Paper Kites

And Other Single Liners

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 Series kites are in a category of their own. That's because each one is capable of flying hundreds of feet in the air for long periods - despite being made entirely of copier paper and sticky tape!

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.

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.

Indian fighter kites, made from tissue and bamboo.sTraditional Indian fighter kites
Indian fighter kites, made from tissue and bamboo.sTraditional Indian fighter kites

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.

Unfortunately, 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 ;-)


"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world. Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."


The photo 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.

Now, read about some things you never knew...

Paper kites don't come any simpler than this single-sheet example.MBK Minimum Sled rising on a light gust

Paper kites don't come any simpler than this single-sheet example.MBK Minimum Sled rising on a light gust

... R/C kites - researched

... R/C kites - up close and personal!

... bird kites we have seen

... other kinds of bird kites

... Japanese fish kites

... other fish kites

... butterfly kites

... fishing kites

... cool kites!

... funny kites!

... pocket kites

... Balinese kites

... styrofoam kites

... mini kites

... indoor kites

... giant kites

... bag kites

... ancient Maori kites

... tetrahedral kites

... a Malaysian kite

... more Malaysian kites

... large kites


Some Miscellaneous Kite Topics

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!

After hearing about the book and the movie, have you ever been curious about kite running? Wonder no more. Also, read up on the North American kite fighting scene.

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." And most likely a few more by now!

Anthony Thyssen was 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!



Paper Kites From China To Java

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!

The MBK Paper Sled in flight.Just 1 sheet of copier paper, but it certainly flies
The MBK Paper Sled in flight.Just 1 sheet of copier paper, but it certainly flies

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...

It's another look at the MBK Minimum Sled, made from a single sheet of copier paper, with folds acting as spars!

The designs in the e-book Making Paper Kites are somewhat larger and can cope with a much wider range of wind speeds. Right up to around 30kph as long as the thread holds!

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P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

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Wind Speeds

Light Air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2

Gentle ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7

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Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...