The Butterfly Kite

Some Observations And Examples

Just a few thoughts here, about the Butterfly kite. To tell the truth, I can only remember seeing one actual example flying in the air. It strikes me as a rather female-friendly kind of kite...

In fact, the one my wife and I saw at a kite festival was being flown by a woman. Not a child, note! I can also recall the occasional online photo or two of a Butterfly being flown - once again, by a woman! And how about the keen photographer who took the image at the bottom of this page .... you guessed it ...

Butterfly kites are arty. It doesn't seem to matter in what exact shape, size or form they come. Butterfly kites are almost always dressed up. Sometimes purely as an artwork, whether childish or more sophisticated.

Otherwise, they are made to look as realistic as possible. That takes some doing, since the living insect puts on an intricate and often very beautiful display of color.

I guess the closest thing I have designed so far, that has 'wings' would be the MBK Dowel Delta :-) Like a friend of mine has done, you can always add a little art to make it look better than my pale-orange original...

Making The MBK Dowel Delta is a printable e-book. It's a PDF file download.

Authentic Chinese Butterfly kite

Pretty things sell better than plain things, so a decent butterfly design must be fairly easy to move off the kite-shop shelves. OK, walls or ceiling ;-) You know how they like to hang things here there and everywhere, like some sort of kiting art installation.

A typical Butterfly design is just a little taller than it is wide, in many cases. Hence it should be easier to get flying stable than say a Bird kite. That's just a hunch on my part. If you have made a lot of kites, would you agree? I've certainly read some stories online of how long some Bird kite designs took to get right!

Good Butterflies don't actually need tails, but often have them for looks. Also, these types are generally mid-sized. Say, less than a meter (3 feet) across.

Talking about size brings to mind a group of enthusiasts who posted a photo of their giant Butterfly on this site! There's a copy of that photo down near the bottom of this page...

The Butterfly has become one of the most popular creature-kites around, among single-surface designs. Other big 'creature' categories would have to include Bird and Fish kites. These ideas seem to have originated in China, centuries ago.

A Butterfly Kite Zoo

Child's Butterfly Kite Project

Child's Kite Kit

Photo courtesy of

A typical small kite for kids. This one's plain, but kids can easily add their own art-work to the sail material before the kite is cut out and assembled.

Modern butterfly kite from shop

Modern Kite Shop Butterfly

Photo courtesy of

This hi-tech example flies stable without tails, and features a 3D appearance. Rich colors are even brighter when the sun shines through from behind. Marvelous!

Traditional Chinese butterfly kite

Traditional Chinese Butterfly

Photo courtesy of

The real thing, in pink to be in keeping with the female-friendly tone of this page! These designs have hardly changed in terms of materials, construction techniques and general appearance for hundreds of years. Amazing.

Massive Home-Made Butterfly Kite

Massive Home-Made Butterfly

This monster is almost 2 1/2 meters (10 feet) wide and weighs 4 1/2 kilos. It has a linen sail, and is reputed to be somewhat harder to land than to launch... Spectacular! By some kite-making enthusiasts from the Czech Republic. Yes, this one's not so much a lady's kite is it!

How's that for a 4-picture summary of the Butterfly corner of the kiting world! Enjoy the photo below, too...

And if DIY is more your thing...

Making The MBK Dowel Delta is a printable e-book. It's a PDF file download.

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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.

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  1. Making Paper Kites - A Step-By-Step Guide

    Sep 18, 18 12:58 AM

    Making Paper Kites is a fully photo-illustrated step-by-step guide to making high-flying Sled, Diamond, Rokkaku, Sode and Delta kites from just copier paper and sticky tape. Even the spars are paper-a…

    Read More


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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 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"

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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