Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Make two crapty kites: Newspaper Kite and Plastic Bag kite

With temperatures soaring higher and higher, I'm looking forward to spending more days outside with Chuck.  In anticipation of the nicer weather, we tried flying two homemade kites last weekend.  (I never actually flew a kite before, so I was way too extremely excited to try the activity out.)  To cover all my crapty bases, I crapted one kite out of newspaper and another kite out of a plastic bag.

Two notes before we start:
-  I'm not an expert in kites or kite flying.  But, I thought I'd post up our experiences in case someone out there wanted to try making kites with their kids.  Both were easy to make.  And guess what?  *Gasp*  Even though it wasn't very windy outside,  the newspaper kite actually flew!

- When flying these kites, be sure to bring out extra supplies like string, packing tape, scissors, plastic bag,  and newspaper.  We found that we had to do some quick taping and tweaking to fix broken skewers and lengthen tails.

Kite 1:  Newspaper Kite
This kite was made out of a grocery store flyer, skewers, yarn, packing tape, and a Popsicle stick.  It's hexagon shaped and super light.  (I modeled my design after this newspaper kite found on Instructables.)

- Newspaper flyer  (or wrapping paper)
- Yarn (about 25 feet)
- Popsicle stick (or piece of cardboard, or pencil, or random stick you find on the ground)
- 2 skewers
- Scissors
- Packing tape
- Hole Puncher
- Ruler

1.  Trim the sharp points off your skewers.  Make your skewer the same width as your grocery store flyer.

2.  Fold the flyer in half and cut off the corners from your flyer.  Make your cuts in such a way that the skewer (lined up parallel to your fold) forms a triangle with your two cuts.  (Here's another way to think about it:  You want the height of your resulting hexagon to be the same length as the skewers.)  When you open the flyer, you should have a hexagon with two symmetrical sides.

3.  Tape down your skewers with packing tape.

4.  Cut out two thin rectangle tails out of newspaper.  Tape them to your kite.  (Kite tails are pretty important.  They stabilize the kite.  I made our tails pretty short, but you could try cutting out different lengths and testing how the tail length affects flight.)

4.  Place tape on both sides of your hexagon.  (This will ensure that the newspaper is strong enough to take the hole punch.)  Hole punch both sides.  Then, string a piece of yarn across your hexagon.

5.  Wind about 22 feet of yarn onto your Popsicle stick.  Tape down the beginning of your string to the stick so that the yarn doesn't fall off your stick.  Tie the other end of your yarn to the middle of your horizontal string.

Enjoy your newspaper kite.  As you can see on the photo, this kite actually flew even though we only had a bit of wind.

Kite 2:  Plastic Bag Kite
This kite was made out of a plastic bag, four skewers, packing tape, yarn, and a Popsicle stick.  It has the lovely traditional diamond kite shape, but sadly... it didn't really fly.  (I blame the lack of wind.)  There are a lot of great instructions online, but in the end modeled my design after this plastic bag diamond shaped kite from My Best Kites.

- Plastic bag
- Yarn (around 30 feet)
- Ruler
- 4 skewers
- Scissors
- Pen
- Packing tape
- Popsicle stick (or cardboard strip, or pencil, or random stick you find on the ground)

1.  Cut open your bag and decide how big you want your kite.

2.  Cut off the points from your skewers.  Use packing tape to tape your skewers together.  (It's better if you use longer sticks, but I just used what I had.  The points where the sticks were taped together were a bit flimsy, so take that into account if you have super strong winds in your neck of the woods.)

3.  Lay your sticks on your plastic bag and mark where the corners of your diamond kite shape should be.

4.  Use ruler and pen to connect the points, creating a diamond kite shape.  Cut that shape out.

5. Use packing tape to tape the skewers to the corners of your kite.  Then, pierce two holes through the center of the kite so that you can use a piece of yarn to tie the skewers together and to the kite.

6. Wind the rest of your string around your Popsicle stick (making sure to tape the beginning to the stick).  Then, tie your string to the lower end of the vertical stick and to the piece of yarn that you previously used to tie the skewers together. 
7. Tie together strips of plastic bag to create a tail.  (We initially made our tail 16 inches long, but after trying the kite out, we added several more strips to better stabilize the kite and keep it right side up.)  Attach your tail to the kite with packing tape.

Voila.  Now you have a plastic bag kite.  And since you made it to the end of this very long post,  I thought I'd treat you to a short video showing me huffing and puffing as I try to fly the kite.

P4063100 from Pink Stripey Socks on Vimeo.