And here's yet another "make it in mere minutes"
by G.R. Osborne
In hardly any time, and with a little help from your
feathered friends, you can make a lightweight kite ... one
that may not fly high, but will fly
very well. This tiny toy is attractive, but
it's also quite simple to assemble ... since the body is
plastic foam, and each wing is a feather.
Start by cutting a polystyrene foam ball in
half, and then carving one section into the shape
of a bird's body (you can follow the design in the drawing
or make your own, as long as it's symmetrical).
Next, stroll on out to the chicken coop (or duck pond)
and gather some feathers. You'll need three or more tail
plumes-all straight, none too long-and two fairly large
wing feathers ... get one from a left and one from a right
wing, though (they'll curve in opposite directions), or
your kite will be a whirly bird!
Now, insert the wing feathers into the body at the
angle shown in the drawing. The outer sides of the feathers
should face forward, and they also need to tilt slightly
upward so they'll catch the wind and lift the
bird. Do not glue anything together yet, however. Instead,
stick the tail feathers in place and give your kite a first
test flight by dropping it from arm's length. If it spins,
the wings need to be adjusted or maybe even replaced. If it
takes a nose dive, add more tail feathers. When it floats
smoothly ... you've got it and can glue the feathers in
position and decorate your bird.
The best string for your kite will be thread(on a
fairly full spool) inserted, with a
needle, completely through the body and
knotted on the other side. Finding the correct point of
entry is mostly a matter of trial and error. So needle up
and take your first stab at dead center. If—after a
little wing twisting—you find that the critter just
doesn't fly right, you'll have to run the string
through again at another point. (You may even need to
connect a center thread from the wing tips ... if so, make
it four times the length of the wings and tie it, at its
midpoint, to the main thread.)
Then put your spool on a stick (a thin pencil or
chopstick does fine), head out into the spring breeze, and
let your feather-light kite stretch its wings!