When I first started making drafts for this post, it was late spring. I was frequently seeing kites flying in our local park, and it reminded me of a few attempts of both making and flying a kite when I was growing up in Korea. In Korea, a traditional and common form of a kite is a rectangular one with a hole in the center.
For testing a hand on kite making, I decided to make a simple diamond kite. It started simple, but on the way, I started to make a couple of tweaks in an attempt to bring, let’s say, some flavor. I decided to use tree twigs instead of more commonly used dowels one can get in craft stores. Also, I made the horizontal of the kite longer than vertical, which resulted in more of a stingray shape (a.k.a. wide diamond).
With that kite, Mathias and I sat out on a day of kite flying in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It was actually a hosted event, where there were a lot of people flying kites as well.
And… our kite didn’t fly. It was a pretty breezy day, and so many people around were having great success so I know it wasn’t the weather’s fault. Our kite simply refused to be airborne… Luckily it didn’t distress Mathias too terribly (because there were many other things to do at the park – we ended up playing in playgrounds and getting ice cream), but that evening back at home, Mathias randomly stated, “Mommy, our kite didn’t fly.” -which was sad and hilarious at the same time.
So I figure the problem was the weight (tree branches are heftier than those light store bought dowels) as well as the un-aerodynamic shape of the kite. Subconsciously shaken by the pure disaster (ok, I’m exaggerating a little), I put it off to fix the problem, and it was over my head for a couple of weeks.
I finally got myself together and gave another shot. This time I kept it very simple, sticking to the lighter dowels and simple, longitudinal diamond shape.
- Best weather for flying kite is lightly breezy weather. It would be around 5~10 miles/hour wind speed.
- Never fly a kite during a thunderstorm!
- (2) basswood dowels around 1/8″ diameter
- garbage bag/newspaper/tissue paper – lighter the better
- paint/colored paper to decorate
- glue or tape
1. The size of kite depends on you, but make a vertical dowel 4~6 inches longer than the horizontal. Dab a little white glue on the intersection of dowels (as it dries it’ll strengthen the connection of dowels) and then with string, go around the dowels couple times and tie a double knot.
2. Dab on little white glue at each end of dowels. Start tying a string around at each end continuously, forming a diamond shape.
3. Cut a diamond shape around the kite frame, leaving about 1″~2″ room.
4. Fold over the paper at the edge and secure with glue or tape.
5. Cut (1) piece of string about 6 inches longer than vertical, and another (1) piece of string about 6 inches longer than horizontal. Tie them to the ends of the dowels, and at the intersection of those two strings, tie the spool of flying string on.
6. Make a tail. Cut a few short strips of paper or fabric, and a string about 4 feet long. Tie around the strips of paper at intervals.
7. Tie the tail on at the very bottom of the dowel. I also put the flying string around the toilet paper (painted blue, bit better than original…), but flying directly with original string spool will work too.