With Easter fast approaching, one of its greatest Barbadian traditions will also be in full flight (pun intended). Kite flying is very popular in Barbados, as illustrated by the competition held annually on Easter Monday at the Garrison. Kites for this competition or for general recreation can be purchased in stores and even from vendors who sell them at the side of the road, but making your own kite is so much more fun and exciting. This article will present a very simple way you can create a relatively simple kite for you, your children and the entire family to enjoy over the Easter weekend.
The Basic Parts of the Kite
The spine – the vertical stick that runs along the length of the kite.
The spar – the support stick placed horizontally over the spine. For circular kites, there are a variety of spars placed at slants across the vertical spines and in diamond kites, the spars can be slanted as well.
The frame – the spine and spars are binded by string or tape in the center, and also connected by a string that extends all the way around the kite (see in the Directions section). In Barbados, kite frames can also be purchased separately and decorated at to your preferences.
The cover – paper, plastic or cloth used to over the frame of the kite.
The bridle – attached to the spine or the spars and helps to control the kite as it flies.
The flying line – the string running from the kite’s bridle; it’s length determines the height and distance of the kite in the air.
The tail – a long strip of paper or plastic ribbon that helps keep the kite balanced in the air. However, not all kites require tails.
The reel – the object used to wind the flying like to keep it from getting tangled. It should be noted that here in Barbados, the flying line and reel are attached together, coming as one ensemble.
Make a cross with the two sticks (as displayed in the image). Note that the longer of the two sticks forms the spine, while the shorter one is placed horizontally to form the spar. Both sides of the spar need to be equal in length.
Tie the two sticks together with the string or strong tape, so that they are at right angles to each other. Cut a notch at each end of both sticks, to ensure that it is deep enough for the string to fit into. Cut a piece of string long enough to strength all around the kite frame, and as you reach each notch, secure the string inside. Leave enough string at both ends to make loops at the top and the bottom of the frame. Fasten the loop at the top by wrapping the string around the stick. Stretch the string through the notch at one end of the cross-piece, and make another loop at the bottom using the same technique. Wrap the string a few times around the top of the stick and cut off what is not needed. This string frame must be tight enough so that the frame is secure, but not too tight so as to cause damage to the sticks.
Lay the material you will be using for the kite, whether plastic, cloth or paper, flat on a surface and place the kite frame face down on the top. Leaving about 2-3cm for a margin. Fold this excess centimetre of material over the string frame and tape or glue it down ensures that the material is tight and secure. Secure the ends of each of the 4 sides where the string is secured in the notches with tape, to ensure extra reinforcement at the ends.
Punch two small holes along the spine for the bridle. Take a piece of string and place it through the loop at the top of the kite and tie it to the spine. Take the other end of the string and do the same with the loop ad the bottom. The bridle should be long enough so that when you pick up the kite, it stands at least 8 inches from the kite’s surface. All kites do not have a bridle, but having one helps to control the kite.
Attach the string that you will be using to control the kite (the flying line). Choose the angle that is best for you, but usually the starting point should be near the top of the kite.
Make a tail by tying a small ribbon (made from cloth) or small pieces of cloth, roughly every 10 cm along the length of a long piece of string. Attach the tail to the loop at the bottom of the kite.
Fly your kite!
This method presented in this article is a relatively simple way to make your own kite. While your children may look forward to the actual flying of the kite more than anything else, making the kite itself can be fun family activity.
©Photo 1 taken from Guim.co.uk
© Photo 2 taken from Amazonaws.com
© Photo 3 taken from Skratch-pad.com
© Photo 4 taken from Magnatalk.com
© Article of Caribbeandreamsmagazine.com