Perhaps you've read about how to make simple paper kites from single sheets of
copier paper with 2 sticks or straws forming the spars. Little Sleds or paper planes in
other words, which dance around in light breezes outdoors or perhaps are
towed around indoors if there is enough space.
Well, this design goes one step further and eliminates the sticks. It does have spars, but they are folded into the sail, origami-style! A bit further down this page you'll learn to make a minimum Sled kite this way.
So cheap and simple - but it flies!
After making the original, I went out one day for a test fly. Conditions were almost calm...
Every now and then, a puff of wind came through. It proved just enough to loft the little Sled up around tree height, for some video and still shots. Perhaps for half a minute or so each time.
But the piece of folded A4 paper certainly flew!
Like origami, making paper kites like this MBK Minimum Sled does not require any ruler measurements or scissor cuts! Read on to find out how...
So, the only materials required for this super-minimal design are
- 1 sheet of plain copier paper. It should be A4 or Letter size.
- 12mm (1/2") clear sticky tape. In a dispenser preferably.
- Any polyester sewing thread, preferably the lightest available. The lightest available Dacron or Nylon flying line would also do a good job.
No joke, that's it!
The tool required is a skewer, of any type of material. It just has to be sharp, to poke a couple of holes. In fact, I got by with a bamboo BBQ skewer!
So cheap and simple - but it flies!
Like to see a video clip? Just scroll down to near the end...
The MBK Paper Sled, another design, could be considered the 'big brother' of the Minimum Sled presented further down on this page.
When you've had a bit of fun with learning to make a minimum Sled kite, try the more advanced Paper Sled which will fly higher, longer and in much stronger wind. And yes - it's still an example of making paper kites from just paper and tape!
Step 1 - Find The Center-Line
Fold the sheet so the longer sides bend. Line up 2 of the corners as accurately as you can.
Don't crease the paper all the way along the fold. Instead, just pinch
it right near one end as in the photo. Then line up and pinch the other
Lay the paper flat. You should see the 2 tiny creases as in the photo.
Step 2 - Fold Up The 'Spars'
Fold the sheet in from both sides so the shorter edges meet exactly in the middle.
Lay the folded sheet on a smooth hard surface, and sharpen the
creases with your fingernail. That's right, press firmly and run your
fingernail up and down the creases.
Turn the paper over and unfold one flap, as in the photo.
With both hands, pinch a small width of the crease and fold it back towards you. After sharpening the new crease, it should look like the photo.
How's that - making paper kites without anything extra for the spars!
Now do the other side the same. Don't worry, I've found it's quite easy to get them both very similar in width. Just do it so it 'feels' the same.
Step 3 - Fold And Tear Leading Edges
Fold the paper and line up 2 corners as shown.
Fold both layers of paper into a triangular flap as shown. The fold line
starts right next to the spar-folds that are already there.
Crease sharply using your trusty fingernail. An essential 'tool' for making paper kites!
Open out the whole paper kite, and sharpen the crease of both flaps
individually. Now fold them both back the other way, and sharpen the
crease again with your fingernail.
Do this 8 times on both flaps to weaken the fold-line, then carefully tear them off.
OK, if you want to cheat on that last step, go grab a pair of scissors. I admit it's quicker, but you can't brag that you used no tools at all except a skewer!
Now this paper kite is starting to look like a Sled!
Step 4 - Adding The Bridle
Fold the paper kite as in the photo and line up the corners.
Then poke your sharp skewer through both layers of paper, where the black dot is.
You don't have to mark a black dot, I just marked it to make the position clear in the photo.
Cut off a piece of polyester thread (or light Dacron or Nylon) that is at least twice as long as the longest side of a sheet of copy paper.
Tie each end through a hole in your paper kite. Without crushing the paper, as in the photo.
Stick a length of tape in place to reinforce the bridle attachment. Make
it long enough to fold a similar length around and onto the other side
of the paper. Try to make it look just like the photo.
Do the other hole the same way.
Fold the kite to bring the corners and holes together, and hence find the exact center of the bridle line.
Tie a small loop into the bridle line at dead center. There it is at the top center of the photo. If you look hard!
Step 5 - Flying Paper Kites!
That's the kite all made up. All that remains is to attach a flying
line to that little loop and watch the little Sled soar up to the
Out In The Field
Sled kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!
Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.
I hope you have enjoyed learning to make a minimum Sled kite this way. Now, regarding flying...
Outdoors, you will need to wait for gentle winds of
between 5 and 8kph (3 to 5mph) for best results. Or, in a dead calm,
just jog along slowly to tow it up.
You will do best if you use ordinary polyester sewing thread for the flying line.
Don't forget to try the MBK Paper Sled too, which will fly in wind speeds of 8 to 28kph (5 to 18mph). A useful wind range indeed!
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!
Flight Reports From Other Visitors
Click below to read about various kite-flying adventures, contributed by other visitors to this page...
Have fun, and here's a video of this folded paper kite for encouragement...