Basic Kite Making

Pardon the mess, here and/or in other parts of this site!

All will be looking better by mid-November. T.P. (major site update in progress)

A Hand-Waving Guide

Trying to make a start in basic kite making? This page will get you off to a good start, without actually providing step-by-step info like the e-book down there.

I will show you how to build possibly the quickest, simplest and most fool-proof type of kite that results in reasonable flying performance. It will also prove very cheap to put together.

Sure, you can spend more time and make rather more interesting and higher-performing kites than the type described here.

Making Dowel Kites is an e-book that's worth a look (or printing off) when you want to explore bigger and better kites. Using similar materials and construction methods - that is, just dowels, plastic and tape.

But the ultra-simple Diamond described below will provide the all-important early success that you need. Then, you might end up really motivated to progress further in the hobby.

Great durability or crash-resistance, is not a priority here, since you just want to see your creation fly, right? ASAP!

After a bit of the inevitable wear-and-tear, you can just patch things up with a bit of tape. If worst comes to worst, it's not hard to quickly whip up another kite.

In time, you might move on to less basic kite making techniques which result in hardier kites. Besides, you'll be less prone to mis-treat them then!

Basic kite making with the classic Diamond.Simple flat Diamond with streamer tail

Basic Kite Making

Suitable sail material is all around, just about anywhere you look. It just has to be light. The lighter the better. Serious kite-makers tend to turn up their noses at plastic, but the truth is, it's a fantastic material for your very first kite. Here's a list of possibilities...

  • garbage bags (best for quite small kites, say up to 50cm or 18" in height)
  • garden bags (similar, although some brands are slightly heavier multi-ply)
  • old shower curtains (make sure the kite is fairly big, say over 1 meter or 3 feet tall)
  • space blankets (similarly!)
  • painter's drop sheets (for even bigger kites)

Finding spar material, that is, the sticks that the sail is attached to, is a little harder. But still fairly straight-forward. For rather small kites, you can experiment with bamboo skewers. Find them in any supermarket. Kites around 1 meter (3 feet) in height can employ 5mm (3/16") hard wooden dowel. Hardware stores sell wooden dowel.

Here's the trick with basic kite making using wooden dowel... If your finished kite bends like crazy and flops about on the end of the line without flying well, the dowel is too narrow. Go up a size or 2 and try again! At the other extreme, if your kite needs a fresh breeze to even look like flying, your dowel is far too thick and heavy. Go down a size or 2 and try again! A light wind is all the kite should need.

Basic Kite Making
A Plastic Diamond

Armed with the diagram down there, and the general guidelines already given, you have a great chance of seeing your very own Diamond kite soar up high into the blue. Or gray or white or whatever. Soon.

Diagram for a basic Diamond kite.Quickie - no bridle required!

See how the flying line attaches to where the spars cross. The location of that crossing-point is important. Stick to it exactly, and you should not be disappointed when the kite is ready for a test fly.

By the way, the flying line is threaded through a small hole in the sail, to where it is tied to the spars. When flying, the spars are on the far side of the kite. You will most likely be able to see the spars through the plastic sail.

This basic kite design definitely needs a tail. A simple ribbon of the same material as the sail will do, about 1/10 as wide as the kite itself. Just to be safe, try making it 10 times as long as the kite is high. That might seem a lot, but it can make up for inaccuracies in construction. It gives you the best chance of success. Just tie the tail to the vertical spar, where indicated on the diagram.

When you have the kite flying successfully, you can experiment with shorter tails. The shorter the tail, the wilder and more unpredictable the flight patterns!

Out In The Field

Diamond kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

Join those spars together any way you like. Just keep it light! Go for shoe-laces rather than high-tensile fencing wire :-)

In fact, if you are happy to have the flying line permanently attached to the kite, simply bind the spars together with the end of the line.

The raw simplicity of this approach does not call for anything around the edge of the sail either. No string, no tape. Quick and simple! Definitely basic kite making. Like the tiny blue Diamond below, which uses 2 bamboo skewers for spars...

My wife flying our Tiny Tots Diamond design.If my wife, not interested in kites, can make one and fly it...

This kite, in almost any size, will fly a little erratically, but that long tail will keep bringing the nose back into line with the wind. Thus the kite will remain well off the ground. The ideal wind strength required will vary, according to just how big and how heavy you have made this Diamond.

Hope you have enjoyed this discussion of basic kite making. Happy flying! Once you have seen your first plastic Diamond dancing around at 200 feet, you'll be itching for more. Browse around this site a bit more and you'll find enough to keep you busy for years!

Making Dowel Kites is an e-book that's worth a look (or printing off) when you want to explore bigger and better kites. Using similar materials and construction methods - that is, just dowels, plastic and tape.

Check out one of our own simple dowel-and-plastic Diamonds in the video below...

Need winders, reels, flying line?

We earn a small commission if you click the following link and buy something. The item does not cost you any more, since we are an "affiliate" of Amazon.

Click here to buy anything you need. Just use the Search box in there if you need different weights or lengths of line, for example.

P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Club Fly At Semaphore

    Nov 11, 18 10:45 PM

    It was back to the usual Semaphore Park location this month... True to the weather site prediction, a Gentle-strength breeze was coming off the ocean after mid-day. The direction was much more souther…

    Read More

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 ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
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

Like/share this site...

Like/share this page...


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...

Return to How To Build Kites from Basic Kite Making

All the way back to Home Page