Many thanks to all who have replied.
Anthony's Reply :- In my Kite Workshop, almost at the bottom of the page, I have the location for two fairly good (and cheap) Australian Box Kite Designs.
We made the kites pretty much as planned and they worked great. We also built some bigger but on the same scale. We used bamboo sticks for staking up tomato plants. They all flew great.
We did make one change; we used hot glue guns instead of phone wire to hold the cross piece to the back bone. A little slower but it seemed to work pretty good as we got used to it. We used hot glue to hold the sticks inside of the ballon stick as well. This also allowed the ballon stick to be bent very easily when it was still hot.
We all really appreciated that you took the time and energy to put out this information.
Anthony's Reply :- Glad to see it works out so well. The wire (or glue) is basically just to hold the dihedral in place. The glue gun method will also prevent it slowly working its way up or down the spine or longeron. Not that it should do this anyway if the wire is tight!
Balloon sticks are ok for small diamonds like this. For larger diamonds however it will probably just fold double with a good gust of wind.
For larger diamonds, I would recomend you replace the balloon stick tubing above with a light and thin walled brass or aluminum tube of the appropriate size. To bend this center the metal tube over a gap in some wooden boards and tap a chisel with a hammer lightly in the middle. Don't bend it too much.
One thing I found is that a hot air blower, such as those used to strip paint, are great for softening the balloon stick so it bends without being stressed. You can bend it to the precise angle as well. Your form has never-ending lateral movement.
Another thing, large tyvek envelopes that people throw out at the office are just barely big enough when cut open to make a small diamond kite. The surface is nice for markers or crayons and there is an unlimited supply of these envelopes in any office trash. Tyvek is nice since it does not rip.
Anthony's Reply :- Tyvek is a lot tougher than the white plastic but it is also heavier. I suggest making a larger diamond using the metal tube (see previous reply) when using tyvek as a sail. You can make some enormous diamond kites with just those two small modifications and doubling or even tripling dimensions.
Tyvek as you say does have other advantages such as: easier to draw on with plain crayons, pencils and felt tip pens; it also does not strech, can be cut with sissors but will not tear; and is water proof. Unfortunatally it is not as easy to get a hold of, is heavier, and is more expensive. Them's the breaks.
I live in the central United States in Oklahoma. My wife maintains a fan club for a rock and roll artist by the name of Sammy Hagar (Club Cabo is the name and they are on the internet). He used to be the lead singer for a group named Van Halen. Every October he throws a birthday party for himself, and any body who can get there gets to attend the concerts he performs for free. Well, my wife and I were trying to come up with an idea to make a birthday banner for Sammy, being this was his 50th and all, so I stayed up late for a couple of days building 22 El Cheapos out of red plastic bags and attatching paper letters that spelled happy birthday sammy on them. It did turn out pretty good. Since my wife and I know the manager of the club and my wife is in with the band, they allowed us to hang the kites from a cat walk railing in the club. I just ran a 50 pound test line below the dyhedral and strung the kites out like they were on a clothes line. It turned out pretty well. There was enough breeze through the club that the tails floated around and cought many people's attention. One note, the day before, out on the beach, a friend of mine and I launched those kites into the dry Mexican air and watched with child like abbandon. The whole experience was too cool. Pray for wind! -- Dave Young
Sounds like you reached AoxomoxoA -- Anthony
Thanks again for the great help.
Kevin D. Hughes, McKinleyville California (USA)
It was awesome. Every kite flew (luckily a nice breeze). A few got up 200-250 feet.
Granted, the dads did a lot of the kite making but the El Cheapo is an extremely forgiving design and the kids by themselves could have had similar success after I gave them a lesson. WE didn't even get into the fancy knot tying. Very much appreciate the plans. 16 kids and 16 dads/grandpas had a blast. It was a huge success.
I was particularly happy because I never made a kite before and just followed the directions.
My little MAËLY, 3 years old, love her "El Cheapo".
As it always fly after weeks spend in a beach bag, under all the
things my daughter needs on a beach, I'm glad. Happy... to have
more than 5 minutes to fly mine.
I built your "El Cheapo Diamond Kite". Mine is about 1 metre by 1 metre using 1/4" dowel with soldered brass tubes for the three way corner connectors. The sail is gold lame (ugly material, but looks great in flight and it was free).
Once I worked out that I was trying to fly it upside down, and re-attached the bridle on the correct side, it flew really well.
