How to make your own kite

Kites are always fun, especially if we make our own. They can be made in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but one of the best high-flyers is the simple diamond-shaped model seen in the sketch. Here's how to make it.

You will need two very thin bamboo canes (such as used in the garden for staking flowwers). One should be about 3 feet long and the other (to form the crossbar) about 2 feet long.

The first job is to tie the crossbar cane very tightly to the upright cane, about 9 inches from the top, as seen in Sketch 1. You now have a framework in the shape of a cross.

Next take some thin string, tie one end to the top of the upright cane, then to the righthand end of the crossbar (make sure it is taut before you tie), then to the bottom of the upright cane, and up to the left-hand end of the cross-bar; finish up by tying it at the top of the upright where you started. The bamboo framework now has a string outline, as seen in Sketch 2.

Thin cotton fabric is ideal for covering the framework. A piece of old curtain woul be suitable, or a piece cut from an old cotton dress. Thin plastic material (such as used for tablecloths) is another suggestion. You can even use good strong wraping paper if you cannot find cotton or plastic material.

Lay the material flat on the table, then place the kite framework on top of it. Now cut the material to shape, but allow it to be about 2 inches bigger all round. This 21-inch margin must be turned in over the string outline. If you are using cotton material, the overlap should be sewn.If you are using paper of plastic, the overlap could be stuck down with paste or glue.

An important point to remember: Don't stretch the covering material too tightly over the framework. Allow a little play so that the material will billow out and catch the breeze in the same way as the sail of a boat. Sketch 3 shows the overlap material before being turned in over the string outline.

The last job is to fix the guideline and tail. Sketch No. 4 shows you where to put them.

You may have to experiment a little with the tail, as it plays a very important part in a kite's performance. If you find that our kite tends to "nose-dive" instead of climbing, add one or two more paper flights to the tail. The flights are made by folding 6-inch squares of paper into concertina-like strips, as seen in Sketch 5.

Here's wishing all do-it-yourself kite makers "soaring success"!

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