Kite Flying Adventures: How to Start Your Own   

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Kite flying can be great fun for everyone. For first-time kite flyers, it can be a fun educational adventure, and for adults, it’s a great hobby that helps relieve stress. After all, what could be better than watching your kite soar in clear skies? Here are some tips to help you sharpen up your skills and build your own.

Later, I’ll explain the importance of checking your flying space and weather conditions. Read on to find out how you can make the perfect kite and to see where you can go to take part in some fabulous, colourful festivals as you embark on your very own kite flying adventures.

Photo by Charlotte Harrison on Unsplash

Making the perfect diamond kite

It’s no secret that one of the main factors that will affect how well your kite will fly is its quality. If you enjoy doing some arts and crafts, you can make your own kite at home.  You’ll need to make sure your kite is sturdy and made of durable material that’s flexible but not easily damaged.

To make a simple kite you’ll need:

  • 1 large sheet of paper of any colour you like (60cm long and 45cm wide).
  • Two thin Bamboo plant supports or spars (60cm). You can get these from a garden centre.
  • Crepe paper.
  • A cocktail stick.
  • String.
  • A ribbon to decorate if you like.
  • Polyester kite line. You can also use butcher’s twine in a pinch, but a polyester kite line is less likely to break if your kite gets tangled with someone else’s.
  • Paints if you want to colour the kite afterwards. This can be fun to do if you’ve got kids who’d enjoy putting their own stamp on their handcrafted kite.   

Step 1

Take your large piece of paper. This is what you’ll make the sail from. Fold the paper in half lengthways. Measure 15cm down from the top on both sides and make a mark at those points. Then use a ruler to draw a line between those points and the top centre. Next, draw a couple more lines from the marks at the side to the bottom centre. When you’ve drawn both sets of lines, they should form a diamond.

Step 2

Cut out the diamond shape and you have your kite sail.

Step 3

Cut one of the bamboo supports to 45cm using some pruning shears. Then lay the shortened bamboo support across the longer one, so that it forms a cross shape to support your kite. Then tie the two supports together with string. Make sure the ends line up with the corners of your newly made sail before you tie them securely together.

Step 4

Use the cocktail stick to make two holes on either side of the bamboo support at each of the corners, so that you can thread string through them and tie it to the bamboo supports. You can leave loose ends if you want to add ribbons later. Glue the paper to the bamboo frame you’ve created and leave it to dry.

Step 5

Attach some string to the bamboo frame at the left and right corners. There should be approximately 60cm of string loose between the corners. Then you can attach your polyester line to that string. Make sure your line is well fixed to the string.

Step 6

Cut out two strips of crepe paper of 2m x 2cm. Then attach them to the bottom of your kite. Lastly, add a ribbon to the side for decoration. You might want to attach a couple of 1m long ribbons to your kite for a good, striking effect when you fly it.

Now all you need to do is wait for a nice breeze on a dry day to go and launch your kite with a friend. Make sure the wind isn’t too strong because your kite is liable to break. Remember to stand upwind and ask your friend to stand downwind of it. Together, you can enjoy watching your kite take off on its maiden voyage.

Where to buy a kite

You can buy readymade kites from toyshops and can get high-quality, inexpensive kites from Amazon. There are many to choose from, including diamond and delta-shaped ones and more niche funky kites shaped like animals and aeroplanes. If you’re a kite-flying novice, parafoils and box kites are a good place to start. You can find dual-line kites, but if you’re new to this, it’s a good idea to begin by flying a single line kite.

Now you’ve made or brought the ideal kite, let’s look at where to go flying it.

Best flying spaces

Find areas where there aren’t a lot of large obstacles that might cause turbulence and make it harder for you to control your kite. This means avoiding places with trees, tall buildings, and power lines. By steering clear of these obstacles, you make it less likely that your kite will become stuck somewhere and you’ll have to spend time and effort retrieving it. Be smart about your safety and stay away from cliffs and roads. Open fields, parks and beaches are among the best places to go.

Gauging weather conditions

You need wind to fly a kite, but if it’s too fierce, your kite will be tossed about and you won’t have any control of it. You’re looking for a light breeze that’s not strong enough to blow you over. Use trees as a guide. If the leaves are not stirring in the wind, there is not enough wind to fly your kite. If the wind is strong enough to make the tree sway, it’s too windy to fly your kite and keep it under control. Never try to fly your kite in rain, thunder, or lightening.

