If you want to know how to build kites, you are at the right place. These 3 super simple kites are quick and easy, yet fly really well.
To give you some choice while still keeping things simple, I have chosen to do a Diamond, a Delta and a Sled. Don't worry, the Delta is very basic!
As well as instructions, these pages feature a short video of each kite in flight.
It's motivating to see the end result floating about in the sky! Even though you're learning how to build kites in a very quick and easy way.
Each kite is sized so that it should fit comfortably into the boot (trunk) of even a fairly small car. Or, someone in the back seat could hang on to it.
At the same time, these designs are big enough so you don't feel you are flying a 'small kite for kids'!
That's right, these designs are aimed at adults or teenagers.
Mainly because in moderate wind they might be too much for a small child to
handle. Children over 8 years old should have enough strength though.
After some time these 3 Simple Series designs might seem a bit boring, and you'll want to make even bigger and better kites.
My "Making Dowel Kites" e-book will be helpful then. It will keep you busy for a long while!
The e-book also shows you how to make each design in a stowable version. Just roll it up and the kite can go with you no matter if you are on foot, bicycle or car. Or trains and planes perhaps!
Construction time: less than 30 minutes.
Construction time: less than 90 minutes.
Construction time: less than 40 minutes.
The second outing with the Diamond kite pictured resulted in a good high flight at around 200 to 300 feet altitude. Another outing with this kite saw it soaring to over 350 feet in perfect winds, under an overcast sky.
After a few outings in overly windy conditions, the Delta finally had a good high flight in better weather. Months later, we pulled it out again for some delightful flying after gusty winds smoothed out.
The materials and tools for making these kites are very easy to find and cheap to buy. In fact, you'll probably find most of them around the house somewhere.
If you're curious, I've also put together a page on the reasons why it's a good idea to make your own kite.
Chances are, you've already checked out how to build kites using the Simple Diamond instructions up there. However, is the methodical step-by-step approach your style? Instead, you might enjoy a basic kite making discussion that gives free rein to your creativity and craft skills!
Here are the strong points of these kite designs...
The Diamond kite is super-reliable in flight, even if you don't make it perfectly. The long tail keeps it pointing into the wind, even when the wind is fairly fresh.
The Delta kite will perform much better than the other 2. In other words, it will spend a lot of time at a steep line angle. Sometimes right over your head, if it encounters any rising air on a warm day!
The Sled kite is the most convenient to take anywhere. The kite simply rolls up, takes very little space and is unlikely to be damaged in transit.
Here are the weak points of these kite designs...
The Diamond flies at a modest line angle most of the time. And that long tail can get caught in things if you aren't careful.
The Delta won't tolerate strong or even fresh winds. Too much wind will cause it to become unstable, and even break in extreme cases.
The Sled doesn't like the rough air near ground level. Unless you fly it at a beach, you might find it needs to get well above tree height before it really starts behaving itself and flying reliably.
But these are
minor problems! After learning how to build kites from the instructions
here and getting a little flying practice, you'll soon learn to cope
one way or another. I've just mentioned the pro's and con's here to give
you a better idea of which design might suit your circumstances best.
Otherwise, cheap knitting yarn should have sufficient strength for flying in reasonably light winds. Say up to 15 kph. I did a pull test on a length of acrylic knitting yarn, and it appeared to have at least the strength of a 20-pound line. It's a bit thick, but it's readily available in the shops!
All these kites are designed for fairly light to moderate winds. So, assuming there is a reasonable breeze blowing outside, head out with kite and flying line attached. If you can hear a little leaf noise in the trees, that should be fine. Stand with your back to the wind, and have a helper hold up the kite, some distance away. Say, 15 meters (50 feet). When they let go, the kite should climb away to above tree-top height - unless the trees are huge in your area!
If your kite refuses to fly properly, there could be too much wind. Or, a dowel or 2 might be very uneven in stiffness along its length. If a much longer tail doesn't solve the problem, just try making the whole kite again. Chances are, the new one will fly much better.
If you can hardly feel the breeze against your face, it's likely there is simply not enough wind to fly! Just wait for better weather, or act like a kid and tow the thing into the air! Sometimes, there will be more wind higher up, and you will be surprised to feel your kite pulling firmly on the line.
Now you can tell your friends you know how to build kites, and fly them as well.
Learning how to build kites and fly them is a great hobby at almost any age - including during retirement. Visit this excellent one-stop resource for seniors and baby boomers which includes hobbies, activities, crafts, health, housing, travel, financial, and more.
And here's a website which describes how to make a kite from newspaper and dowel. This Diamond kite, with traditional bowed tail, flies well in moderate to strong winds. Handy for when your light-wind kites can't cope!
And here is the bigger, better Dowel Diamond in flight...
Add a tail if you really want to. But as you can see, it doesn't actually need it!
You might have noticed that this site has a monthly newsletter...
For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!
So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.
And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.
Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...
For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!
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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."
"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.
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!"
"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash
to try these books