On this page are a number of easy steps showing you how to make an indoor delta kite from readily available materials.
MBK Indoor Delta
MBK Indoor Delta
The only materials required for this design are
- 1 sheet of plain copier paper. A4 or Letter size. Use colored paper if you want to!
- 18mm (3/4") clear sticky tape. In a dispenser preferably. Narrower tape would be even better, if you have it.
- A light plastic bag, at least 45cm x 30cm (18" x 12") before being cut open. I used large-size freezer bags.
- Any polyester sewing thread, preferably the lightest available.
The tools required, if you can call them that, are
- a pair of scissors
- a ruler
- a straight edge longer than 45cm (18")
- a ball-point pen
- colored permanent markers
Note: In the photos below, yellow lines have been added to make clear where the edges of sticky tape are.
Step 1 - Make Sail
Measured and dots marked
- Lay down a plastic bag, and smooth it out to remove the most obvious folds and creases.
- Measure and mark dots as indicated in the photo.
Bag flipped and dots traced
- Flip the bag over.
- Mark dots over the 2 showing through the plastic. To the left in the photo above.
Bag cut and opened out
- Cut the bag along the sealed edge, to open it.
- Cut the bag along the opposite side to the side with 3 dots.
- Open the bag out into a single flat sheet, with the dots on top. In the photo you can see all 7 dots.
All lines drawn
- Rule lines between 6 of the dots as shown, to complete the delta shape.
Step 2 - Decorate Sail
Do you have permanent colored markers? Time to take them out...
Decorated with permanent markers
- My approach was to put a 0.6 cm (1/4") wide border of black all around on the inside of the delta outline. Followed by 1 cm (3/8") wide colored stripes down each side of the center-line, 0.6cm (1/4") apart. See the photo.
- You do whatever you like! Just try not to add too much weight though. Doing 'sparing line art' is how to make an indoor delta kite look good and minimize weight.
Delta shape cut out
- Cut all around the delta shape with scissors. Cutting thin plastic can be tricky so take your time. Sharp scissors help!
- From here on, we will refer to the plastic piece as the sail.
Step 3 - Make Spars
Measure And Draw
Dots measured and marked
- Take your sheet of paper and mark dots as shown.
Note: Some of the dots were too close together to fit a complete arrow between them on the photo. The measurements show how far to go down (or up) in each case. Easy!
- With ruler and pen, connect the dots as shown.
Laminate And Cut Out
Tape laid down over shapes
- Lay down sticky tape to fully cover the shapes. A small amount of overlap is OK.
Tape laid down over shapes, reverse side
- Flip the paper over so you can add tape to the reverse side of all the shapes. It might help to place the paper up against a well-lit window, to trace the corners. Another way is to poke holes through the paper with a pin, at all the corners. Then you can see where all the shapes are.
Spar pieces cut out
- Cut out all the shapes, as shown.
- Fold all the shapes in half down their lengths as shown.
- Crease all the folds sharply. The thin ends are tricky, but it can be done! Just do the best you can, by working along from the thicker ends and it should be OK. Pinching between thumb-nail and fore-finger works well.
- What you have now is a vertical spar (the longest piece), 2 leading edge spars (the next longest pieces) and the spreader (the shortest piece). Note that the dot in the middle of the spreader is on the outside of the fold.
At this point, you're about half-way through learning how to make an indoor delta kite! The hardest bits have been done already, I'd say.
Step 4 - Attach Spars
Tape Vertical Spar
Vertical spar in position
- Flip the sail so the art work is against the table.
- Take the vertical spar and align the narrow end to the top corner of the sail. Also ensure the fold angle is 90 degrees or a little less.
Spar taped on, at nose end
- At the top corner of the sail, place a short strip of sticky tape across the fold line of the spar.
- Gently press down on both sides so the tape goes down then across to the left and right.
- With scissors, trim the overhanging tape flush with the sail edges. See the photo.