Most kites will fly well in wind speeds of between 4-10 miles an hour, while some are built to withstand stronger winds.

Launching with a friend or solo

Get yourself a launch buddy. Most people, particularly beginners are going to need help getting their kite in the air. If you are launching solo, bear in mind that you’ll need a stronger wind to get your kite airborne.

Ask your launch buddy to stand about 50 feet away from you, holding the kite in place and facing you, while you stand with your back to the wind. When your friend lets go, tug on the line. If there’s a good breeze, your kite should shoot up.

When you’re ready to try a solo launch, stand with your back to the wind and hold your kite straight up. Release it slowly and don’t try to throw it up into the sky. If there is a good breeze, it should start rising on its own. Let some line out slowly to make it fly back, then tighten your hold on the kite before it hits the ground to make it fly up again. Then just let out some line so that it can fly higher and reach steady winds. Soon, we’ll talk about how adding a tail can help improve control and balance. For now, let’s discuss the art of controlling one.

Controlling your kite

This is key if you want to improve at kiting. You’ve got to be patient when flying one. A mistake some make is to rush to get their kite up in the air and let too much of the line, too fast. This can become dangerous because it flys too high, plus it’s hard to take joy in flying a kite you can’t see. Another drawback of letting out too much line is that it makes it harder to get the kite back into view and under control.

The trick is to gauge how the kite feels in flight and keep control of it that way. Bring it in a little if the line becomes too slack or let out a bit more line if the kite is pulling too hard or is becoming more difficult to manage.

If you want your kite to fly higher, pull it in a little, then gradually release it. Keep doing that until you’re flying it at the right height, usually where the wind is steady.     

Add a tail to give more control

Adding a tail to your kite can help ensure the noise points upwards, which will help keep it steady and more balanced. Put the tail along the centre of the kite and make sure it’s not so long that it weighs it down and doesn’t balance with the nose.

We’ve covered the basics of kiting, so it’s time to investigate the pros and cons of flying 4 different kites.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

Delta kites

The Delta kite is a triangular kite with a keel that is designed to outperform most others in light winds. They are easy to transport and can be folded down to fit a narrow tube

The Pros

  • Easy to launch.
  • Good in light winds, so you can fly them for longer.
  • Are stable and don’t pull on the kite line too much.
  • Are eye-catching with a wide wingspan. Larger Delta kites can also boast impressive designs on their long tails and big sails. Bigger ones also tend to create more lift.   

The Cons

  • They can be expensive, though this does depend on the materials used and the size of the kite
  • If your Delta kite is too big, it can pull strongly in high winds, which can be difficult for novice kite flyers to handle. A good tip if you’re new to it, is to keep the wingspan between 3 and 6 feet.

Diamond kites

Second in popularity to Dela kites, diamond kites were brought to the fore in 1893, by the American journalist William A. Eddy. Making diamond kits can be something fun to do with your kids, They can be made of almost any lightweight material including plastic sheets, coloured craft paper or freezer bags. However, if you were to buy a diamond kite, it would likely be made of ripstop nylon for increased durability.

Pros

  • Easy to make.
  • Are eye-catching and easy to decorate.
  • Small and well-balanced, meaning beginners and children have more control and make them easy to fly.
  • Are easy to repair if they get damaged.  

Cons

  • Diamond kites need a tail and are typically flat.
  • If the tail is not fixed onto the kite correctly, it may spin or crash.

Parafoil kites

These kites have no rigid spars. They keep their shape in flight because the wind fills up cells or chambers. They have upper and lower surfaces which are divided by vertical rips into smaller chambers. When the wind fills these chambers, the kite becomes semi-rigid and takes flight.

Pros

  • Easy to set up because they have no spars, so all you need to do is ensure that there are no knots, tangles, or twists in the lines before you launch.
  • Easy to transport.
  • Controlling them can present more of a challenge and can be a good step forward if you want to find out more about power kites or kite surfing.
  • Less likely to break if they crash into things because they have no structural supports or spars.

Cons

  • Can pull hard and be difficult to control.
  • Are hard to handmake because they are more complicated.
  • You need more wind to be able to fly them.

