On this page are a number of easy steps showing you how to make an indoor genki kite from readily available materials.
MBK Indoor Genki
MBK Indoor Genki
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 4 showing through the plastic. See 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 4 dots.
- Open the bag out into a single flat sheet, with the dots on top. In the photo you can see all 12 dots.
All lines drawn
- Using the dots to guide you, rule lines as shown in the (enhanced) photo.
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 sail outline. Followed by 1 cm (3/8") wide colored stripes down the inside of where the vertical spars go. Spaced 0.6cm (1/4") away from the vertical spar center-lines. 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 genki kite look good and minimize weight.
Genki shape cut out
- Cut all around the outside border 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: Each white line - even if it is so short it looks like a dot - has a corresponding measurement nearby.
- 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, if you need more than 4 strips.
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.
Join Horizontal Spar Pieces
Wide ends joined
- Lay down the 2 pieces with the widest ends, bringing those 2 ends together. Although there is no continuous straight edge, do your best to align the pieces as shown, by eye.
- Tape the pieces together at the join. Use just enough tape to go once around the entire join.
- Fold all the shapes in half down their lengths as shown.
- Crease all the folds sharply. The thin ones are tricky, but it can be done! Just do the best you can, by working along from one end to the other. Pinching between thumb and fore-finger works well.
- What you have now is 2 vertical spars (the shortest pieces), a horizontal spar (the longest piece) and 2 battens (the thinnest pieces).
At this point, you're about half-way through learning how to make an indoor genki kite! The hardest bits have been done already, I'd say.
Step 4 - Attach Spars
Tape Vertical Spars
Vertical spars in position
- Flip the sail so the art work is against the table.
- Take the vertical spars and align them to the top corners of the upper sail and over the corresponding dots near the trailing edge of the sail. Also ensure the fold angles are 90 degrees or a little less.
Spars taped on, at nose end
- At the upper ends, place a square of sticky tape across the fold line of each spar.
- Gently press down on both sides so the tape goes down then across to the left and right.
- With scissors, trim any overhanging tape flush with the sail edges. See the photo.
Spars taped on, at tail end
- At the tail end of the sail, lay down a squares of tape as indicated in the photo. Note how the tape is aligned to the sail edge, so there's no need to trim flush.
Tape Horizontal Spar
Horizontal spar taped to sail
- Check the fold in a horizontal spar and sharpen the crease if necessary to get that 90 degree fold angle.
- Tape the spar in place over the sail as shown. Use squares of tape at the tips and a 4cm (1 1/2") length over the middle. In the middle, it's ok for the paper to flex a little while you press the edges against the sail plastic.
- With scissors, trim the overhanging tape at the tips, flush with the sail edge. See the photo.
Step 5 - Attach Battens
One batten attached
- Take a batten and sharpen the crease if necessary.
- Position the batten over one wing-tip, aligning 1 tip to the bottom corner of the sail.
- Place a square of tape over each end of the batten as shown in the photo.
Both battens attached
- In the same way, add the remaining batten to the other wing-tip. There they both are, in the photo.
Step 6 - Attach Flying Line
You have pretty much finished learning how to make an indoor genki kite at this point!
Thread laid down and taped
- Flip the kite over so the spars are against the table.
- Cut off about 2 meters (6 feet) of polyester sewing thread. Lay one end over the dot on the sail near the middle of the horizontal spar.
- Stick down at least 4cm (1 1/4") of the thread by lining up a 4cm (1 1/4") strip of sticky tape with the dot, as shown in the photo. Press above and below the fold-line of the spar, to avoid flattening the paper.
- Stick down another, shorter, length of tape - going across this time instead of down. See the photo.
Step 7 - Flying!
Indoor Genki Makes It Through The Arch
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 genki 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!