Spar taped on, at tail end
- At the bottom corner of the sail, lay down a 4cm (1 1/2") strip of tape as shown.
- Now lay down another 2 strips of the same length, right on top of the first one. This is to put a little extra weight there, for stability.
- If the spar overhangs a bit, as in the photo, leave it.
Spar taped behind towing point
- Measure down from the narrow end of the vertical spar and make a mark at 12cm (4 3/4")
- Place a short strip of tape over the spar, lining it up with the mark as shown in the photo. This stops the sail separating from the spar when the kite is being towed.
Tape Leading Edge Spars
A leading edge spar in position
- In a similar way, lay down a leading edge spar, ensuring the fold angles are 90 degrees or a little less. See how it lines up with the wing-tip.
- Apply 3 squares of tape as shown, trimming along the edge of the sail if any tape overhangs.
Both leading edge spars taped down
- In the same way, tape the other spar in place too. See the photo of the whole sail.
Step 5 - Attach Spreader
One end of spreader attached
- Place the spreader horizontally as shown, aligning the central mark with the fold in the vertical spar.
- Slide the spreader up or down until it just fits between the leading edge spars.
- Stick one end of the spreader onto the sail as shown, using a square of sticky tape. Don't flatten the spreader paper! Just dab the tape down on each side.
Other end of spreader attached
- Now place some handy object underneath the leading edge, near where you just applied the tape.
- Shift the supporting object until the other spreader tip starts to rest against the sail.
- Gently place a square of sticky tape over the spreader tip, so it too is stuck to the plastic.
- Make sure the sticky tape is stuck firmly. Again, be careful not to flatten the fold in the spreader.
Step 6 - Attach Flying Line
You have pretty much finished learning how to make an indoor delta kite at this point!
Thread laid down and taped
- Flip the kite over and mark a dot on the vertical spar, 12.5cm (5") from the nose end. Try to be accurate here.
- Cut off about 2 meters (6 feet) of polyester sewing thread and lay one end over the dot.
- Stick down at least 4cm (1 1/2") of the thread by lining up a similar length of sticky tape with the dot, as shown in the photo. Press gently, to avoid crushing the paper spars.
Second bridle tape laid across
- Add a 3cm (1") strip of tape cross-ways, as shown in the close-up photo. The kite is ready to fly.
Step 7 - Flying!
Indoor Delta about to climb away
Indoor Delta about to climb away
This is a very low-speed kite and it will effortlessly float up at walking pace. Be careful not to jerk the thread or pull too quickly, since this will promptly fold up at least one of the spars!
If a spar does fold up, don't despair. Just carefully pinch the paper where it failed, to get it back into that V-shape section once again. Then try again, going a little slower or smoother this time.
The Launch Technique
This is how I like to launch, on a length of thread equal to your shoulder height...
- Lay the kite flat on the floor, with the thread on top of course and the tail end pointing at your feet.
- Lift gently straight up, while taking a couple of quick steps backwards.
- If the kite appears to be rising, turn around and walk forwards while looking back over your shoulder.
- Within seconds, you should see the kite floating behind. Walk a little faster to climb the kite, slow down to descend. It's a fine balance!
If you have the space, try letting out more thread and adjusting your speed until the kite cruises along just short of the ceiling. Look out for light fittings and so on. Look where you're going too, from time to time ;-)
If you need even more line length, just tie on more thread and wind it onto a small square of cardboard.
I hope you have enjoyed learning how to make an indoor delta kite this way.
Ever Made This Kite?
You've probably read a kite-flying story or 2 of mine, after they appear under the "what's new?" link on this site. I sometimes wonder if anyone else has made and flown this particular design...
If you feel your efforts really paid off when the the kite finally got airborne - please type a few paragraphs in here telling us all about it!
P.S. I can only accept stories of at least 300 words. Just mention a few details like the weather, onlookers, the kite's behavior and so on - 300 words is easy!