Do you fly a kite education resource

Go on wind winding wandering journey

Use this step by step guide to help you create, decorate and fly your own kite which you can take on a winding journey through the air and maybe discover a new way of seeing your local landscape.

Make Your Way worked with schools in Carluke, Glassford, Lanark, Larkhall and Stonehouse over six months to find creative, engaging ways of walking and exploring the Clyde and Avon Valley. In Lanark and Stonehouse pupils got back to the basics of outdoor play, making and flying their own kites. They decorated their kites thinking about how weather - sometimes blustery, sometimes sunny, or sometimes torrential rain! - is crucial in the experience of outdoor play (and sometimes a bit of rain and bluster is just as much fun).

Try your hand at crafting a kite by following this guide. Print and download your own copy by clicking under 'Other Resouces'. 

Skills involved:        

  • Measurement                 
  • Teamwork                 
  • Sewing                 
  • Construction

First of all... THE HIGH FLYING HISTORY OF KITES*

People have been experiencing the joy of flight - through kites - for a very long time indeed. The precise origin of the kite is not known, however it is thought that kites were being flown in China more than two thousand years ago.

One legend speaks of a farmer who attached a string to his hat to stop it from blowing away in a strong wind, and this was the first ever kite! In Polynesian culture there are myths of brother gods who had a kite battle, each trying to fly their kite the highest . There are still competitions in the islands where the winning, highest flying kite is dedicated to the gods.

Kites have been used as intelligence gathering tools in war, and in scientific research. Benjamin Franklin used kites to better understand wind and weather. Sir George Cayley, Samuel Langley, Lawrence Hargrave, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers - all used kites in experiments that helped develop the first airplanes.

What will you use your kite for? This sensitive tool can sense the shifts of air currents and help you experience the weather and atmosphere around you in a unique way - and it’s also just great fun!

*Information from http://www.nationalkitemonth.org/kite-history-overview/kite-history/

THE KITE IS YOUR CANVAS

Kites offer a bunch of opportunites to be creative. What colour will you choose? What bits and bobs can you add to the kite, or what will you draw on it to make it your own? Kites can come in all shapes, sizes and mediums, from Diamond (the style outlined in this guide), Dragon and Delta, to Box and Parafoil kites for stronger winds.  

Historically, alongside their many uses, Kites took on many designs including dragons, people, fish and fireballs.* For Make Your Way, pupils decorated their kites with images based around weather and atmosphere. Before even putting pen to fabric the pupils played a game of ‘7 States of Weather’, physically acting out the different scenarios to give them ideas for symbols, marks and shapes to adorn the kites.

The seven states were:

1. Desert

2. Californian Summer

3. Scottish Summer

4. Neutral/Overcast

5. Rain

6. Blustery

7. Freezing

What Will You Need?

What Will You Need?

What Will You Need?

  • Lightweight Polyester or Ripstop Nylon
  • Paper, Pen, Ruler, Knife or Scissors
  • Thin, lightweight Dowel, 0.5 mm diameter
  • Heavy duty tape
  • Needle
  • Kite line, or strong lightweight cord
  • Handle (as simple as a cylinder of wood)

Step 1. Create the shape of your Kite

Step 1. Create the shape of your Kite

Step 1. Create the shape of your Kite

Get sturdy tracing paper and cut out the template for the kite, measuring 83.5cm at its highest and widest points, with the cross point at 60cm height. Then measure out 1m x 1m of the Nylon or Polyester, cut out your length of material, and lay it out as flat as possible.

Lay the diamond template on the material, sticking it down flat with masking tape. Then grab a marker pen and draw around the template creating a diamond kite shape on the material.

Carefully remove the template, and slowly cut out the diamond shape from the material.

Step 2. Make the frame of the Kite

Step 2. Make the frame of the Kite

Step 2. Make the frame of the Kite

Cut two equal lengths of dowel rod at about 83cm. Lay your diamond of fabric flat on the floor and place the dowel in a cross at the tallest and widest lengths of the diamond.

Using the heavy duty tape, tape the ends of the dowel to the points of the diamond shape, making sure to solidly cover the ends with at least three layers of tape.

You need to make the kite really sturdy in case of strong winds. With needle and thread, sew the centre of the cross together and sew the dowel more securely to the fabric at its ends - this will insure the fabric doesn’t tear away from the frame mid-flight.

Step 3. Attach the Kite line

Step 3. Attach the Kite line

Step 3. Attach the Kite line

Now this is the fiddly part. Take a stretch of kite line, or lightweight cord - about 4m long - and sew it around the centre cross of the kite, then wrap it around the handle.

You could brew a cup of tea or grab a juice before starting this bit as it takes a little while to wind the full length of line around the handle - which can be as simple as a thick cylinder of wood. Just make sure it’s large enough to be held in both hands. Once this is done, the kite is ready to fly.

Step 4. Find a place to fly

Step 4. Find a place to fly

Step 4. Find a place to fly

You have a fully functioning kite but first it needs a safe place to fly. Find a green space that is open and public with no power lines or telephone cables passing over head.

Use this as a chance to explore your local area and go roaming with your kite in the parks and hills round about.

Step 5. Go fly your Kite!

Step 5. Go fly your Kite!

Step 5. Go fly your Kite!

Fully experience the world around you with its tempermental weather and billowing atmospheric currents. Or in other words, go have a blast of fresh air!

STAY SOCIAL

Keep up to date with further projects and share your ideas online using #MakeYourWay

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClydeandAvonValley/ 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ClydeAvonValley

Instagram: www.instagram.com/clydeavonvalley/

Make Your Way is an arts, heritage and active travel campaign, focusing on the communities of Carluke, Glassford, Lanark, Larkhall and Stonehouse, in 2016 – 17. It was delivered by icecream architecture and SYSTRA, with support  from Smarter Choices, Smarter Places grant and is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership scheme.

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