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Kite Making and Flying Fun!
Spring Crafts : Explore Kite Building & Kit-Flying Safety Tips

Explore Kite Building & Kite-Flying Safety Tips

Flying KiteSpring Fling: Go Fly a Kite!

Building and flying a kite on a warm breezy spring day is one of life's simple pleasures. You could enjoy the experience with a cheap plastic kite bought from the store, but you'll have lots more fun building your own! To help you in this creative pursuit, the following kite building resources, trivia, safety tips, and personal stories will inspire you to kite flying fun!

Highly-Recommended Kite-Making Materials & Flying Safety Tips:

  • Kite Integrity: Make sure your kite is in good condition (without tears, rips, bends, etc. in the material and structure) before attempting to fly it.
  • Strong String: Don't skimp on the string! Check the integrity of your kite string. If it's knotted, worn, or shredding in places, throw it out and buy new string made for kite flying.
  • Your Surroundings: Be aware of your surroundings and other people's space when flying your kite.
  • Spacious Space: Always fly kites in an open area away from trees, power lines, and other obstacles.
  • Weather Permitting: Never fly a kite if it's too windy or raining. If a storm is brewing, it's time to put the kite away.
  • Watch for Traffic: Use caution when flying kites near roads with traffic.
  • Be a Smart Flyer: Never let go of your kite string (to chase for fun) because you might not be able to catch it again. Once the kite is out of your control, it may soar into roadways (and cause traffic accidents!), tree tops, bodies of water, and other places you'll never be able to get it back from. Hang onto that string and fly your kite responsibly.
  • Know How Much String You Have: Keep an eye on your string reserves, and be sure the end of the string is secured to its core or spindle so it doesn't slip away and disappear with your kite.
  • Avoid Crossing Lines: Don't let your kite cross lines with other kites. It may get damaged, tangled, or get its string cut. For that matter, don't fly your kite where small model airplanes are being flown, rockets are being launched, or flocks of birds are flying about.

The Key to Kite Making

Q: How can I make a kite like Benjamin Franklin's old historical kite with the key on the string?

A: Ever since he discovered electricity with that 'key on a kite string' stunt, Ben Franklin seems to be the father of the diamond shaped kite.

Though we don't recommend trying to rediscover electricity, you'll be pleased to know that Ben left his original kite making instructions with us, and thanks to PBS, you can learn how to make that Franklin-style kite here: Benjamin Franklin Kite Making Instructions.

The site features Illustrated Web and printable instructions for making a diamond-shaped kite, plus Ben's original kite making instructions from the 1752 Pennsylvania Gazette.

Soaring Creative Kite Making Instruction

The Urban Ninja: A Synergetic Low-Wind Kite Project
A plan showing the making of an active zero to light wind single line kite, the Urban Ninja. The article also shows the geometry and the relevant parts of a kite and treats the basic principles of adjustments.

Go Fly a Kite with Recycled Materials
Kite making lesson from the Imagination Factory. "Today's kites are made of cloth, paper, plastic and other synthetic materials, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They range in price from a dollar to hundreds of dollars, but you can save money by making your own kite. If you recycle materials to do this, you'll help conserve landfill space and natural resources, too.

How to Draw a Kite: Free Drawing Lesson
This whimsical drawing lesson by Joy Sikorski is a great primer in kite making. Learn about the basic construction of a diamond shape kite by drawing one yourself!

Homemade Kite Building Plans
An extensive guide to 25 kites that fly and how to construct them (some printable diagrams included). Topics include 2- and 3-stick frames, plane-surface kites, tail-less kites, compound kites, flying hints, accessories, and other useful kite making information.

Kite Tales

Kite Tales: Learning How to Fly

By Chris Dunmire

I was six years old when I learned about the relationship between kite flying and the month of May. It came from the calendars hanging high on the wall above the blackboard in our first grade classroom. Each month expressed a theme: January had Cupid. February had Valentine hearts. April had umbrellas. And May had kites. I never forgot the diamond-shaped kite with the flowing tail gracing the month of May.That's how I remember when kite season begins. Through the years I've flown my share of cheap plastic and nylon kites. I've had diamond-shaped kites and triangle-shaped kites (triangles fly the best!). I made my own circle kite in a junior high school workshop. I managed to get it in the air, but there was something extremely disappointing about it.

Like Charlie Brown, some of my kites ended up in trees. I remember my brand-new red triangle kite with big sticker eyes and yellow flames decorating it. Within minutes of its virgin soar, it was eaten by the silver maple tree in our front yard. That's when I realized that kites shouldn't be flown so close to home. I lost another kite when I listened to a respected adult tell me to "let the string go and chase it." I didn't run fast enough. My last glimpse was seeing it soar high towards kite heaven. I prayed with all my might that it didn't come down somewhere a mile later and wreak havoc. I fearfully peeked at the newspaper headlines the next day and was relieved that I was in the clear.

I still love kites and the free spirit-ness they promote. When I see the new store displays of cheap plastic kites and cores of string during spring, I impulsively add them to my cart. There is such childlike joy in finding an empty field on a breezy day and getting that thing high into the air. It may last only a flight or two, but the experience takes me to a place of wonderment and deepens my appreciation for simple pleasures. •

More Kite Making Sources

Grandfather's Kite Instructions
Free kite making pattern and instructions for a classic style triangle kite out of recycled materials (newspaper and old sheet or other fabric).

How to Make a Ribbon Tailed Kite
Illustrated instructions for a simple diamond shaped kite with a ribbon tail, plus information on the history of kites and how a kite flies.

Garbage Bag and other Soft Plastic Kites
Learn how to make a kite out of a garbage bag or other piece of soft plastic (like shower curtains and painting tarps). Includes detailed instructions and triangle and semi-circle kite patterns.

Kids Norfolk Kite Making Demo
An online video from BBC demonstrating how to make a soaring kite.

Best Kite Designs for Fishing
If you plan on using a kite in the sport of fishing, you'll find this guide on fishing kites useful. "With kite fishing, the importance of choosing the right design of kite for the fishing rig and area you are fishing can not be over emphasized."

20 Kids * 20 Kites * 20 Minutes
Do you want to turn your classroom into a fun kite making factory? Check out Uncle Jonathan's easiest classroom kites ever with "complete time-tested instructions to get 20 kids making their own kites and flying them in 20 minutes."