How to Make a Chinese Kite

Last updated by david at 2014/4/19

Table of Contents

Kite flying is one of today’s most popular pastimes. All over the world people are taking to the air with this 2,000-year-old hobby, the simplest and the most antique flying machine invented by the man.

Today, China is famous for six kite regions: Beijing, Weifang, Tianjin, Nantong, Jiangnan, and Taiwan. Each region uses a unique kite style, with more than three hundred types of kites.  Feng-zheng(“wind harp” in mandarin dialect) is the generally accepted term for Chinese kites, but they are also known by many other names, depending on the region and period. In mandarin dialect, a kite can also be a zhi-yuan (“paper kite”), and in Cantonese dialect, a fun-tsun or a pianzi.

TOPButterfly

Butterfly Kite

The Chinese often make and fly Butterfly kites because they represent beauty and a free spirit. There is an old saying: Only the greatest artists go to heaven to paint butterfly wings.

What You Need

SAIL: one 21” (535 mm)-square piece of medium-weight Silkspan

SPARS:

    One 11” (355 mm) x ¼” (6mm) x 1/16” (2mm) piece of basswood, for the spine
    Two 24” (635 mm) x ¼” (6mm) x 1/16”(2mm) piece of basswood, for the top    spars
    Two 12” (330 mm) x ¼” (6mm) x 1/16”(2mm) piece of basswood, for the bottom spars

BRIDLE: 24” (610 mm) piece of kite line

REINFORCING LINE (OPTIONAL): piece of kite line

TAIL: two 48” (1220 mm) x ½” (40 mm) paper streamers

GLUE AND PAPER PATCHES

PATTERN MATERIAL: heavy paper or cardboard

KITE LINE: #20 kite line (available at kite stores)

ANTENNAE (OPTIONAL): two wire twist ties from trash bags, or a pipe cleaner.

What You Do

Step 1 of Making a Butterfly Kite1. - After making a pattern of half of the kite, fold the sail in half and trace the pattern onto the sail, with the kite centre along the fold. Allow a ½” (12 mm) glue flap along the top edge. Cut out the sail and snip at 2” (50 mm) intervals along the gluing flap.
 

Step 2 of Making a Butterfly Kite

2. - Glue the spine to the sail. Starting with one top corner, glue the flap over the spar and let the glue set for a moment. Bend the spar and, using a paper patch, glue the other end to the sail. Finish gluing the other corner of the top flap. Repeat the same steps for the other spar.

Step 3 of Making a Butterfly Kite

 

3. Glue the bottom spars to the sail and finish them with  paper patches.
OPTIONAL: Run a reinforcing line between the spars.

 

 

Step 4 of Making a Butterfly Kite

4. Use a blunt needle to thread the bridle through the sail at the given bridle points.
Tie the ends of the bridle around the spars at the top bridle point, and the spine at the bottom bridle point.
 

 

 

Step 5 of Making a Butterfly Kite

 

5.  Measure and tie the kite line at the tow point. Glue tails to the sail.
OPTIONAL: Tape or glue the antennae to the butterfly’s head
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOPLark

The Lark Kite

In China, birds are a symbol of happiness and kept for their beauty and singing ability.

What You Need

SAIL: one 18” (455 mm) x 24” (610 mm) piece of medium-weight Silkspan

SPARS:

- One 18” (455 mm) x ¼” (6mm) x 1/16” (2mm) piece of basswood, for the spine
- Two 24” (610 mm) x ¼” (6mm) x 1/16” (2mm) piece of basswood, for the top spar
- Two 4” (100 mm) x 1/8” (3mm) x 1/16” (2mm) piece of basswood, for the tail spreaders

(NOTE: cut a length of ¼” (6 mm) basswood scrap in half with you scissors)

PATTERN MATERIAL: heavy paper or cardboard

BRIDLE: 36” (915 mm) piece of kite line

TAIL: three 36” (1 meter) x 1” (25 mm) paper streamers

GLUE AND PAPER PATCHES

KITE LINE: #10 crochets thread

What You Do

Step 1 of Making a Lark Kite

1.  Draw a gird of ½” (40 mm) squares on pattern material and draw half of the kite. Cut out the pattern. Fold the sail in half and trace the pattern onto the sail with the pattern centered on the fold.
Allow a 4” (100 mm) x ½” (12 mm) glue flap at the ends of the top edges.

1 square = 1 ½”

 

Step 2 of Making a Lark Kite

 

2. Unfold the sail and glue the spine along the fold. Fold the glue flap and glue the spar to sail, slightly bowing the spar.

 

Step 3 of Making a Lark Kite

3. Glue the tail spreaders to the sail and glue the paper patches over the spine and spreader ends.
a: 23”
b:6”
c:12”
d: 9 ½“

Step 4 of Making a Lark Kite4. Use a blunt needle to thread the bridle through the sail at the given bridle points. .

Tie the ends of the bridle around the spar at the top bridle point, and the spine at the bottom bridle point. Measure and tie the bridle to the kite line at the tow point. Glue a single tail to the sail and glue the other two tails to the bottom of the first tail.

 

TOPThe Serpent

The Serpent Kite

The serpent is a very spectacular kite, great fun to fly, and yet very easy to make. This kite can also be made to look like a ghost with a long white tail.

You will need

Spine, 50 cm long
2 spears, 35 cm long
String, for bridle and line
Glue
Wrapping paper
Crêpe paper
Paints

How to make
The Step 1 of Making a Serpent Kite

 

 

 

1.    Attach one spar to the base of the spine and the other 10 centimetres down from the top of the spine.

 

 

 

 

2. A sheet of coloured wrapping paper is used for the cover. Cut it slightly    larger than is required and then fold down around the frame and glue the edges to make them a bit stronger. This is the head of the serpent which, not being very large, does not need any additional reinforcement or support.

