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How to Make a DIY Kite for the Whole Family to Enjoy

It's that time of year where there is a slight cool breeze in the air.  With the cool air and breeze blowing, this is the perfect time to fly a kite with your kids.  If you don't have a kite or are wanting to do a family activity, you may want to consider making your own kite.  Making a kite isn't as hard as you may think it is.  In this article I have included three different kite designs to consider trying. One of them only requires two steps, while the other two are slightly more difficult.  However, all three of these kites are fun to make and do not require too much work.  Have fun making kites!

Supplies Needed

The supplies needed will vary among the different types of DIY kites.  As you'll see shortly, there are many design ideas that you can use.  Because each design requires slightly different supplies, I've separated the supplies needed under each design type.  So find a design you'd like to try, and come back to view the supplies needed.

Simple Two-Step DIY Kite Supplies:

  •  A roll of clear contact paper
  • A ball of string
  • Straws (two for the width, three for the length)
  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon

Square Wax Paper Kite Supplies:

  • 1 wax paper 14 x 20 inch (36x51cm), white (sail)
  • 4 thin bamboo sticks: cross 2x 23 3/4 inch (60cm); spine 1x 19 1/2inch (48cm); strut 1x 14inch (36cm)
  • Tissue paper 1 x 5 inch (2.5×12.5cm), yellow, blue, magenta, violett
  • 7 sheets of copy paper 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch (4x4cm), (patches)
  • 2 sheets of crepe paper 2 inch x 2,7 yards (5x250cm), yellow (tail)
  • 20m twine (extra strong)
  • Keyring (small)
  • Tape roll (handle)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • PVA Glue
  • Glue stick
  • Q-Tip and bottle cup
  • Toothpick

Beautiful Fun Shaped Kite Supplies:

  • Spool of basket weaving reed that measure 2-3.5 millimeter in diameter
  • Large colored wax paper and/or colored tissue paper
  • Quilting thread or heavy duty thread
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

Design Ideas to Try

Like I said above, there are so many designs you can try.  Some are more simple than others, such as the Simple Two-Step DIY Kite.  There are also kites that are a little harder to make, such as the Beautiful Fun Shaped Kites.  But one thing that all of these kites have in common is that they result in beautiful, fun kites that can be used on a windy day.

Simple Two-Step DIY Kite

This is a very easy DIY kite to make.  It only has two steps.  Remember that if you want to know the supplies needed, scroll up to the section above.

  1. Tie the straws together at the center with string.  Cut contact paper into two diamond shapes.  Peel the backing off one and place the sticky side up.  Press the straws onto paper.
  2. Cut the tissue paper into fun shapes.  Then stick the tissue paper shapes all over the contact paper, and then top with the second diamond sheet.  Loop a string around each corner, and tie them together for the bridle.  Add a ribbon tail.

Image Source: Good Housekeeping

Square Wax Paper Kite

This DIY kite has a little more steps than the previous one.  It is still fairly easy to make though.  Young kids can help decorate, and older kids can help build the kite with adult supervision.  For information on the supplies needed, go back and look under the "Supplies Needed" section of this article.

  1.  Fold the sail in half and open up again.  Fold 1″ to the top and open up again.  Glue the 14″-stick to the upper part of the kite and fold in the paper (14″-side).  Glue the paper over it.  For the spine, cover the 19″-stick with glue and glue it to the middle.
  2. Glue the 2 cross-sticks (23 3/4″) across the paper.
  3. Glue the 7 white paper patches to the paper, with the paper going over the bottom and top of each stick.
  4. Cut squares from the colored tissue paper and decorate the kite.  Young kids can help for this step.
  5. Make two holes with the toothpick in the middle, left, and right of the spine.
  6. Cut a piece of twine and tie it to the upper sticks on the left.  Make a second knot to the right and wind up the twine until you get a bow (stick-side shows upwards).
  7. The width, or top left to top right of the kite measures 2×18 1/2″(48cm) and the length, or middle of the kite measures 15″ (38.5cm).  Cut the twine a bit longer for both.  Tie it to the top left, then tie it to the right corner.  Make a larks head in the middle and add it to the keyring.  For the middle make a pigtail with stopper knot.  Measure and put it through the two holes in the middle and tie it twice.  Add it to the keyring.
  8. Take the twine and tie it to the inner tape roll.  Wind it all up.  This step is important so that when you fly your kite, the wind doesn't blow it away.  Make a pigtail knot at the end.
  9. Glue the two tails to the bottom left and right.
  10. Your kite is ready to fly.  Have fun with it.

