where they cross in the middle 4. Tape the plastic onto the cross shaped frame at the tips. 5. Tie string to the frame in a cross shape so that the kite string pulls evenly on both sticks 6. Cut more plastic into thin strips to form the kite tails 7. Attach the tails to the kite at the bottom and to the 2 sides 8. Attach the rest of the string to the frame created in step 5 9. Fly your kite and adjust the balance based on how it flies

Cautions
Use of scissors may be dangerous for young Children. Children under the age of 8 should be observed or assisted in the use of scissors. Attempting to cut thick sticks may dull scissors.

Materials Needed
1. Scissors - Scissors will be used to cut the plastic and the sticks 2. Tape - Tape will be used to attach the plastic to the frame - Clear Scotch tape is preferred 3. Plastic Bag - The plastic bag will form the part of the kite that catches the air and makes the kite fly. It is easiest to use a plastic Garbage Bag but if no Garbage Bag is available then 3 or 4 plastic Grocery Bags can be used instead

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4. Straight Sticks - You will need at least 2 - Go outside and find some thin straight sticks about 2 feet in length. The sticks should be light weight and less than 1/4 inch thick. - If you do not have a supply of sticks, dowel rods can be used. Dowel rods can be purchased at a hobby store. 1/8 inch or 3/16 inch thickness is preferred 5. String - You will need 3 feet of string to make the kite and about 50 feet of string to fly the kite - Actual kite string is ideal as it is light and strong and will make flying your kite easier. - Any thin light string can be used or even very light weight fishing line 6. Marker (optional) - A marker can be used to help plan where to cut the plastic 7. Ruler / Yardstick (optional) - A ruler or yardstick can be used to measure and to help make straight cuts

Making the Kite


1. Cut the plastic into a kite shape Instructions are given for how to use a grocery bag, if using a garbage bag skip step 1.1 1.1 Flatten the bag on the table and cut off .5 to 1 from the bottom as shown. Also cut off the handles at the top of the bag.

After this you should have a single larger doubled piece of plastic. You will need to unfold the flaps at the corners so that you have a single flat sheet 1.2 Flatten then fold the plastic in half as shown

1.3 Draw a pattern for you kite and cut out the pattern Tip: If using a shopping bag try to make the kite as big as possible and maintain a kite shape. If using a garbage bag you can make the kite much bigger, but be careful you dont make it bigger than your sticks! You should now have a 2 separate kite shaped pieces. Note: Save any extra plastic you will need it later 2. Place the sticks on the plastic to form a cross and cut the sticks to the correct size Tip: You can leave a little bit of extra room on either end of the plastic and trim it later. It is better to have sticks that are too long than too short.

3. Tie the sticks together with string where they cross in the middle 3.1 Cut a piece of string 6 to 12 inches long 3.2 Tie the string to one of the sticks. Make sure the knot is located close to the cross in the middle. 3.3 Wrap the string around the cross formed by the sticks. Make sure you wrap in multiple directions so that the cross is full secured 3.4 Tie the string so that it holds the connection firmly. 3.5 Cut off any extra string 4. Tape the plastic onto the cross shaped frame at the tips Take a 2 inch piece of tape and place it on end of the stick so that it connects the stick to the plastic as shown. There should be extra tape that you can wrap around to the other side of the kite. Do this for all 4 corners of the kite. Note: Make sure the plastic is attached firmly to the frame. After attaching one corner pull the plastic tight before attaching the other corners. 5. Tie string to the frame in a cross shape so that the kite sting pulls evenly on both sides of the stick 5.1 Cut 2 separate 12 inch lengths of string 5.2 Tie one end of the string to a location below the cross and the other end of the string to a location above the cross. Repeat for both stick beams At this point the strings should look like this 5.3 Adjust where the strings are tied so that when pulled away from the kite there is a 2-3 inch gap between the string and the frame 5.4 Place a piece of tape on all 4 knots so that the sting stays fixed in place on the stick Note: The location where these strings are attached may have to be adjusted later to allow the kite to have proper balance when flow

6. Cut more plastic into thin strips to form the kite tails. 6.1 Take any extra plastic you have from the garbage bag or another grocery bag and cut it into thin strips about half an inch to an inch wide 6.2 Using the tape attach the thin strips of plastic together into longer strips 6.3 Make 2 tails, 1-2 feet long and attach them to the sides of the kite as shown 6.4 Make 1 or 2 tails, 5-6 feet long and attach them to the bottom of the kite Note: The tails help to balance the kite so more tails may have to be added to either side if the kite spins to one side. If the kite is having trouble staying vertical more tails may need to be added to the bottom. 7. Attach the tails to the kite at the sides and on the bottom Use tape to attach the tails made in step 6 to the kite Note: The tails can easily become tangled with each other. The kite will fly best if the tails are free to fly.

8. Attach the rest of the string to the frame created in step 5 Attach the rest of string that will be used to fly the kite to the string frame created in step 5. You will need around 50 feet of string to properly fly the kite. Tip: You want the string to attach to the kite so that when the string is pulled the force is evenly distributed on the kite. You may have to test the kite a little bit to get it properly balanced. 9. Fly your kite and adjust the balance based on how it flies Note your kite will probably not fly properly on the first try. See Tips for Flying Your Kite for how to make your kite fly smoothly.

Tips for Flying Your Kite


Here are some common problems that may occur with your kite and how to fix them. The Kite is not Balanced Properly You will know your kite is not balanced properly if it will not fly straight. It may constantly turn to one direction or it may just never gain height because it just flips around. How to fix: If the kite is turning to the left add more tails to the right side of the kite. The extra weight on the other side should make it fly up instead of side to side. If the kite is turning to the right add more tails to the left side. If the kite will not gain height but merely flips itself around so that the wrong side is facing you add more tails to the bottom of the kite. The extra weight on the bottom should help keep the top of the kite pointed up. The String is not Pulling Evenly on the Kite If the Kite seems to be properly balance but it still will not fly well it may be because the kite string was not connected properly in step 5 or step 8. How to fix: Adjust the location of the string attached to the sticks. Hold the sting in your hand and pull the kite around you. You can run pulling the kite as well. Observe what the kite does as you pull it. If the string is attached in the proper location the kite will be stable and not turn or flip around. If this does not happen adjust the string so that it pulls evenly on all 4 sides of the kite. When you test the kite it should be stable keep adjusting it until it flies smoothly. The Kite is Too Heavy You will know if your kite is too heavy if it simply will not get high in the air. This could also be an indication that it is not windy enough to fly a kite at the moment. How to fix: If your kite is too heavy take off some of the tails. As long as your kite remains balanced you will not need as many tails. If the kite is still too heavy you may need to start over and make the kite using fewer materials or just make the kite bigger. A small kite does not have very much area for the wind to hit and therefore it must be lighter or it will not fly well.