Monday, May 20, 2013

STEP BY STEP | Build a Kite using Benjamin Franklin's Technique

In our second kite-building workshop, we distributed a manual showing the making-of kites following Benjamin's way. Whoever missed the workshop, lost the hand-out we gave last time, or simply is so excited to join 247 square team on the 26th of May 2013 (facing Rouche Rock, Beirut, Lebanon) to fly some kites, here is your chance to make one yourself.

Follow the complete how-to below. Build your kites and share them with us, be it on twitter, facebook, email, or simply at our kite-flying event.

poster designed and illustrated by Layla Smaili

Things You'll Need

- one 24-inch wooden dowel
- one 20-inch wooden dowel
- large piece of paper (at least 26" x 26") or a nylon trash bag
- tape
- lightweight string, twine, or fishing line
- craft knife
- ruler
- pencil, pen, or marker
- scissors

What You'll Do

Step 1: With the craft knife, carve a notch into both ends of each wooden stick.

Step 2: Take the longer wooden stick. Using a ruler, mark off a spot that is 6 inches from the end (or 1/4 of the way into the stick).

Step 3: Take the shorter wooden stick. Using a ruler, mark off a spot that is 10 inches from the end (or halfway into the stick).

Step 4: Place the shorter stick crosswise over the longer stick, matching up the marks you just made. When the sticks are laying down, all the notches should run parallel to the ground.

Step 5: Take the string and wrap it tightly around the center of your sticks, binding them together. You will be making an "X" shape with the string. Double check that the notches remain parallel to the ground.

Step 6: Thread the string through all the notches, creating a diamond shape. Wrap it around twice, making sure the string is taut. This is the frame of your kite.

Step 7: Pull the end of the string back towards the center of your kite. (Make sure the frame is still taut.) Wrap your string tightly around both sticks (mimicking the "X" shape you made earlier with the string) and tie it off with a knot.

Step 8: Cut your paper or plastic bag so that it is slightly larger than the kite frame.

Step 9: Fold the paper over the string frame, and either tape or glue it down.

Step 10: Reinforce the top and bottom tips of your kite with tape. Then, using a pen or needle, punch a tiny hole through these reinforced tips.

Step 11: Cut a 2 foot piece of string. Knot one end of the string through the top hole and the other end through bottom hole. This will form the bridle of your kite.

Step 12: Take the remainder of your string. Attach one end of it to the bridle (about 1/3 of the way down). This will be your flying string.

Step 13: Either tape or knot a 2 yardlong string to the bottom tip of your kite. Then, take your ribbon and tie bows around the string. The tail of your kite will add stability when it is in flight.


Now, it is time to fly your kite!

Find a breeze and an open space with no power lines or trees. Let the wind work its magic! 
(Hint: If your kite jerks or dips when you fly it, try moving the location of the flying string knot up or down the bridle.)

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