Image Source: Handmade Charlotte

Beautiful Fun Shaped Kites

Although it requires few supplies, this DIY kite is probably the most difficult to make.  However, the results are adorable.  You can make this kite in any shape you'd like, including flowers, insects, animals, and more.  Because this is more difficult to make, younger kids will definitely need help on it.

  1. Begin by drawing a picture of your kite on a piece of paper.  Think about the overall kite construction as a series of ovals, circles, tear drops, and half circles.  These shapes can be assembled and then tied together.  Don't forget to draw on your diagram where the tie is going to be.
  2. Take a reed, cut it to size and securely tie the ends together by looping quilting thread very tightly around and over a dozen times.  Tie a good end knot that cannot easily come undone.
  3. Begin making the frame.  It may look something like this (this is a butterfly shaped kite):

Image Source: Red Ted Art

4. Cut wax paper/tissue paper in the same shape as the frame except that it should be 1 inch bigger all around.  Cut notches about 1/2 inch apart around the circumference of the wax paper shape.

5. Apply the glue stick on the edges and then fold over so as to cover the bamboo frame.

6. Use tissue paper and contact paper to decorate the kite.

7. Now you can attach kite string onto the decorated face of the kite.  You can do this by using a sewing needle and looping it through the contact paper and reeds.  The placement depends on the kite design itself but you'll want to try to find 2-3 areas to string, and then those strings can be joined together at a point about 12 inches from the kite.  Next, take a longer kite string and tie it to the center point.

Image Source: Red Ted Art

Great Materials to Use

There are so many different materials you can use to make a kite.  Here are some ideas:

For the sails:

  • Paper:  Newspaper, tissue paper, and wrapping paper are all great to use.
  • Plastic:  A plastic trash bag makes a great kite sail.
  • Ripstop Nylon:  Lightweight, strong, and available in a large variety of colors, ripstop is a great material to use.  However, when making a ripstop nylon kite, you need to have good sewing skills.

For the flying line:

  • Cotton:  Cotton is a lightweight and inexpensive option for the flying line.
  • Nylon/Polyester:  Inexpensive and widely available, this is the most popular material for kite flying lines.  Nylon/polyester lines are available in a variety of thicknesses and braids.  Braided lines tend not to tangle when laid on the ground.
  • Spectra:  Ideal for performance stunt flying, this line is much thinner and has less stretch than nylon/polyester line.

For the frame:

  • Bamboo:  This is a traditional kite making material.
  • Carbon Fiber:  This is light material that is recommended for stunt kites.
  • Dowel:  This is one of the best frame materials.  It is lightweight and affordable.
  • Fiberglass:  Fiberglass rods are very durable.

Image Source: Brisbane Kids

Ways to Get Your Kids Involved in Kite Making

Because some of these homemade kites are more difficult to make, it can be hard to know how to involve your kids.  Here are some tips:

  • Have your kids choose the design they want.  If you make a kite like the last one, have them choose a shape they'd like.
  • Once you have constructed the frame of the kite, have your kids help decorate the kite.  Depending on how many kites you are making, you can have each kid decorate his or her kite.
  • If you have older kids, you may want to let them make the entire kite themselves.
  • Once your kids are done making their kites, let them take the kites outside to fly them.

Image Source: Science ABC

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped you understand how to make a kite.  It can be a fun family project to make your own kites.  While kites can be bought at a cheap price from the store, it can be fun to make your own.  In this article I've included three different kite designs that you can make. Although a couple of them require more steps, they are all fun to make.  I've also included in this article ways to get your kids involved in making kites.  Have fun making homemade kites!

Image Source: Simple as That

Mariann Foster

I am one of our content writers for Everything Backyard. I am a mother and business owner of Big Horn Mountain Alpacas in Wyoming. I love farm life, cutting my own firewood in the mountains, and participating in local trail run races.

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