Just about everyone has either made or seen paper kites at some stage in their lives. The categories below are full of interesting information on many kinds of unusual kites. In fact, some of these categories are a bit odd! Like the Funny Kites or the zero-line variety which are controlled by a radio transmitter.
The MBK Paper Sled is in a category of it's own. That's because it's capable of flying hundreds of feet in the air for long periods - despite being made entirely of copier paper and sticky tape! Other kites in the MBK Paper Series are being developed too.
There is such variety in kites that have paper sails, let alone single liners in general. Everything from the classic Western diamond shape kite to Oriental fish kites to Maori kites.
The photo down there shows a tiny Sled which I designed and made from a single sheet of A4 copier paper. That's quite close to Letter size in the U.S.
Even parafoils can be seen floating at the end of a single string. These almost completely ready-to-fly designs tend to be much simpler and cheaper than the steerable kites used by stunt fliers or board riders.
Since so many people design kites, there is huge variety to be seen even within each category.
Half the fun of single line kites these days is just the way they look, not just the way they fly! I guess looks count more for young kids, while flying characteristics charm the older flyers. But there are always exceptions. What do you get out of single line paper kites, or any kind for that matter?
I can remember buying and flying an Indian kite while in High School. Made of tissue and bamboo, it flew extremely well! It was quite similar to those authentic square paper kites in the picture.
the fragile Indian kite didn't fare too well when Cyclone (Hurricane)
Tracy almost wiped Darwin off the map the following Christmas day!
That would have been a great night to try a concrete box kite. With high-tensile fencing wire as flying line ;-)
Now, read about some things you never knew...
Now, this is a page about miscellaneous single-line kite topics. Not just paper kites. Hence, a page about finding good kite clip art belongs here as much as anywhere else on this site!
Here's one for the school-kids learning about science. The Benjamin Franklin kite was a feasable design that might have been flown by Mr Franklin himself! In case you want to make one for yourself, you can try my instructions for making a Ben Franklin kite replica.
There's nothing like a kite festival for checking out colorful kites! We've taken the odd photo at these types of events.
If you keep your eyes peeled at a festival, you might find some rather unusual kite shapes. Some of these are one-of-a-kind though, so don't expect to ever see them all!
Interested in a somewhat long and detailed history of kites? It's actually a compilation of other historical info on this site.
Also read about flying kites in the 1950's, if you are in the mood for more history. By a guest writer who was there!
Glenn Davison is an eco-artist and workshop leader who has been featured on HGTV as a New England Craftsman. He is the editor of the books, "Kites in the Classroom," "How to Fly a Kite," and the "Guide to Building Miniature Kites." As at Feb. 2010 he is a director of the club, “Kites Over New England” and Chairman of the Education Committee for the American Kitefliers Association.
Anthony Thyssen is a systems programmer with Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. In his spare time, Anthony has tinkered long-term with single-line kites and kite messengers. Consequently, he has built up an extensive website of useful kite-making and kite-related information. His impressively old site is also a fascinating portal into other people's resources on kites and kite-related activities. In times past, Anthony has been a newsletter editor and webmaster for the Queensland Kite Flyers Society.
A question that people often ask is Who invented the kite? Since almost all kites over 200 years old no longer exist, finding the answer comes down to careful research of ancient documents.
Making a kite starts with choosing which kind of design you to want to build! There's a fair amount of choice available on this site - just check out the Kite Making section up there on the left!
Are you interested in some history on how kites spread throughout the non-western world, centuries before they became popular in the West? The very first kites flew in China, thousands of years ago. Just look at my Chinese Kites section over there on the left to find out more about this.
At some early stage, the idea spread to Japan and Korea as well. Eventually paper kites were to be found in South East Asia too, and the spread continued down the Malay Peninsula. We're still talking 2000 years ago at this point! Hopping from island to island in people's canoes, the simple single-line kite idea then continued to move through Indonesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. Bark took the place of paper in these kites. Come to think of it, there's actually an Australian native tree called the Paperbark!
Right on the end of this chain of countries lies Australia, where I'm typing this right now. No doubt, we got our first paper kites from English settlers and possibly convicts in the 18th Century. The original aboriginal population had a number of remarkable inventions, but as far as I know they didn't fly kites.
In more recent times, kite flyers over here have been influenced by the kite flying activities of our Asian neighbors. These countries are just a few hours away by air, to the North-West.
Now, for something completely different, see the photo below... A simple Sled, made from a single sheet of copier paper, with folds acting as spars!
For further proof that this kite actually flies, just check out the short video below...
The MBK Paper Sled is somewhat larger and can cope with a much wider range of wind speeds. Right up to around 30kph as long as the thread holds!