How To Build Kites

3 Simple Kites For Adults Or Big Kids!

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!

Here's the Diamond, in the photo...

The MBK Simple Diamond kite in flight on a perfect day.

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.

Take kite flying to another level, for you and your kids!

Click for more info...

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.





A close-up of the MBK Simple Diamond kite in flight.

The MBK Simple Diamond Kite.

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.

A close-up of the MBK Simple Delta kite in flight.

The MBK Simple Delta Kite.

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.

The MBK Simple Sled Kite.

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 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 very first outing with the Sled kite pictured was a great success! Quite a few months later, this same 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!





How To Build Kites To Suit YOU

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.

It's convenient to buy a 30 pound flying line from Amazon, if you live in the U.S. or Canada. It 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!





How To Build Kites - And Fly Them!

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.

The Simple Delta kite climbing in a very light breeze.




Other Websites To Explore...

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.

 

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Sea-sick Barn Door Kite

    Jul 28, 14 05:06 AM

    This was an experiment with mounting a camera directly onto the kite. With winds gusting to over 30kph up high, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was selected...

    In a word, it was tricky. I mounted the camera as close as possible to the center of gravity of the kite, but it still ended up quite a few cm closer to the trailing edge than I would have liked. It was only practical to mount he camera - on its bendy tripod (!) - near the diagonal spars crossing point. Electrical tape secured 2 short tripod legs to the diagonal spars, holding the camera upright with the kite sitting on its trailing edge.

    It was a struggle to get enough lift to gain much height, and the kite swung dangerously from side to side. Might try the drogues next time! I did my best to urge the kite higher in mid-swing.

    Eventually, for a few seconds, the kite got to around 100 feet on almost 200 feet of 200 pound Dacron.

    A video clip will of course be forthcoming on Facebook. And only seasoned kite fliers will bother watching it all the whole way through, possibly wrestling with sea-sickness all the while. Hence the title of this post. Still, it was an interesting, if slightly nerve-wracking, outing! At shoulder level, the breeze measured around 9kph gusting to 18.5kph. Some low cloud over the hills was absolutely tearing along, perhaps up around 40kph.

    Huge Homemade Kites And Aerial Photography: This is often the topic for posts which appear here. New things are always being tried so sign up for my newsletter to stay right up to date with the latest developments!

    Read More




New! 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...



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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Testimonials...
(unedited)

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

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"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!"

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