Plastic Kites - Safe Decorations?

by Kathryn


I've begun a new venture working with teens with problems who live in a group home. I'd like to attempt some kite-making and kite-flying. I'm hoping to follow your plans for a simple, basic kite.

My question: How can we individualize the kites? Are there permanent markers whose ink won't smear or rub off the plastic with handling? Is it safe to put decorative "stickers" on the plastic, or does that affect their flying? Any ideas you have will be welcome!



Decorating plastic kites is a little more limiting since many of the techniques used on paper or cloth sails won't work on plastic. However, there are a few things that can be done.

Probably the most practical idea is using large permanent markers to draw line-graphics on the kite. Or any design in which the areas of solid color are fairly sparse. Markers are not designed for filling large areas of color! Think 'logo' or 'motif'.

Go to some clip-art sites on the Net for inspiration, searching specifically for 'line art' or 'illustrations'.

Markers designed for laundry use are OK, otherwise, any marking pen with the word 'permanent' will work ok on plastic.

Blick and Sharpie are 2 brands that offer a range of waterproof, solvent-based permanent markers in a range of colors. Perfect for plastic kites! With a little care, you could apply the design after the kite was constructed, if you wanted to.

Stickers are fine on kites of similar size to my Simple Series. Just be sparing with the amount of sail area covered. The only concern is the added weight. Area for area, stickers weigh many times more than thin plastic sheet. So just try to keep the covered area down below an estimated 10% of the total sail area. Also, weight added near the tail end will enhance stability while weight added near the nose will have the opposite effect.

Another idea is to used various colors of plastic, and stick them together with sticky tape before marking and cutting out the sail outline. For example, a Diamond kite with top-left and bottom-right in one color, and top-right and bottom-left in another color.

An advanced technique is to actually weld plastic sheets together, but you might have to go somewhere like for more info on that.

Hope some of this helps!

P.S. Tails are pretty easy to individualize! Just knot together streamers in various colors and configurations. For example, 2 ribbons side by side, or one from the kite with 2 or more knotted onto the end, as so on. The kite will be stable as long as there is enough plastic hanging out there. Add more as required, if the kite seems to need it.

Comments for Plastic Kites - Safe Decorations?

Click here to add your own comments

May 02, 2011
Permanent Markers
by: Gary Crenshaw ( Hampton, Ga. )

The best marker I have found to write on plastic kites is called MARKS-A-LOT ... I still find them in small department stores but you can search on line to find a retailer in your area.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to About Kites.

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

Click to get 'Making The MBK Parasail Kite'

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. Kite Land-Boarding

    Jul 19, 17 06:00 AM

    This previously published page covers the basics - an intro if you are curious about the idea of getting pulled across a flat dry surface on a wheeled board!

    Read More



Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

More E-books...


"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 decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."


"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