Paper Kites

And Other Single Liners

Just about everyone has either made or seen paper kites at some stage in their lives. The categories below are full of interesting information on many kinds of unusual kites. In fact, some of these categories are a bit odd! Like the Funny Kites or the zero-line variety which are controlled by a radio transmitter.

There is such variety in paper kites, let alone single liners in general. Everything from the classic Western diamond shape kite to Oriental fish kites to Maori kites.

The photo down there shows a tiny Sled which I designed and made from a sheet of A4 copier paper. That's quite close to Letter size in the U.S.

Paper kites don't come any simpler than this single-sheet example.MBK Paper Sled rising on a light gust

Even parafoils can be seen floating at the end of a single string. These almost completely ready-to-fly designs tend to be much simpler and cheaper than the steerable kites used by stunt fliers or board riders.

Since so many people design kites, there is huge variety to be seen even within each category.

Half the fun of single line kites these days is just the way they look, not just the way they fly! I guess looks count more for young kids, while flying characteristics charm the older flyers. But there are always exceptions. What do you get out of single line paper kites, or any kind for that matter?

Indian fighter kites, made from tissue and bamboo.sTraditional Indian fighter kites

I can remember buying and flying an Indian kite while in High School. Made of tissue and bamboo, it flew extremely well! It was quite similar to those authentic square paper kites in the picture.

Unfortunately, the fragile Indian kite didn't fare too well when Cyclone (Hurricane) Tracy almost wiped Darwin off the map the following Christmas day!

That would have been a great night to try a concrete box kite. With high-tensile fencing wire as flying line ;-)

This remarkable George Peters Indian Fighter kite is not so fragile, being constructed from fiberglass rods and ripstop nylon cloth! Doesn't it look like the real thing though.

Now, read about some things you never knew...

... R/C kites - researched

... R/C kites - up close and personal!

... bird kites we have seen

... other kinds of bird kites

... Japanese fish kites

... other fish kites

... butterfly kites

... fishing kites

... cool kites!

... funny kites!

... pocket kites

... Balinese kites

... styrofoam kites

... mini kites

... indoor kites

... giant kites

... bag kites

... ancient Maori kites

... tetrahedral kites

... a Malaysian kite

... more Malaysian kites

... large kites

Some Miscellaneous Kite Topics

Now, this is a page about miscellaneous single-line kite topics. Hence, a page about finding good kite clip art belongs here as much as anywhere else on this site!

After hearing about the book and the movie, have you ever been curious about kite running? Wonder no more. Also, read up on the North American kite fighting scene.

Here's one for the school-kids learning about science. The Benjamin Franklin kite was a feasable design that might have been flown by Mr Franklin himself! In case you want to make one for yourself, you can try my instructions for making a Ben Franklin kite replica.

There's nothing like a kite festival for checking out colorful kites! We've taken the odd photo at these types of events.

If you keep your eyes peeled at a festival, you might find some rather unusual kite shapes. Some of these are one-of-a-kind though, so don't expect to ever see them all!

Interested in a somewhat long and detailed history of kites? It's actually a compilation of other historical info on this site.

Glenn Davison is an eco-artist and workshop leader who has been featured on HGTV as a New England Craftsman. He is the editor of the books, "Kites in the Classroom," "How to Fly a Kite," and the "Guide to Building Miniature Kites." As at Feb. 2010 he is a director of the club, “Kites Over New England” and Chairman of the Education Committee for the American Kitefliers Association.

Anthony Thyssen is a systems programmer with Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. In his spare time, Anthony has tinkered long-term with single-line kites and kite messengers. Consequently, he has built up an extensive website of useful kite-making and kite-related information. His impressively old site is also a fascinating portal into other people's resources on kites and kite-related activities. In times past, Anthony has been a newsletter editor and webmaster for the Queensland Kite Flyers Society.

A question that people often ask is Who invented the kite? Since almost all kites over 200 years old no longer exist, finding the answer comes down to careful research of ancient documents.

Making a kite starts with choosing which kind of design you to want to build! There's a fair amount of choice available on this site - just check out the Kite Making section up there on the left!

Paper Kites From China To Java

Are you interested in some history on how kites spread throughout the non-western world, centuries before they became popular in the West? The very first kites flew in China, thousands of years ago. Just look at my Chinese Kites section over there on the left to find out more about this.

At some early stage, the idea spread to Japan and Korea as well. Eventually paper kites were to be found in South East Asia too, and the spread continued down the Malay Peninsula. We're still talking 2000 years ago at this point! Hopping from island to island in people's canoes, the simple single-line kite idea then continued to move through Indonesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. Bark took the place of paper in these kites. Come to think of it, there's actually an Australian native tree called the Paperbark!

Right on the end of this chain of countries lies Australia, where I'm typing this right now. No doubt, we got our first paper kites from English settlers and possibly convicts in the 18th Century. The original aboriginal population had a number of remarkable inventions, but as far as I know they didn't fly kites.

In more recent times, kite flyers over here have been influenced by the kite flying activities of our Asian neighbors. These countries are just a few hours away by air, to the North-West.

Now, for something completely different, see the photo below... A simple Sled, made from a single sheet of copier paper, with folds acting as spars!

The MBK Paper Sled in flight.Just 1 sheet of copier paper, but it certainly flies

For further proof that this kite actually flies, just check out the short video below...

For a single-liner that is whole lot more maneuverable, take a look at this George Peters Indian Fighter kite which only has the appearance of being a traditional tissue job from India.

E-book special of the month (25% off)...

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) diameter Parasail kite. This kite performs well in gentle to moderate wind speeds. That's from 12 to 28 kph or from 8 to 18 mph. It pulls hard for it's size, so should not be flown by very small kids!

Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parasail kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

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!

  1. The Adelaide Kite Festival

    Apr 26, 17 06:00 AM

    Coincidentally, this previously published page has recently been updated. The Adelaide International Kite Festival for 2017 was held earlier this month...

    Read More


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...

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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
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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."


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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

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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