There's plenty of general info on making Chinese kites, if you browse around the Web. Like, you need some bamboo and a sheet of paper, nylon or silk! But strangely, no-one seems to have published any in-depth step-by-step guide to making authentic Chinese kites.
Just about everything relates to simple classroom exercises where
children make 'Chinese-style' kites from straws and paper and so on.
Oh! Look at little Johnny's finger-painted Chinese kite! Plenty
of school teacher material but very little for someone who wants to
re-create the real thing. Me think it 'mazing. :-/
If you're really serious about making Chinese kites, maybe
try asking around in the Chinatown section of your nearest big city,
and apprentice yourself to a master kite maker. If you can find one. ;-)
What I can share with you are the 4 stages to making real Chinese kites. A typical paper flat kite would use this procedure, for example a butterfly kite.
Firstly, some suitable lengths of bamboo need to be
selected. I went to a kite festival recently, and some Taiwanese guys
from the Yinlin Kite Club were using Taiwan Makino bamboo. The bamboo is
pared off with a sharp knife, thin enough to flex to the required shape
or outline of the kite. The kite frame is made by gluing or otherwise
attaching together a number of bamboo strips.
Secondly, paper is cut to shape and pasted onto the frame.
Not just any paper, it has to be 'tough and thin with even and long
fibers'. Probably not available from your local Newsagent!
Thirdly, the paper is hand-painted with the desired
design. Some designs also call for chiffon or cotton ribbons to be
attached. Either purely as decoration or for a tail in some cases.
Fourthly, the bridle needs to be made and attached to the
right spots. If you have made other kites before, a little experimenting
should result in a happily flying Chinese kite!
Many Chinese kites use nylon cloth, while the best and priciest use silk cloth.
Imagine being involved in building a big dragon kite. Although
they come in a large range of sizes, the construction method is pretty
much the same. A complex 3-dimensional head plus a looooooong stack of
simple flat kites that give that 'centipede' look when high up in the
air. Sorry I don't have any dragon kite plans to offer here just yet.