Balinese Kites

by Desmond
(Mill Valley, CA, USA)

Q:

Do you have specific instructions (possibly measurements) on how to make a Balinese kite? I want to make a kite for my math project that I can paint a picture on. So it seems like the paper mache type would work best. I also love their really long tails.

A:

No. That's the short answer.

But here's a couple of suggestions :-) ...

1) Trying to make an authentic Balinese kite from scratch might not actually be very practical in your situation. In addition, it would be very easy to end up with a heavy, poor flier. Particularly if you piled on a bit too much paint, or made the paper mache too sturdy.

If it wasn't for the fact you are probably supposed to make the kite yourself, there are of course, quite cheap Balinese kites for sale on eBay. Just see the listing on that page, after scrolling down a bit.

eHow.com has some instructions, but they are vague and basically useless for an inexperienced builder to have success with. No instructions on how to adjust the bridle, for example!

2) Why don't you consider making one of my Simple Series kites. Either a Diamond or a Delta - but use Tyvek instead of plastic. That way, you have a perfect 'canvas' for your painting, since it is like painting on paper.

If you can't get your hands on Tyvek easily, any old thin plastic sheet will do. In which case, colored permanent markers are the way to go, to create a pleasing picture on the sail without adding much weight at all.

The Simple Diamond and Simple Delta are reliable fliers in light winds, so there should be no disappointment there.

Whichever way you decide to go, I hope your project goes well!

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The
Sode is a traditional Japanese design, and this MBK version is exciting to watch in rough air!

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes a little more time to make. It's still a straight-forward build though, using the same techniques as used for my Dowel Diamond. 

Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Sode kite. The cambered sail makes this a very efficient design. Of the Dowel kites, this design is one of my personal favorites!

This Sode flies steep and steady over the Light wind range, and starts to move around quite a bit when the wind picks up to Moderate levels. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.



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Wind Speeds


Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7