Kite Crafts For Kids

Kite-Friendly Materials And Techniques

Kite crafts are one small aspect of crafting. To save you the effort, I have waded through all the relevant craft terms and related them to kite-making. Also, on this page there is an emphasis on kite making for children.

This is supposed to be a resource for ideas when it comes to materials and techniques for decorating kite sails. It's pretty complete, I think you'll find!

So, what kind of kites do these materials and techniques suit? Here's a summary...

  • Plastic kites. Our MBK Skewer kites fall into this category, like the tiny Diamond in the video down there. A sail is cut from a colored plain plastic bag, before bamboo skewer spars are taped on. Hard-wood dowels can also be used, to make much bigger kites. We use garden tidy bags for sail material since they are light, large and cheap. These kites fly very well in light winds, and can fly hundreds of feet above the ground if made properly. See that Diamond kite up there on the left.
  • Mini kites. Made from any old reasonable quality paper, such as writing or pad paper. Photo-copy paper too. This type of kite tends to be not much bigger than your hand, and often rely upon a single horizontal spar such as a bamboo skewer or drinking straw. They fly ok in moderate breezes, or when towed enthusiastically!
  • Tissue kites. These require a little more care and kite-making skill, but fly superbly. A good example is an Indian fighter kite, which by the way requires a measure of flying skill as well! However, a simple Diamond with strong thread strung around the outline of the kite can have a tissue sail and long tissue streamer tail added. Of course, these won't like coming into contact with wet grass or spilt drinks...

I'll refer to these types of kites, in the following sections on various kite crafts techniques. What about nylon and other types of cloth sails? I'm going to ignore them since that usually involves sewing and a range of kite-making accessories that are beyond the scope of kite crafts for kids.







Kite Crafts:
Drawing

This category is a biggie, with many options for creating art work on sails. Hence I'll split it up into a few sub-categories. Pick which seems to apply best for your situation. There's no hard and fast rule for whether to draw first then make the kite, or the other way round. It depends on the kite and the decoration idea really. One approach or the other will just seem to make more sense, after a bit of thought.




Drawing onto a plain paper sail

There are a million ways to make marks on paper for mini-kites, but some require a fixative to prevent smudging. Spraying stuff onto a kite sail just adds weight, so I'm tossing all those methods out! When it comes to kite crafts, the lighter the better, believe me.

Colored pencils of any kind can be used on plain paper mini-kites to turn a child's drawing into a flight of fancy :-) Not much weight added there.

Crayons can be used for coloring or drawing. However, coloring could put too much of the composition wax onto the paper, thus making it heavy. Stick with a few bold strokes to add zest to that mini-kite!

Pastels, are chalk-like crayons made from ground pigment and a binding material. Pastels produce more brilliant colors than crayons, and yet don't have the drying time of paint. Hardness varies. The softer the pastel the brighter the color, but the softest pastels are prone to smearing. Again, avoid coloring in large areas of paper, since this will add weight.

Ballpoint pens with colored ink can be handy for adding line-drawings to paper kites.

Tracing paper is pretty handy for convincing onlookers that you are an incredible artist. Just take a sheet of this see-through paper and trace some impressive outlines from a picture or book illustrations, using pens or pencils. Then use the paper itself in a kite!




Drawing onto a plain plastic sail

A marker or 'marking pen' often has a felt tip, which is ideal for drawing on plastic. Hence you might also look for 'felt-tipped pens'. These don't have a huge capacity so avoid coloring in large areas. However, some quite wide-tipped pens are out there, which are good for thick bold line art. Most markers are Black, but this can still be effective for doing a face or a large pair of cartoon eyes or something!

Transfer paper is something I've never tried with kite crafts, to be honest, but it might be worth a shot on a plastic sail. This kind of paper is coated on one side with gray, black, white, blue, or red material that lets you transfer a design to a surface. The idea is to place a sheet of this stuff, color-side down, onto the surface. The desired design is placed on top of the transfer paper, and a stylus or pen is used to trace the design so it transfers onto the surface.




Using pre-marked paper

Newsprint, despite its low quality, can be used for making sizable kites. That is, if you aren't too concerned about an exceptionally long life for the kite! At least it looks interesting, if you source it from the local newspaper. There's probably no point in decorating it much, since the print itself is the decoration. However, some nice thick black lines highlighting the boundaries of the sail could enhance the look.

