New takes on kites!

8 03 2010

Here are the kites I was talking about earlier. These kites are a little different from the traditional kites, but will fly just as well and are a little more interesting.

If you have a lot of time and want a challenge, try making this tetrahedral kite:

Supplies:

60 long, straight drinking straws
Scissors
Kite string or thin, strong string that will stay knotted, at least 30 feet
4 wooden dowels, 1/8 diameter
Big sheet of paper
Newspaper, cellophane, or plastic bags
Tape
A pen/marker

1. Cut your string eight times as long as one of your straws.

2. String three straws together by pushing the string through the straw with a dowel. Tie the straws into a triangle. Leave two inches of string at the end. Then use the longer piece of string and pull it through two more straws and tie a knot so it looks like this:

3. Use this frame to make a pattern. Place the frame on top of the sheet of paper and trace around it, leaving about a one inch around the edge. Cut it out and use it to make ten cutouts of the newspaper, cellophane, or plastic bags, whatever you would like your kite’s shell to be.

4. Use the leftover string in the frame and add another straw onto the triangles. This makes a 3-d triangle, which will be one cell of the kite. Take the frame and place it on one of your cutouts. Attach with tape.

The kite frame.

Covering the frame with the shell.

5. Make 9 more cells. Attach all the cells together in the shape of a triangle with the leftover bits of string. To make them more secure, you can tape the knots and excess string to the inside of the cells.  Make sure all sides covered with the cutouts are facing the same direction.

The first layer should have 6 cells, the second should have 3, and the top layer should only have 1 cell.

6.  Cut off excess string between the cells. Along the leading edge of the cells tape your dowels to the straws for reinforcement.  Then cut two small holes on the top cell’s and lower cell’s shell, each in the middle of the cells. Tie the string around the dowels and straws and secure with tape. Then take the string you want to fly the kite by, and tie it one-third of the way down from the top of the kite. Wrap the excess around the left over dowel. It’s now ready to fly!

A kite ready for flight!

To make a kite out of recycled materials and for almost no money, try this:

Supplies:

Plastic shopping bag
Two thin wooden sticks
Duct tape
String

1. Take the two sticks and lay one other the other perpendicularly, so it looks like a + sign. Then take one piece of the duct tape and place it over where the sticks intersect.

2. Attach the 4 ends of the sticks to the bag with the tape. Then attach the string to another piece of tape and stick that piece to the bag of the center tape piece. Now it’s ready to fly.

I love my new kites and can’t wait to fly them at the festival or during the next few months.  I hope you go out and fly some too!

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