Kite-making has been a tradition all over the world for thousands of years. Kites are used for ceremonies, celebrations, fun, and even battles. Every person should fly a kite at least once in their life, but what if you do not have the budget for a kite or if you do not have access to buying a kite? Paper kites are the solution! Here is how to make a flying kite with paper, a step-by-step guide!
Paper kites are inexpensive and easy to make. They come in many varieties and can be made from simple or complicated designs. All you need is paper, a ruler, tape, a pencil, scissors, sticks or staws, thread, imagination, and time! Paper kites fly well, look great, and can be flown by anyone.
Making a paper kite is great fun for everyone. There are simple designs that can be made by children or novice kite makers, and there are complicated designs for those who are looking for more of a challenge. Whichever kite you choose, making a paper kite is worth the time and effort! Let’s go over how to make various paper kites, the materials that you require, and how well these kites fly!
What Do You Need To Make A Paper Kite?
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There are many various types of paper kites, each of which is unique and have their own building process and methods.
However, there are a few basic tools, supplies, and implements that are required to make paper kites, regardless of their design or complexity.
Some paper kites can be made with items that everyone already has in their homes, and others may require some extras that may need to be specifically purchased to build the kite.
The list of basic items and tools required for building any paper kite is as follows:
- Paper for the mainsail/sails of the kite.
- Adhesive tape to attach the parts of the kite together (preferably as lightweight as possible).
- Sticks, straws, or skewers to use as struts and supports for the kite.
- Scissors to cut and shape the paper for the kite.
- A ruler for making measurements, folding along, and cutting straight lines.
- A pencil for drawing lines and marking measurements.
- A hole-punch/sharp skewer for making holes in paper.
- Sewing thread, or kite string – as lightweight and strong as possible.
- Every paper kite requires the same basic materials for construction, but the most important requirement is to enjoy the build! Take your time, follow the steps, make your kite unique, and have fun along the way.
Which Paper Is Best For A Paper Kite?
Paper kites have been designed and constructed all over the world for many, many years. They have been made from various types of paper and materials. the type of paper that is used for a kite largely impacts the way the kite is constructed and how well it flies.
Different types of paper are used to make the various kite types, and the paper that I used often determines the properties of the kite, such as size, shape, weight, design, and flying ability.
The paper that is used for making a kite is vital, but there are many different types of kites that can be made from each type of paper, so if you only have access to only one type of paper for kite making, do not feel held back in any way.
The main types of paper that are used for paper kite making in the modern world are:
- Standard A4 printer paper
- Letter paper
- Tissue paper
- Rice paper
- Gift wrapping paper
- Origami paper
The reality is, almost any type of paper can be used to make a paper kite. The success of the kite is dependant on the design that you use to make the kite out of the paper that you have.
Printer paper is much heavier than some other type of paper, so it should only be used to make kites that are more likely to fly and have a greater amount of lift than other kites, such as sled kites.
Newspaper is similar, but a little lighter than printer paper and is also only ideal for the more powerful kite types.
The very lightweight papers such as rice paper are ideal for smaller kites, simple kites, and indoor kites.
That being said, the ideal paper for making paper kites is tissue paper. This paper is very lightweight, easy to find, easy to work with, and almost any kite can be made from it.
Tissue paper is stronger than you may think, and it has been used to make many variations of traditional kites for generations.
Any paper can be used to make any kite design, but some papers work better for certain designs than others do. Experiment to find the best type of paper for your favorite kite design, or simply use whatever paper you already have! The sky is the limit!
How To Make A Flying Kite With Paper: Step-By-Step Guide
Constructing a flying paper kite is one of life’s great pleasures! There is nothing quite like it, and the time and effort that you put into building your kite will pay off in hours of enjoyment.
There are many different types of paper kites that can be built with regular paper and the simple household items and tools that we have mentioned above.
Let’s go through, step by step, how to make two of the best flying paper kites around, keeping it to the two most simple paper kites to construct.
The two types of paper kites that will be covered here are the Single-Sheet Paper Sled Kite, the Single-Cell Tetra Paper Kite. Both of these kites fly well, require only basic materials, and are simple to make!
Single-Sheet Paper Sled Kite: Step By Step
This simple kite requires very few materials and is very easy to make. It is the perfect kite for beginners as well because it does not require much wind at all to fly and is very easy to get off the ground!
For this kite, the materials you will require simply one piece of A4 printer paper, adhesive tape (preferably the ½” clear kind), sewing thread, and a hole punch/sharp skewer for making holes in the paper.
Step 1 – The Center Line: find the centerline of your A4 printer paper by bending the four verticle corners of the paper over so that both verticle edges of the paper meet. Try to be as accurate as possible.
Do not fold the paper; simply crimp the two centerline points that are found by bending the corners of the paper to meet. Lay the paper flat, and you should see to kinks in the paper. This is the centerline.
Step Two – Fold The Spars: fold the edges of the paper vertically so that both edges of the paper meet in the exact center of the page. Press firmly, and make the folds as sharp and crisp as possible.
Next, turn the page over and lift out one of the flaps. Turn the paper so that the flap faces you. Using both hands, grasp the folded seam of the flap, and fold a thin width of the paper underneath the main body of the paper. Apply a layer of tape all only the small fold to keep it in place.
This formes one of the spars of the kite, which provides integral support.
Repeat this step on the other flap of the paper, and try to make it symmetrical with the first spar.
Step Three – The Landing Edges: the paper should now be open with two spars equidistant from each other. The next step is to take two of the corners of the paper and bend the paper over to line them up.
