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How To Make A Tailless Kite (8 Steps)

Kite-making is a process that can be both fun and enjoyable. But have you ever wondered if you can have a tailless kite? This article provides the step-by-step process of building a kite with ease.

Kites such as the Malay kite and Eddy kite are tailless kites. With the proper instructions, building a tailless kite is possible.

  • Attach Two Sticks in crossing fashion
  • Secure The Frame with glue or string
  • Cut Notches for support lines
  • Prepare The Sail Material
  • Cut Out The Sail
  • Kite Assembly
  • Add The Flying Line
  • Go fly a kite!

Making a tailless kite is not as difficult as one might think. Luckily, I’ve had some experience building these kites and thought I’d share my experience with you today. Let’s get flying!

How To Make A Tailless Kite

How do you make a simple kite that will fly step by step?

Start the kiting-making process by building a frame that will hold the kite body. Required materials include; string, two sticks (24 inches and 20 inches), and glue. 

Attach The Two Sticks

Attach the two sticks and have them look like a cross or a T written in lowercase. The 20 inches will be the horizontal stick, and the 24 inches will be the vertical stick. Take the shorter stick and place it across the longer stick. 

This frame will build a standard-sized kite. If looking for a giant kite, you’ll need longer sticks. The difference between the two sticks should always be 4 inches or more. 

Note that the cross-stick should be at 15 percent of the vertical stick from its tip. Short kites can use grained pine for the sticks, while larger kites can go for hardwood (Source). 

Secure The Frame

Ensure the two sticks are stuck together by using either glue or string. Wrap the line where the sticks join either two times or more. Knot the string and get rid of any excess by cutting it with a knife or scissors. 

Superglue will also be effective when placed where the two sticks join. It would be best if you then pressed the sticks together. An indicator that the sticks are well placed is if they form right angles to each other.  

Cut Notches

At the ends of every stick, create 1-inch notches. A pair of scissors will help in making the indentations. You should ensure the incisions lie across the stick’s width. They should be deep enough to fit strings but not very deep that they break off the sticks (Source). 

As an alternative, one can choose to poke holes if the sticks are extremely thin. After creating the notches or holes, you should stretch the string over the fame.

Attach string to the top-notch first by looping it around the stick. Proceed to the right side of the frame, then the bottom end doing the same. Proceed to the left side and then back to the end, wrapping the string on the notches.

Avoid tightening the string too much that the sticks warp and bend. 

Prepare The Sail

For the sail, one can opt for fabric, a plastic bag, or paper such as newspaper, contact paper, or a garbage bag (40 inches). Opting for white material opens up room for decoration once done. 

Completely spread your sail on a surface, then place the frame at its center. Next, using a ruler and a pencil or pen, outline all the sides of the frame on the sail. The result should be a diamond shape.

Cut Out The Sail

With the outline ready, cut the diamond using scissors. However, the cuttings shouldn’t be on the exact markings. Instead, they should be 2 inches wider, leaving a bit of space. This extra space will ensure the sail is easily wrapped on the frame.

Kite Assembly

With the frame placed on the sail, fold its edges over and after putting glue on the frame, press the sail’s edge on it. It will keep the sail secure. For additional support, use tape such as electrical tape or masking tape. A secure sail will ensure detachment while in the air is prevented.

Add The Flying Line

You should use twenty inches of string or more for the flying line. You need to cut a small hole at the center, right above where the sticks meet. An end of the flying line should be passed through and then tightly tied where the sticks meet. Depending on one’s height and arm length, you can use more string.

Once you add the line, those who wish to personalize their kite with decorations can do so. It is a great project, especially when working with kids.

Fly The Kite

Finding an open area free of trees, power lines, and buildings, test out the kite. Large farms and beaches are great options. Wind speed on that day will also determine if the kite will be practical.

Butterfly Kite

Do Kites Need a Tail?

The importance of kite tails is overlooked by many. While kite tails are quick in offering beauty to the kite, they also provide stability. In stronger winds, kites provide stability by giving drag. Light wind conditions require little tail or no tail (Source).

When kites are unstable in the air, spinning, veering, and crashing is to be expected. Adding a kite ensures the kite’s bottom faces downwards, which keeps the kite balanced, thanks to the added weight.

When kiting in low wind, having a tail may prevent the kite from launching. When this happens, it’s better to take off the tail to keep the kite balanced. 

Usually, tails are added to the center of the kite, depending on its structure. It entails one long-tail or several small tails (2-3). You can also add tails to the side, but they should be the same length (Source).

Depending on the structure, the tail is sometimes added to the lower end. A small 10 cm tail, for example, will keep the kite a bit stable but will experience rolling and spinning. A longer tail(100cm) will ensure stability and encourage the kite to move to higher heights (Source).

Extremely long tails (500cm) will make it difficult for kites to launch. Some recommend using a tail that is 3-8 times the length of the kite. 

The other reason people use kites other than stability is for creativity. It adds color, and more movement can be seen in the sky. Also, the kite looks more significant because of it.

Do All Kites Have Tails?

One model of tailless kites is the Malay Kite. The West first learned about it from an 1894 newspaper article. For centuries, people used the kite for recreation in the East. These kites’ unique features were; bowed-shaped, diamond-shaped, and no tail (Source).

However, the ‘Holland kite’ referred to in the American Boy’s Handy Book could be the first tailless kite introduced in the United States. This kite was mentioned about 11 years before the Malay kite.

The Malay kite consisted of two sticks placed at right angles. One stick was longer than the other. They were bound by a string and enveloped using kite material like paper. Proper execution of the design ensured the kite flew to great heights.

Like the Japanese rokkaku and older versions of diamond kites like Eddy and Malay, other kites bowed, which allowed stability to make tails unnecessary (Source).

Can You Make a Homemade Kite?

Flying a kite in the outdoors is excellent. Flying a kite, you have made yourself is a more incredible feeling. Creating simple kites is an activity that you can complete in an afternoon. All one needs are the guidelines (Source).

Kite-making can prove tricky for some. It requires patience and craftsmanship. Fortunately, it’s a great way to indulge children and keep them off devices. The materials for them are cheap and easy to find. They also all be found in the home (Source).  

Summary

Tailless kites and kites with tails are enjoyable for children and adults alike. Tails are necessary because they beautify kites and help with stability. However, having them on a kite is not required if the kite can comfortably fly without support.

Sources

  1. DIY Projects, https://diy.smartkids123.com/how-to-make-a-kite-for-kids-a-tailless-kite/, Accessed March 24, 2022
  2. Wiki How, https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Kite, Accessed March 24, 2022
  3. All Things Kites, https://allthingskites.com/why-a-kite-needs-a-tail/, Accessed March 24, 2022
  4. Fly 360, https://fly360.co.in/kite-tail/, Accessed March 24, 2022
  5. Scientific American, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bring-science-home-kite-tails/#:~:text=Trying%20to%20fly%20a%20kite,drag%20to%20its%20lower%20end., Accessed March 24, 2022
  6. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malay_kite, Accessed March 25, 2022
  7. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowed_kite, Accessed March 25, 2022
  8. Wiki How, https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Kite, Accessed March 25, 2022
  9. Harshit Mansukhani, Times of India, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/most-searched-products/faq/how-to-make-a-kite-at-home/articleshow/84169557.cms, Accessed March 25, 2022

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