The Butterfly Kite

Some Observations And Examples

Just a few thoughts here, about the Butterfly kite. To tell the truth, I can only remember seeing one actual example flying in the air. It strikes me as a rather female-friendly kind of kite. In fact, the one my wife and I saw at a kite festival was being flown by a woman. Not a child, note! I can also recall the occasional online photo or two of a Butterfly being flown - once again, by a woman! And how about the keen photographer who took the image at the bottom of this page .... you guessed it ...

Butterfly kites are arty. It doesn't seem to matter in what exact shape, size or form they come. Butterfly kites are almost always dressed up. Sometimes purely as an artwork, whether childish or more sophisticated.

Otherwise, they are made to look as realistic as possible. That takes some doing, since the living insect puts on an intricate and often very beautiful display of color.

Authentic Chinese Butterfly kite

Pretty things sell better than plain things, so a decent butterfly design must be fairly easy to move off the kite-shop shelves. OK, walls or ceiling ;-) You know how they like to hang things here there and everywhere, like some sort of kiting art installation.

A typical Butterfly design is just a little taller than it is wide, in many cases. Hence it should be easier to get flying stable than say a Bird kite. That's just a hunch on my part. If you have made a lot of kites, would you agree? I've certainly read some stories online of how long some Bird kite designs took to get right!

Good Butterflies don't actually need tails, but often have them for looks. Also, these types are generally mid-sized. Say, less than a meter (3 feet) across.

Talking about size brings to mind a group of enthusiasts who posted a photo of their giant Butterfly on this site! There's a copy of that photo down near the bottom of this page...

The Butterfly has become one of the most popular creature-kites around, among single-surface designs. Other big 'creature' categories would have to include Bird and Fish kites. These ideas seem to have originated in China, centuries ago.

This Butterfly kite on Amazon would appear to be one of the best available, going by the enthusiastic reviews.




A Butterfly Kite Zoo


Child's Butterfly Kite Project

Child's Kite Kit


Photo courtesy of drachenstore.easystorecreator.net

A typical small kite for kids. This one's plain, but kids can easily add their own art-work to the sail material before the kite is cut out and assembled.


Modern butterfly kite from shop

Modern Kite Shop Butterfly


Photo courtesy of kiteandwind.com

This hi-tech example flies stable without tails, and features a 3D appearance. Rich colors are even brighter when the sun shines through from behind. Marvelous!


Traditional Chinese butterfly kite

Traditional Chinese Butterfly

Photo courtesy of chinakiteonline.com

The real thing, in pink to be in keeping with the female-friendly tone of this page! These designs have hardly changed in terms of materials, construction techniques and general appearance for hundreds of years. Amazing.


Massive Home-Made Butterfly Kite

Massive Home-Made Butterfly

This monster is almost 2 1/2 meters (10 feet) wide and weighs 4 1/2 kilos. It has a linen sail, and is reputed to be somewhat harder to land than to launch... Spectacular! By some kite-making enthusiasts from the Czech Republic. Yes, this one's not so much a lady's kite is it!


How's that for a 4-picture summary of the Butterfly corner of the kiting world! Enjoy the photo below, too...




E-book special of the month (25% off)...

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) tall Parafoil kite. This 4-cell kite performs best in gentle to moderate wind speeds. That's 12 to 28kph or 8 to 18mph. Even in light winds, this kite will hang in the air, although at low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while supervised!

Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parafoil kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

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.



What's New!

  1. Sky Dancers

    May 24, 17 06:00 AM

    Or Tube Men or Sky Dance Puppets or a raft of other names. Everyone's seen one flailing away somewhere. Find out a bit more about these hilarious air-driven things at this previously published page!

    Read More





Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



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Testimonials
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"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

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Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."

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 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"

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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