Quadrille paper, much loved by mathematics teachers, is sometimes known as graph paper. This paper is printed with fine lines making up a grid. It is great for not only making patterns and design layouts, but also for drawing colorful, geometric shapes. Naturally, these eye-catching works of art can be used in kite crafts!





Kite Crafts:
Collage

Collage is the art of arranging cut-out shapes or pictures onto a flat surface, where they are glued in place. The resulting art-work is also called a 'collage'. The appropriate light-weight technique is to use minimal glue, and even then, just around the edges of the shapes or pictures. Even the number of shapes or pictures should be kept down, to avoid excessive weight on the kite.

The mini-kites are a little small for this kite crafts technique, so consider this for plastic kites and tissue kites.

Scissors will be needed of course. They are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Most of the smaller models would be suitable for kite collage. However, dull-edged, rounded-tip scissors are particularly suitable for young children for safety reasons.




Collage on plastic kites

Colored plastic is the obvious choices for sticking cut-out shapes onto a plastic sail. I suspect most plastic cements would do horrible things to thin plastic! Hence, small squares of clear sticky tape are more appropriate here than glue. For example, a rabbit silhouette could be taped down with 5 or so small squares of sticky tape, onto the plastic sail. Obviously, serious kite-makers would not use this method but hey, for a bit of fun with your kite-mad toddler...

Cellophane is a little heavier than thin plastic sheet. However, it comes in richer colors, so use it sparingly for some extra dazzle factor!




Collage on tissue kites

Tissue paper comes in many colors, luckily for us kite-makers! Sometimes it is named 'wrapping tissue' on the shelves. This stuff is particularly suitable for collage on kites.

Magazine pictures could be cut out and stuck on too. Avoid using too many glossy magazine pics or graphics, due to the weight of the high-quality paper.

School glue is a quick-drying, versatile adhesive. Since it is non-toxic, easy-to-clean, and cheap it is a great kite crafts choice for even the youngest kids. It's also known as white glue.





Kite Crafts:
Stencils

A stencil is a template made by cutting a design into a piece of stiff paper, plastic or cardboard. Traditionally, this method of decoration involves brushing ink or paint through the cut out areas of the template so that the pattern will be reproduced on the surface placed below.

However, for kite decoration, we have to put our thinking caps on to keep the weight down! The key is to apply color sparingly. Just enough to show up the stenciled shape or shapes. Colored pencils, crayons or pastels could be used. Not many people would have the gear on hand, but this would be an ideal chance to get out an air-brush! Same deal though, don't put too much paint on.

Now, back to creating the stencils themselves... Utility knives come in different shapes and sizes but one thing they have in common is a sharp, razor-blade edge. Obviously, when using this tool for kite crafts, it's only for adults to use. The utility knife is also known as a craft knife, x-acto knife or razor knife.





Kite Crafts:
Rubber Stamping

Kids love rubber stamping. My Aren certainly does, and at this writing he has just turned 3 1/2 years old. In this craft, ink made of dye or pigment is applied to an image or pattern that has been carved, molded, or vulcanized onto a sheet of rubber. The rubber is usually mounted onto something more manageable such as a block of wood or acrylic. The ink coated rubber stamp can then be pressed onto just about any type of surface to transfer the design to the surface. For kite crafts this means paper, tissue or plastic.

Since most stamps are quite small, this is probably best for just the mini-kites. However, if the design was simple and bold enough, and was applied enough times, I can see it working on larger kites!

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:
    Carbon Diamond High Wind Experiment

    Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM

    This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.

    The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.

    For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.

    At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!

    And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.

    Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe the value on offer in that message series!

    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!

 

Return to Kids Kites from Kite Crafts For Kids

All the way back to Home Page

 

E-books

Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!


Kite e-book: Making The MBK Dowel Diamond Kite

Download
"Making The
MBK Dowel Diamond Kite"
(see flight video!)


Kite e-book: Making The MBK Dowel Delta Kite

Download
"Making The
MBK Dowel Delta Kite"
(see flight video!)


Kite e-books: The Big MBK Book Bundle

Download the
"MBK Book Bundle"





E-book
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."

_________________

"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

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

_________________

"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

thank you"