Fold the two corners together into a triangle, then point down toward the bottom of the kite. Make sure that be fold are as firm and crisp as possible. This is important!
Open the kite, and there should be two downward flaps, one at the top of each edge of the paper. Press these folds down to be as close as possible, and then fold the flap backward on the same line, and press it down again.
Fold the flaps back and forth multiple times t weaken the paper and then use the seam to tear the triangle flap off of the paper.
Step Four – Install The Bridle: the bridle is important, as it is how the kite is controlled in the air.
At this point in the process, the kite should be able to bend inwards without folding the paper and have the two torn-off corners meet to form a downward angle at the top of the kite.
Once the paper is bent inwards so that the torn edges meet, use the hole punch or sharp skewer to make a hole through the paper, going through both sides, just below the upper corner of the torn edges.
Next, cut a piece of sewing thread to be at least 60cm (23.6”) long.
Open the paper back up, and tight one end of the thread through each hole without crumpling the paper. This will connect both sides of the kite sail together with the thread.
Find the centerline of the kite again, and tie a small loop into the thread exactly in line with the centerline of the kite.
Step 5 – Attach A Flying Line: the final step of building this kite is to attach the flying line, which is the line that you hold onto when flying a kite.
You may use a very long section of the sewing thread, or you may attach the kite to the entire spool of thread to allow for maximum flying height if you would like to.
Simply tie one end of the sewing thread onto the center loop of the bridle, and be sure that it is as tight as possible.
Step 6 – Fly The Kite: the kite is complete! The last thing left to do is to take it outdoors and fly it!
This kite requires only very light wind to fly well, and if there is no wind whatsoever, jog slowly with the kite trailing behind you to achieve lift-off.
Slow winds of 5 – 8kmph (3 – 5mph) are best for this kite, so do not try to fly it on a very windy day!
The Single-Cell Tetra Paper Kite: Step By Step
This paper kite is simple to make and beautiful to watch in the air, as it requires a tail to fly well, which makes it look majestic in flight.
All that is required for this kite is two sheets of printer paper, adhesive tape (3/4” preferably), scissors, a pencil, a ruler, and lightweight sewing thread.
Let’s go over the steps of making this simple yet elegant paper kite.
Step One – Construct The Sail: set a piece of paper in landscape orientation on a flat surface, and measure 20cm (8”) down each length of the paper, and make a mark on the edge of the page. Make another mark 20cm (8”) up from the bottom left of the page.
Draw a line from the last mark, horizontally across the page, until it is in line with the mark you made on the top edge of the page. Draw a line to connect each horizontal edge mark, and you should be left with a square marked off on the page, with a thin strip leftover at the top.
Cut the square out of the page, and save the leftover paper.
Step Two – Construct The Tail: place the second piece of paper on the flat surface in landscape orientation as before.
Measure and mark 20cm (8”) along the bottom horizontal of the page. Next, make four marks vertically on the page, each 5cm (1.9”) apart. Make the same marks on the left verticle edge of the page.
Connect the verticle marks with a line vertically, and make horizontal lines across the page where the marks line up, making four straight horizontal lines and one straight vertical line on the page.
Cut along all the lines to create four equally sized strips of paper. Tape the strips of paper together end to end and fold any excess tape over the edge of the paper.
Step Three – Split And Attach The Tail: place the original square of paper, the sail, in a diamond orientation on the flat surface. Line up the tail with the bottom point of the sail so that the corners of the tail are flush with the edges of the sail.
Tape the tail to the sale, front, and back. The front joint should be horizontal across the width of the tail, and the back joint should be attached with two pieces of tape placed in line with the edges of the sail and slightly folded over the tail.
Split the tail in half with the scissors, cutting in two directly up the middle. Start at the end of the tail not attached to the sail, and stop near the sail at the top of the sail. This should split the tail into two strips.
Step Four – Make a Towing Point And Crosspiece: find the centerline of the kite sail, and crease it sharply all the way from tip to tail. Make a small hole in the centerline about 9cm (3 ½”) from the tip of the sail. Lay two small squares of tape below the hole, on the tail side, right on top of each other.
Cut a 20cm x 5cm (8”x 2”) rectangle of paper from the leftover paper from before. Crease the rectangle very lightly all the way along its long centerline.
Hold the piece of paper horizontally, and roll it into a tube. Secure the tube with four pieces o tape, placed evenly along the tube. This forms the crosspiece.
Step Five – Attach Th Crosspiece: attach the crosspiece horizontally from one point of the sail to the other by flattening each end of the crosspiece and taping it as close to each horizontal point of the sail as possible.
Tape the crosspiece in very securely. Fold the overhanging tape over the front of the sail to help keep it in place.
This should cause the sail to crimp and be bent inwards by the crosspiece.
Step Six – Attach A Flying Line: pull some sewing thread through the hole that was made in the center of the kite. Pull about 4cm (1 ½”) of thread through the hole and stick it down on the tape that you placed earlier.
Lay more tape over the thread and the hole to keep the thread in place and prevent it from slipping out.
Step Seven – Fly The Kite: all that remains is to take the kite outdoors and fly it!
This paper kite requires moderate winds to fly well and should be flown at quite high altitudes compared to other paper kites.
Run fast, or choose a windy day to fly this kite, and it will work well for many hours!
Paper kites are made all around the world, for various reasons and in various designs, but the most simple designs are always best when it comes to building these little marvels!
Take your time, collect the right tools and equipment, follow the instructions carefully, and you will be flying your paper kites in no time!
Just be sure to look after your kites, as they are made of paper, and provided there is enough wind, they will last for many hours of happy flying!