Kite Making in Bermuda

by Mary Trott
(British Columbia, Canada)

Good Friday kites in Bermuda...

I am a 68-year-old presently living in Western Canada. The kite tradition in Bermuda is central to my own early kiting experience. Kitemaking is a pastime that is basically seasonal in Bermuda, in the Spring specifically around Easter Weekend. On Good Friday, to be exact. The wind was usually perfect for kiting at that time of year.

In my childhood, my father, a cabinet maker, would salvage orange crates, made at that time of pine, in which the fruit used to be shipped from the United States. He would cut the crates into strips which, with string, were used to construct kite frames. Little bundles of 12 strips, each about 24 inches(60 cm)long - enough for three basic Bermuda-style four-stick kites, were sold from his workshop, other similar workshops, and in retail stores. The frames were covered with multi-colored patches of tissue paper to produce a light, buoyant kite with a "headstick", "hummers", a three-string bridle, and a long tail for stability. They were flown traditionally on Good Friday.

The tradition started in the 1800's and grew, we are told, out of a Sunday School teacher's lesson on the Resurrection. He took his students out on a windy hill and flew a kite in the form of a cross. When the string was cut, it continued to ascend.

In our neighborhood we vied for the most beautiful, the noisiest, the largest, the smallest, and the highest-flying kites, and when one awoke on Good Friday one would think that a hive of bees had collected outside, due to the noise from all the kites in the air, humming in the breeze. The "hummers" - essential features on a Bermuda kite, filled the air with sound all day.

In our home, the tails, used for stability, were made out of my Dad's cast-off neckties, strips of old clothing, and old sheets. It was a magical time.

Because of this background, store-bought kites never held much appeal for me, and most children acquired basic kite-building skills through making their own kites.

The art is waning today, however, as families spend time watching TV, or on computers, or playing video games, and of course there are all those imported factory-made kites to buy!

There are sites on the Internet showing resources for Bermuda kite construction. Look specifically for sites with these words in the title.

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I just love building the Bermuda kite
by: Edward King

Hello, I just started to build the Bermuda kites they look so beautiful in the big blue sky and they are very good flyers and I just love them. I build them with 5 pine wooden sticks and string and white glue and different color tissue paper for the sail.

I have found a good website on building Bermuda Kites, it has helped me a lot to build my kite and also, and videos on has help as well build my Bermuda kite. I just love the Bermuda kite because it is a kite builders kite.

I plan on building a few different sizes of kites of the Bermuda kite. Thanks Edward King and have a great day.

Flying bermuda kites today
by: Richie Bermuda born Aussie

I seem to get a few bystanders hanging around anytime I fly Bermuda kites here in Australia. They are struck by the sound of three hummers going flat out buzzing like a swarm of bees. It dawned on me the other day that the vibration of hummers can be felt through the string especially when jogging the kite to gain altitude.

I have flown other kites but they just don't feel the same. It may be a crime but I am looking at using graphite and ripstop nylon on my next kite. Not too sure about nylon hummers though.

I currently use the traditional method wood sticks 1 nail string and tissue paper. I find the more coloured panels you put in the frame smaller number and size repair patches are required. Dad once said to me if you don't get the odd hole in your kite you ain't flying kites.

I vividly remember Good Friday kite flying in Bermuda. The sky was a show of multi-coloured kites. Each one looking like stained glass from a cathedral. If you have never experienced it it is awe inspiring.

Build em fly em break em and go out and do it again.

Bermuda kites in Australia
by: Anonymous

Just finished making another Bermuda kite. I now have 2. Don't see them in Australia much but being a Bermudian I just got to do it. My Australian grand children love making Bermuda kites with Grandpa. Only flew one so far and it flies great. No other kite feels like them.

Bermuda Kite
by: Jose Blanco

These are beautiful kites. The type of kite flown in Bermuda is similar to kites that are made and flown all over the Caribbean. I know that Bermuda is not in the Caribbean, but the kites are so similar and also flown during Easter.

I made one for the first time recently. Here is a video of the flight.

All the best,

Jose (Florida, USA)

Bermuda Kites
by: Anonymous

I have been making them for some time. They are high altitude and fly well. I do not see them at many Kite Festivals.

Great post
by: Tim Parish

Thanks for educating us all about Bermuda kites...

It's true that a lot of kites are sold these days, as opposed to being made at home. But kite-making is far from dying out - most people coming to this site are interested in making their own, judging by the keyword searches that bring them here. Long live homemade kites - Bermuda-style or otherwise!

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E-book special of the month...

Barn Door is a traditional American design, and this MBK version has delighted many of this site's visitors over the years.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite is only a small step up in difficulty.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Barn Door kite. Down to a mere $2.95 for this month.

The MBK Barn Door is a reliable flyer over the Light to Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, if the kite is made according to the instructions.

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.

What's New!

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    A previously published page which offers some thoughts on how small children relate to kite flying - broken down into age-groups. Partially based on experiences with our own son, Aren...

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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

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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."


"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"

Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

More E-books...

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
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7