Although traditionally associated with Easter, kite flying in some neighborhoods in Barbados has become a year round activity. Now with the Summer Holiday upon us, children will be seeking to get their own kite to fly. This article will present a very simple way you can create a relatively simple kite, for you, your children and the entire family can enjoy flying together.
The Basic Parts of the Kite
- The spine – the vertical stick that runs along the length of the kite.
- The spar – the support stick placed horizontally over the spine. For circular kites, there are a variety of spars placed at slants across the vertical spines and in diamond kites, the spars can be slanted as well.
- The frame – the spine and spars are bound by string or tape in the center, and also connected by a string that extends all the way around the kite (see in the Directions section). In Barbados, kite frames can also be purchased separately and decorated according to your preferences.
- The cover – paper, plastic or cloth is used to over the frame of the kite.
- The bridle – attached to the spine or the spars and helps to control the kite as it flies.
- The flying line – the string running from the kite’s bridle; it’s length determines the height and distance of the kite in the air.
- The tail – a long strip of paper or plastic ribbon that helps keep the kite balanced in the air. However, not all kites require tails.
- The reel – the object used to wind the flying like to keep it from getting tangled. It should be noted that here in Barbados, the flying line and reel are attached together, coming as one ensemble.
The materials you will need to make your kite are:
- Thin garden twine or butcher cord, or cord on a reel purchased from a store
- Scotch tape and or glue; preferably strong tape such as packing tape or electrical tape
- 1 sheet of strong paper, a strong plastic bag, or cloth
- 2 strong, straight wooden sticks (preferably bamboo)
- Markers (optional; to decorate the kite)
- Tape measure
Make a cross with the two sticks (as displayed in the image). Note that the longer of the two sticks forms the spine, while the shorter one is placed horizontally to form the spar. Both sides of the spar need to be equal in length.
Step 2 – Create the Frame
Tie the two sticks together with the string or strong tape, so that they are at right angles to each other. Cut a notch at each end of both sticks, for the string to fit into. Cut a piece of string long enough to stretch all around the kite frame, and as you reach each notch, secure the string inside. Leave enough string at both ends to make loops at the top and the bottom of the frame. Fasten the loop at the top by wrapping the string around the stick. Stretch the string through the notch at one end of the cross-piece, and make another loop at the bottom using the same technique. Wrap the string a few times around the top of the stick and cut off what is not needed. This string frame must be tight enough so that the frame is secure, but not too tight so as to cause damage to the sticks.
Lay the material you will be using for the kite, whether plastic, cloth or paper, flat on a surface and place the kite frame face down on the top. Leaving about 2-3cm for a margin. Fold this excess centimeter of material over the string frame and tape or glue it down ensure that the material is tight and secure. Secure the ends of each of the 4 sides where the string is secured in the notches with tape, to ensure extra reinforcement at the ends.
Step 4 – Make the Bridle
Punch two small holes along the spine for the bridle. Take a piece of string and place it through the loop at the top of the kite and tie it to the spine. Take the other end of the string and do the same with the loop ad the bottom. The bridle should be long enough so that when you pick up the kite, it stands at least 8 inches from the kite’s surface. All kites do not have a bridle, but having one helps to control the kite.
Attach the string that you will be using to control the kite (the flying line). Choose the angle that is best for you, but usually the starting point should be near the top of the kite.
Make a tail by tying a small ribbon (made from cloth) or small pieces of cloth, roughly every 10 cm along the length of a long piece of string. Attach the tail to the loop at the bottom of the kite.
Fly your kite!
This method presented in this article is a relatively simple way to make your own kite. While your children may look forward to the actual flying of the kite more than anything else, making the kite itself can be fun family activity.
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