Designs on Plastic Kites

by Marcy Marchello
(MA, USA)

Q:

Hope you have had some good flights lately! After the holidays I hope to get going on some kite building. In the meantime I would like to know if you have been able to add graphic designs to your kites and if so, what is the best method? I tried spray paint for plastic but it is flaking off.

A:

Putting graphic designs on kites is not my specialty, but I did figure out a systematic approach to getting line art onto a plastic kite. Or any pre-existing artwork which doesn't rely on huge areas of solid color. Using this approach, I was able to decorate my Dowel Rokkaku kite with a giant Chinese character. From a distance, you can't tell that it was done by a non-artist! For those with little artistic talent, I wrote this up in an e-book titled MBK Clipart Tutorial. There's a photo of the Rok on that page.

Otherwise, you just need to know that colored permanent markers work well on plastic. Of course, this doesn't really suit large areas of color except on fairly small kites. For more on this idea and others, have a look at a similar question which was asked here many months ago.

All the best with your kite-making efforts next year! Don't forget to share 1 or 2 experiences here, under the YOUR stories section of this site. Digital photos are easy to upload too.

Just had another thought... If you work with Tyvek instead of plastic, all the acrylic painting options open up, since the type of Tyvek used for wrapping is very paper-like. Also it is water-proof and almost tear-proof! Building companies use it for weather-proofing houses under construction. Despite that application, it is light enough for kite making.

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E-book special of the month...


I've been making and flying traditional-style
Box Kites on-and-off ever since this site was started...

Get the e-book for making a range of bamboo or dowel designs. Down to $7 from the usual $9.95, for this month.

With a large range of wind speeds covered, not to mention a large choice of kite size to attempt, the ideal box kite for you has to be in there somewhere!

My personal favorite would have to be the giant 2.4m (8ft) long Multi-Dowel Box which flies steep and steady. It's on the e-book cover over there...

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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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.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

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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
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25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
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32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7