Novelty kites

Lots of effort is put into the look of novelty kites so that they are eye-catching and fly well. Most are comprised of delta, diamond and parafoil kite shapes, which make them easy to control and fly. Designs can range from animals to man-made objects like aeroplanes. Some even boast 3D designs of animals like dolphins, so can be great for children.

Pros

  • Super eye-catching and easy to spot.
  • Fun to fly.
  • Easy to fly.

Cons

  • Can be too big and unwieldy.
  • Can be difficult to transport, pack away or set up, depending on the number of spars you must put in to support the structure.
  • Can be hard to tell what the problem is if you have issues with your kite. For example, if it starts to spin or veer to one side.  

Before we wrap things up, let’s investigate some of the fabulous festivals you can go to and enjoy kiting alongside fellow enthusiasts.

Photo by Caleb Hernandez Belmonte on Unsplash

Fantastic kite flying festivals

Going to kite festivals used to be a pastime of the wealthy. Nowadays kite flying is a hobby anyone can enjoy. International Kite Day (January 14th) may have originated in India, but it’s far from the only place you can go to take part in a fabulous festival.  Here are 6 of the best festivals you can visit on your kiting adventures.

International Kite Festival, Gujarat India  

Kite festivals are extremely popular in India, with one of the best being the festival in Gujarat. Locals think of this one as the most popular, despite there being more than 2000 festivals held in the area each year.

It takes place on 14th January and thousands of people flock to it from around the globe. You can watch the festival from the banks of the Sabarmati River, alongside half a million other people. As well as being great fun, this festival has a spiritual element to it. The festival symbolises the gods’ waking from sleep and locals gather on their rooftops which helps contribute to the electric, bustling atmosphere.

Festival of the Winds, Bondi Beach, Sydney

Sydney is a city known for its great weather, beaches, and nature. You might not have realised that it’s also home to the largest kite festival in Australia.

The Festival of the Winds has a 40-year history and if you fancy building your own you can attend many workshops on Bondi Beach. There’s a lot to keep kids happy too, with a puppet theatre and other activities. This is added to a variety of great food on offer which reflects Sydney’s multiculturalism, plus plenty of entertainment for adults.

Blossom Kite Festival, Washington, D.C.

This festival was the 1967 creation of Paul E. Garber. It was renamed the Blossom Kite Festival in 2011. It’s held at Long Beach in late April and is an amazing spectacle. The theme of the festival changes from year to year and has included many cultural themes. The city’s Chinese population is well represented, and you’ll see lots of Chinese kites and be able to chow down on delicious Chinese food too.

Weifang International Kite Festival, China

One of the best kite festivals in the world is held in China, where kiting is an incredibly popular pastime. It’s the largest kite festival in the world and most of the kites flown there have meaning and a symbolic connection to Chinese folklore and history.

The kite museum in Weifang is also well worth a look. It’s the largest museum of its kind and thousands of people visit each year.

International Dieppe Kite Festival, France

Here’s where to go if you want to see some of the coolest kite designs in the world. Indeed, people travel from all around the globe to see the kites. Sometimes as many as half a million kite flyers participate which makes for a buzzing atmosphere every 2 years at the end of summer.

You’ll find kites that have both cultural and historical significance and can enjoy all the attractions of the seafront, including delicious cuisine from the 40 countries represented at the festival.    

International Kite Festival, Portsmouth, UK

You can see a huge variety of designs on display at this festival in Portsmouth, organised by Portsmouth City Council and the Kite Society of Great Britain. Additional attractions include taking your children to a kite-making workshop to learn from a skilled team of kite makers who are sure to give you and your kids some first-rate kite flying tips.  

The wrap-up

We’ve covered how to make the perfect kite and where to buy one, plus how to tell when there are ideal conditions to fly. You now know how to control it and make it more balanced by adding a tail.  I hope you have the confidence to build or buy the right kite for you, based on the pros and cons of the 4 popular types of kites we talked about. You’ve got everything you need to start your own kite flying adventures and you know where to go to participate in and enjoy some of the most spectacular, colourful festivals on earth. So, what are you waiting for? Go and discover the joy of your new-found hobby. Go fly a kite!

Published by Lizzie

Lizzie here. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor based in the UK. I'm also passionate about volunteering and hold a MA in History from the University of Warwick. I've written for a multitude of fantastic websites and companies, including a legal automation software company, a dog training site and more. Check out my reviews on Fiverr and Upwork for more info!

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