Building Miniature Kites
These small kites can provide an introduction to kite flying and kite building. You can find instructions below for how to build different miniature kites. Here is a template for a mini (6-inch) Rokkaku kite!
Tips for building miniature kites:
- Keep it light! Try to use the lightest materials available and to use only what’s necessary to build the kite.
- Symmetry is our friend! We want our kites to by symmetrical about the vertical axis in area as well as weight. This is helped by cutting your kite sail while folded in half.
- The kite’s bridle (where the flying string attached to the kite) can be moved to make flying easier. The goal is to tie the bridle point in such a way that, when hanging upside down, the kite hangs at an angle so that the nose is higher than the tail. NASA has a very detailed explanation of bridle points, kites, and the geometry involved here.
- Kite tails aren’t just for looks! They can make kites more stable as well as more beautiful.
- If using a flying rod to fly your small kite indoors, the flying line should be shorter than the flying rod to maintain good control.
Here are some additional resources and designs for miniature kites:
- Building miniature kites at a family science night
- Designs from the Miniature Kite Guild
- Designs from Kiting USA
- Indoor Kites from My Best Kite
- Kite plans from the Kite Plan Base
Miniature Kite Design Challenge
What easily-available materials can you create your kite from? Here’s an activity to try it out yourself!
COMING SOON: Mini Kite Engineering Challenge
Flying Miniature Kites
- These are low speed kites, they will float behind you while you move at a walking pace.
- Fly the kite indoors by walking. Keep the kite away from your body as it creates wind turbulence.
- As you walk with the kite, and try varying your speed to see how the kite reacts
- Flying rods can help make flight easier by keeping the kite out of the wind turbulence created by your arms. Attach the end of your flying string to a flying rod and fly by moving the rod in a figure 8.
- Avoid flicking your wrist to whip the kite around. Moving these delicate kites that quickly may damage your kite.