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How to Make a Handmade Kite for Your Kids

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Our eyes are always upwards lately. In the winter we watched it snow, in the spring we watched it rain, and in the summer, we lazed about and watched the clouds float by. Autumn is a perfect time to look to the sky and watch the effects of the wind. We watch the gusts blowing the trees about, we watch the wind blowing the leaves free from the trees, and we feel the wind whipping through our hair. It’s a good time to talk and read about the wind, and to turn to play things that involve the wind, like wind chimes, wind socks, and of course — kites!

Until recently, my initial impulse when the children and I wanted a new toy to play with was to go and purchase one. With my mind more focused lately on creating at home, making do with what we have on hand, and using our own brains and hands to come up with playful objects, I am seeing the everyday objects we find in our home in a new light. We are finding ways to be playful without being wasteful, without spending money we don’t need to spend, and without creating an unnecessary shopping expedition when we’d rather be playing. And it’s wonderful!

My other impulse in crafting (which I am learning to fight against as well) is the urge to create a finished object that looks like something you could go out and buy. Something sewn up, with no raw or ragged edges, with a nice and tidy appearance. And not something that we obviously pulled from our trash bin and re-purposed whatever we found in our basement and the tool chest.

But then – how authentic would that be? These days, with a three- and a five-year-old by my side, the things we produce at home are – well, not always beautiful. But they’re ours, and we made them, and we’re proud of them too! So today, I’m letting go of my need to present something beautiful to you, and instead – I’m presenting “Our Kite”.

Materials

  • A plastic tablecloth (Ours was our summer picnic tablecloth – which was well-used and torn, and headed for the trash bin)
  • Duct tape
  • Crochet thread (such as Aunt Lydia’s size 10)
  • Two dowels (or straight sticks) about ½” in diameter
  • Kitchen twine
  • Scissors
  • Pen or pencil
  • Scroll saw

Assemble the Kite

Using the saw, cut dowels to the intended length, one longer than the other; I cut ours to 30” and 23” inches. With a pen, mark the center of each dowel.

Then, cut a small notch in both ends of each dowel.

Using kitchen twine (or yarn), tie the dowels tightly together into a cross shape at the center lines.

When the dowels are securely tied, run a length of thread around the outside of the kite and through the notches you created.

Next, place the kite form on top of the table cloth (or butcher paper, or kite paper) and trace around the kite with 2” extra space allowed on all edges.

Cut out the kite material with scissors.

Now duct tape the cut-out material securely around the kite form. (This is where my perfectionism is nagging me. I’m sure the kite could be stitched to the form with a needle and sturdy thread, but that would have taken too much time. So instead – we taped!)

Fasten a kite tail if you like from extra tablecloth. Tie one end of the ball of crochet thread to the center dowel of the form, insert a pencil or a ruler through the center of the thread ball (this will become the handle), and go fly that kite!

“Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you

But when the leaves hang trembling down

the Wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I,

But when the trees bow down their heads

The Wind is passing by.”

– J. Aulie

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