Catch The Wind: Make a Homemade Kite

It's not hard to make a homemade kite from brown paper grocery bags and newspaper. Just follow these plans.

| March/April 1980

  • 062 catch the wind - template
    Redraw this template on 1" squares.
  • 062 catch the wind - three panels2
    TOP: Diagram shows how to make octopus tail. CENTER: Diagram shows how to make cobra tail. BOTTOM: Adjust the towing point depending on wind conditions.
  • 062 catch the wind - six steps
    FIG 1 through FIG 5 are steps for cutting out and assembling a kite. FIG 6 shows how to obtain material for the kite tail.

  • 062 catch the wind - template
  • 062 catch the wind - three panels2
  • 062 catch the wind - six steps

In 1979 Margaret Greger presented her plans for "MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Recycled Kite." Well, those ol' March winds are blowin' again, and Meg has provided us with another sure-to-fly designs for a homemade kite . . . which were suggested to her by Gary Hinze of San Jose, California. The cobra kite and Its variant, the octopus, are high-soaring wind catchers that are well worth the half an hour or so it'll take you to construct one of 'em. In fact, you can see expensive, commercial "sky snakes" — made of every Imaginable material — most anywhere . . . but rest assured that the do-it-yourself versions will match the store-bought kites maneuver for maneuver!

Step-By-Step Leads Skyward

Here's what you need to make one of the recycled air soarers: a large paper grocery bag (which will make two kite faces), two 1/8" dowels (16" and 12" long), a 22" piece of cotton string for the bridle, tape, glue, newspaper for your kite's tall, scissors, a ruler, a pencil, and a cardboard template.

STEP 1: Enlarge the provided scale diagram, position the drawn-to-size template on the front of the bag, trace around it, and mark the bridle points and the ends of the spars. Then remove the template and extend the end point marks across the head.

STEP 2: Cut out the head.

STEP 3: Tape the 16" dowel spine on the back of the kite and then—using the same adhesive material—fasten the 12" cross spar in place.

STEP 4: Turn the kite over and punch holes for the bridle. Next, tie one end of the 22" bridle string at the top (through the holes and around the spine) and the other end at the bottom.

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