How to Make Sled Kite

Up, up, and away!

Kite flying is a dedicated pursuit these days, an eco-friendly sport that's destined to pop up on the sports channels soon (or has it already?). Sponsored teams compete worldwide with dual-line, Kevlar-tethered, ripstop nylon techno-dreams that cost more than most people make in a week. Ratings are awarded champagne corks are popped, and competitors go home to arise at five a.m. and practice some more.

But there's another world of kites out there. In this other world, kites are made from simple materials (often found materials), tethered with cheap cotton string, and flown by folks who arise from their desks at 5 p.m. looking for something fun to do.

Fortunately it's still possible to make an inexpensive kite that's fun to fly and simple to build. Get on out there and have some fun!

The kites shown here have three parts. First, there's the kite fabric. Made of paper or plastic tarp, it catches the wind. The frame, made of plastic straws or wooden dowels, gives the kite its shape. And then there's the bridle, which connects the kite to the main control line (the string that you hold onto the kite with).

You'll find two different kites here. One is quite simple, while the other requires a little more care to build. But the main difference between the two kites is the quality of the materials. These can be found in your local hardware store or possibly around your house. Both can be assembled inexpensively and easily.

Method 1: The Paper and Straw Kite

A small, simple kite that costs almost nothing to build.

Method 1 - Step 1

Method 2: The Classic Scott Sled Kite

The Scott Sled is another simple kite, but more durable and convenient to transport. This kite flies well in very light breezes, so long as the line is kept taut. Refer back to the What you'll need section and collect the necessary materials. Find a spacious, clean, well-lighted workplace that you can safely make cuts on (not on wood floors or rugs).

Method 2 - Step 1

Method 1: The Paper and Straw Kite

Step 1: Make the frame

You'll create an H-shaped frame that you'll glue or tape some paper onto.

Method 1: The Paper and Straw Kite

Step 2: Attach the paper and tails

Method 1: The Paper and Straw Kite

Step 3: Make the string bridle

You've just formed the bridle for your kite. The bridle can be adjusted by sliding the knot up and down where it's attached to the main control line. Experiment a little--with these adjustments you can make the kite fly better in different winds.

Method 2: The Classic Scott Sled Kite

Step 1: Cut the kite fabric to size

The Scott Sled is another simple kite, but more durable and convenient to transport. This kite flies well in very light breezes, so long as the line is kept taut. Refer back to the What you'll need section and collect the necessary materials. Find a spacious, clean, well-lighted workplace that you can safely make cuts on (not on wood floors or rugs).

Follow the dimensions given here and detailed in the diagram below.

Step 2: Attach the frame

This frame will make the kite fabric stiff in one direction, but flexible in the other.

Attach the dowels to the rest of the kite fabric with more small sections of packing tape. Refer to the diagram to insure correct placement. Here's a spot that's easy to miss: go to the bottom of the triangular vent--that's the corner of the triangle with a 90 degree or right angle. Tape the dowel to the fabric here as well.

Step 3: Attach the bridle

The bridle attaches to the outermost edges of the kite fabric (where the corner cuts were made). Before attaching the bridle itself, you'll reinforce the points where the bridle is attached to the kite fabric.

To fly the kite, attach your kite line to the swivel in the middle of the bridle, and go find some wind! Intro :
Before you begin
Method 1: The Paper and Straw Kite
Step 1 :
Make the frame
Step 2 :
Attach the paper and tails
Step 3 :
Make the string bridle
 

Method 2: The Classic Scott Sled Kite
Step 1 :
Cut the kite fabric to size
Step 2 :
Attach the frame
Step 3:
Attach the bridle

Time

Plan on spending 10 minutes to an hour to assemble, depending on the kite and your skills.

What you'll need

For the first kite:

Three plastic straws

Transparent tape (the kind often called "Scotch tape," although that 's a brand name)

Tissue paper

Crepe paper streamers, or a plastic garbage bag

String

Scissors

Optional:

white glue

For the second kite:

A 2 to 4 millimeter-thick disposable plastic tarp, preferably in a cheerful color (available at a hardware store)

Three 1/8" thick wooden dowels, each 3' long

A roll of 2" clear plastic packaging tape

Some cloth tape

A 6' piece of 6 or 8 pound test monofilament fishing line

A fishing swivel

A small grommet tool, and two grommets

A yardstick ruler

A single-edge razor blade

A permanent marker


 

Keywords

Bridle: this is the loop of string that connects the the frame to the main control line.

Overhand knot: You're probably familiar with this knot. It's the first half of the knot for your shoelaces, before you make the loops. A double overhand knot is that first step repeated on top of itself. The result is a fairly secure, difficult-to-untie knot.

Tips

When making cuts into the kite fabric, remember the advice of the good carpenter: measure twice, cut once.

Tips

Protect the work surface when making cuts. Put some collapsed cardboard boxes or layers of newspaper under the kite fabric.