3. Make a tail of one continuous length of crêpe paper about eight metres long. Cut the tail so that it is 20 centimetres wide at the head end and narrow it gradually all the way down its length until it tapers off to a point at the far end.

The Step 3 of Making a Serpent Kite

4. Attach a two-legged bridle at the points market X.

5.  Decorate the head with the face of a serpent. This can be ferocious or funny – it    is up to you.

6.  Decorate the tail with stripes or a zigzag pattern to give the whole kite a snake-like appearance.

 

TOPChinese Hawk

The Havk Kite

The Chinese hawk performs elegantly but you will need some practice to handle it well. It flies best in a light breeze.

You will need

1 stick, 120 cm long

2 spines, 60 cm long

Spar, 33 cm long

Glue

String

Paper or cloth

2 paper streamers

How to make

1. Form a triangular frame with the two spines and spar as shown. Bind and glue them together.

The Step 1 of Making a Havk Kite

2.Bend the long stick into a bow and tie it into this shape with a piece of string.

The Step 2 of Making a Havk Kite

3.Attach the bow to the triangle as shown.

The Step 3 of Making a Havk Kite

 

The Step 4 of Making a Havk Kite4.If the kite is to be covered in paper, cut notches at the bottom end of the two spines and long stick to support the string. Run the framing string from the wing tips to the end of the tail. Cover with a paper sail in the usual way. However, if the kite is to be covered with cloth, it is possible to do away with the framing string and allow the edges of the wings to flap in the breeze in a most realistic manner.

 

The Step 5 of Making a Havk Kite

5.Decorate as shown. The only tail required for this kite consists of a couple of coloured paper streamers attached to the two lower corners of the triangle. If you wish you could also fix short streamers to the two bottom corners of the wings.

 

6.Use a three- legged bridle attached to the three corners of the triangle. You could also try a five-legged bridle with the two extra legs being attached to the wing tips.

TOPRice Kite

This kite is traditionally used by Chinese farmers in a ceremony in which they scatter rice over their paddy fields to ensure a good harvest.

You will need
2 sticks, 1 m long
2 sticks, 75 cm long
2 sticks, 50 cm long
Spine, 120 cm long
Glue
Paper
String (for bridle and lead)

How to make

1.First make three oval shapes as shown.

The Step 1 of Making a Rice Kite

2.Bind the largest oval to the spine after making sure that the spine is on the centre point of the oval (if it’s not the kite will not be balanced correctly). The top of the oval should be about 5 cm down from top of the spine.

3.The other two ovals are then attached in a similar manner but the second one should overlap the first by about seven and a half centimetres and the third should overlap the second by five centimetres. At each stage make sure the kite is well balanced gluing everything into place.

4.Cover with paper leaving open the areas where the ovals overlap.

5.Attach a two-legged bridle to the point marked X.

6.The kite normally has a paper bow tail to the end of which is attached a sheaf of rice. If you live near a farm you could ask the farmer for a few stalks of wheat. These can be tied to the tail and to the tips of the ovals to make your kite look like the Chinese original.

Alternatively, paper streamers can be used to represent the sheaves.

The Rice Kite

 

Related Topics:

There are 2 comments on this topic

posted by "127.0.0.*" at 6/18/2014 9:09:00 PM

i have a project that I need to make an ancient chinese invention. Are these kites similar to the ones made in Ancient China?

reply

posted by "124.158.192.*" at 3/28/2012 7:03:00 AM

Hi wendy, A part of the 2 kites presented - where can we find more design? Is there a kites competition in China, Hong Kong or Macau? Best regards Jerome

reply

lotusblue replied at 3/28/2012 10:07:00 PM

Hello! There is a Kite Competition every year during the Weifang International Kite Festival in the period April 20-24. Currently we just have this 2 designs, but we will improve this in the near future with more designs.

lotusblue replied at 3/31/2012 3:19:00 AM

Three more designs are added now. Hope you will like it:) Thanks for the suggestion!

206.176.102.* replied at 12/3/2013 9:42:00 AM

is this festival public? if so where is it? :I

Post your comment on this topic

You can post as a guest, yet we suggest sign up first!!

Submit

 

Most Recommended Topics

Chinese Food

Chinese Food

The preparation of food was traditionally manag…>> details

Chinese Kung Fu

Chinese Kung Fu

Kung Fu (an Anglicization of >gongfu> [功夫]), me…>> details

Chinese Taiji Quan

Chinese Taiji Quan

Overview Millions of people practice Taiji …>> details

Shaolin Kung Fu

Shaolin Kung Fu

China is a country of much greatness. It is a l…>> details

China National Day

China National Day

October 1st is Chinese National Day. National D…>> details

Recommended Tours

Yabuli Skiing Tour

4-Days Yabuli Skiing Tour

Visit Harbin, Yabuli

from USD $ 539

Xi'an Quick and Easy Tour

2-Days Xi'an Quick and Easy Tour

Visit Xian

from USD $ 209

Shanghai Highlights from Beijing

2-Days Shanghai Highlights from Beijing

Visit Beijing, Shanghai

from USD $ 279

Interesting to Know

Why Group Travel? China Tours for Mother's Day Tailor-making China Tours

Travel Confidently with Us

Customers

10,000 Satisfied Customers

Customers

50 Years in China Travel Industry

Customers

Quick Response within 24 hours

Customers

Secured Online Payment

Customers

Group Tours with Solo Adventure

Customers

No Hidden Fees and No Traps