The deeper we get into summer, the more I want to crawl into an ice-cold cave and never be let out. Okay, kidding (kind of). It’s unbearably hot and humid but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to do those traditional summer things that make summer, well…summer; trips to the beach, road trips with friends, barbecues by the pool, all those classic things. My ideal summer would be a mix of all of those with a bit of ’60s pop-dancing, ’50s home-cooking and ’40s kite-flying. Since all three at once are practically impossible, I’ll just stick to the one I can actually make a tutorial for: kite-making. Traditional ’40s kites were often made of paper in either patriotic designs (Bald Eagles and flags) or super-galactic ones (rocket ships and galaxies). You could stop by a local shop and get one for free in many small businesses or pay 10 cents for a kite and 10 cents for some string. They came in an array of structures from the simple diamond to the more complex, 3-D box and star kites. If you’re looking for an interesting afternoon, grab a friend, some jazzy tunes and follow these simple kite instructions.
For a simple diamond-shaped kite, you’ll need two sticks of Balsa wood ($0.99 per stick at Joann’s), a roll of string ($3.99), ribbon, scissors, X-acto knife and glue. I’ve decided to make my kite out of light fabric for it’s durability and vibrant design. ¾ of a yard should make a reasonably sized kite.
This part is optional. Cross your sticks in a “t” and decide how wide you’d like your kite to be. I cut off a few inches from one of mine for a more narrow diamond-shape.
Once you’ve determined the size of your kite, carefully make slits on each end of your sticks. You’ll be needing these later.
Glue your sticks in a “t” formation and press firmly. The glue I’m using is E-6000, an industrial strength glue found at most craft stores. Let it dry before moving on to the next step.
Make a knot with your string at the intersection of the two sticks and begin to criss-cross diagonally.
After looping your string in the center several times, loop up and insert into the top slit you made and follow around your diamond shape. End at the top and secure by adding a dot of glue and wrapping it on the end. Make another knot at the top and follow straight through to the bottom end. Make another knot there. That is your kite’s “sail”. Let the string dangle and cut at your desired tail length.
Does your kite look like this? Good. Your strings should be very secure and tight. Notice the string on the top left of my kite is much tighter than the string on my top right. Aim for the top left look. Now you’re ready to move on.
8. MEASURE AGAIN
Lay the inside of the fabric up (facing you) and lay your kite down. Make sure your kite is completely surrounded by a good amount of fabric all around.
Cut all around your kite leaving about an inch of fabric margin. Be careful not to cut your string!
This is what you should have. (Starting to look like a kite — yeah!)
11. GLUE AGAIN
Working one side at a time, glue the outside edges of your fabric and fold into form a nice, flat seam. Your string will be even more secure now.
Once you’ve worked your way around, press firmly to ensure you have a even edges. If you’d like to take this a step further, you can hand sew along the edge for a tighter bond.
This is what your kite should look like. Almost finished!
Cut several strips of ribbon for your kite’s tail.
Make several bows like I’ve done or let the ribbon dangle for a streamer effect.
Take the end of your string and loop it under the “sail”. Make a few knots towards the center of your kite for balance.
Go out admire your kite in the sky!