Up, up and away with homemade kites!

I have to admit that this kite was a pleasant surprise.  We spent Sunday afternoon at the park and the kids were able to fly this homemade plastic sled kite ALL BY THEMSELVES!  After a simple explanation that the straws had to be on the side away from them, the kite was flying and, even more important, it stayed up.  It even had a couple close encounters with the trees in the park but did not break after we pulled it down.

If you didn’t make it to our great Make your own kite Saturday workshop a couple of weeks ago, don’t worry we have described the protocol below. The instructions provided by Marco Cirò look long but it took me around 10 minutes to put it together-believe it or not the longest part was drawing the FunLab logo!

If you are into kites, here are some other great sites that have related posts:  FamilyFun, Howcast and MammaFelice.

You will need:

Plastic trash bags (at least 40 cm long) Scotch tape Scissors
String (we used white sewing thread) 6 straws Permanent Markers
Cardboard tube (from toilet paper) Barrel Swivels size 14 Light weight nylon string for the bridle

Step 1: Cut out a template like the one shown below. We used depron for our template but an old cardboard box will work just fine.

Step 2: Cut off the ends of the plastic bag.

Step 3: Unfold the bag so that you have a tube of plastic. Place the template with the long edge along the fold of the plastic tube. Trace the form of the kite.

Step 4: After having finished tracing the kite, cut it out. Remember that it is important to not move the plastic tube around so that the kite will be symmetric.

Step 5: Prepare the straws by cutting off the flexible end of the straw. Then bend in one end of the straw and slip it into the hole of a second straw. Repeat so that you have 3 straws linked together. This process needs to be repeated with a second set of three straws.

Step 6: Line up the two “long” straw from the top to the bottom of the kite as shown in the picture below. If the straws are too long cut of the extra piece. Tape the straws at the top and the bottom. Then tape the straws at the junctions where the individual straws were joined.

Step 7: Now for the fun part. Use permanent markers to decorate the body of your kite!

Step 8: Cut out the tails by rolling up the left over plastic tube and cut out two strips. Tape onto the bottom of the kite close to where you have taped the straws.

Step 9: Measure out around 2 meters of light weight nylon string. Tape onto the two middle corners of the kite. Wrap the string around the piece of tape a couple of times to make sure that it will hold when under pressure from the wind.

Step 10: Fold the kite in half and finish making the bridle by making a loop which is done tying a knot close to the end. Attach the barrel swivel on the hook side to the loop in the bridle (WHAT IS A BARREL SWIVEL:  have to admit that this was a new one for me.  Marco explained that it helps dealing with the winding of the string while the kite is in flight.  It is a fishing accessory, so you can buy it where they sell fishing stuff). Then tie the string of the kite to the other end of the swivel. We used a cardboard tube from an old roll of toilet paper to keep our string organized.

You are done! Roll up your kite and slip it inside the tube. This is a great way to carry it to the park!

Sometimes seeing is believing! Take a look at this short video to see how the FunLab kite flies!

Thanks to Marco Cirò for this great post.

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