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.
Mainly because in moderate wind they might be too much for a small child to
handle. Children over 10 years old should have enough strength though.
Construction time: less than 30 minutes
The second outing with the 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.
Construction time: less than 90 minutes
After a few outings in overly windy conditions, the Delta finally had a good high flight in better weather.
Months later, we pulled the Delta out again for some delightful flying after gusty winds smoothed out.
Construction time: less than 40 minutes
The very first outing with the kite pictured was a great success!
Quite a few months later, the Simple Sled performed admirably in strong thermal conditions on a cloudy Spring day.
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.
After some time these 3 Simple Series designs might seem a bit boring, and you'll want to make even bigger and better kites. That's the time to take a good look at my Making Dowel Kites book. It will keep you busy for a long while!
If you live in the U.S. or Canada, it's convenient to buy a 30 pound flying line from Amazon, which suits these 3 kites perfectly.
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...
ElderOneStop: An excellent one-stop resource for seniors and baby boomers, including hobbies, activities and crafts, retirement, health, housing, travel, financial, and more.
Retirement Hobbies - Outstanding Jobs After Retirement: This website provides other great ideas for retirement hobbies, volunteering or jobs for income during retirement. Follow your passion and LIVE IT during retirement.
Choices that we make every day determine whether or not we will have a
long and healthy life in retirement. These choices should include
allowing time and resources for hobbies and recreation.
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!
If you are in the U.S., one great region for flying kites is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The famous Wright Brothers flights took place here, near the town of Kittyhawk.
Of course, making kites isn't the only way to get satisfaction from going the 'home-made' path. Here's a site that opens up a whole world of homemade crafts for you to explore!
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!
Never made a kite?
Child wants one?
Check out the...
MBK Beginner E-course
Are the e-books good?
Find out by trying...
'Simplest Dowel Kites'
(wait for cover page to appear)