My children thoroughly enjoyed the experience when I finally let them hold the string.
Thank you, Robert Miller
I am so glad that you posted your plans for the small diamond kite. I saw the plan about 2-3 months ago and whated to build a train but never got round to it.
But since the Kite Train article the KiteLife, I am finally starting to build the train. I am doing it a little diferently though. I am not using balloon sticks because it is not easy to get hould of them here. I am instead using dowle I have bent to give a 15 degre bend. Should I glue the spine and cross spar together or conect them in another way ?
I also am confused about the ataching of the bridle ( for a train ) to the spars. The picture I have from the discription is that it would cut through the thin 3mm dowle. If you have a digital camera , could you please send me a close up photo of how it is conected ?
Thank you for you help, plan and time. I can't wait for your reply.
Anthony's Reply :-
Hot glue would work well as it will fill the gap between the round spine and cross spars. However I usally just use a bit of wire to twist (with pliers) the two parts together. As given in the plan.
As for the kite train section, I have updated the plan on this point adding a explaination on that part. (This plan just gets bigger and bigger!)
Basically in my plan I use a seperate section of bridle lines for each kite. It is weaker than a single line, but it allows me to easilly attach the kite frame to the bridle, as now better described in the plan. Also as each kite is seprate I can add and remove single kites or sections of kites to fix them, or help de-tangle the train from another kite line.
The lead or uppermost kite does not need to be bigger but it should have at least twice as much tail. Same for the other top few kites.
The problem is the top of the train tends to be affected by turbulence and can twist around and spin. Which is why I also recomend some swivels inbetween the top few kites.
The lower ones are supported by the upper kites so is no problem.
Update on 26 January, 1999...
Thank you for your help for the diamond kite train plan. I have send a small pic of the beginning of my train. It only has 11 kites now but I am hoping to have at least 30 by Sunday.
Update on 2 Feburary, 1999...
I had some fun flying my 30 kite train at my clubs fun fly on sunday. here is a picture of them. Unfortunately some of the kites got wrecked because the kite were on the ground when big winds came up. I started to self launch and got the tails tangled and then dived into the ground a bit. You definitely need a helper to fly trains.
I had never made a kite before, and I was a little intimidated, but your plans made it very easy! I made the kite, but I didn't have time to decorate it before the project was due.
When I got to school, my kite was one of the smallest and plainest there. I was a little upset at all the designs and creative structure of some of the kites in comparison to my own, but then we went outside to fly them. Mine was the first kite up and the last one to come down. In fact, none of the others flew for more than 5 minutes. I got an A+!
Thank you for the wonderful instructions!
Brad Bowman -- Alabama
Thanks for your ideas.
Anthony's Reply :- No thank you John for an alturnative source for cheap diahedrals.
span/height: 3ft. (close to 1m)
spars: 3/16in. wooden dowel (~6mm)
material: I dunno, blue tarp? (or drop sheet?)
dihedral: 1/4in. aluminum pipe
Tail: 3in wide warning tape (like police use)
I left 1in. flaps at the end of each corner of the skin and folded them over the spar tips then secured them with Gaffer's tape (cloth based) and a pair of staples.
I live in New York City and it's great to be able to go to the park and relax a little, in fact I decorated my new kite with the word kanwa (written in japanese) which means [relaxation from tension or stress]. Hey, great site, great plans, great fun. Keep it up!
Instead of using wooden skewers, we purchased small wooden dowels that were about 1/8" in diameter. They were very inexpensive, 3 feet of dowel for only 20 cents. I thought it was easier for this age group to not have to tape the two skewers together as in your plans. We simply cut the wooden dowels to size and sanded the edges smooth.
I still used the 'dihedral'. I made them out of the balloon sticks, just as you explained in your plans. I did use one of the 'tips' from the e-mail you received and used a heat gun to soften the balloon stick before bending it. It worked perfectly!
I also experimented with an alternative material for the kite sail. I cut a piece of white shower curtain liner (vinyl) and tried it out. It was great for decorating .... and seemed like it would make a very sturdy kite, but was too heavy for the size of kite. I think it would have worked for a kite with a larger surface area, but I wasn't willing to change all of the templates and plans at the last minute.
I stack them neatly in a 1' deep box for storage, have someone lift the first kite for me, give the line a tug and they float out of the box one at a time using the lift of the previous kite. One of my favorites! The launch is very impressive.
I built 6 kites planning to let them fly in stack with two teddy bear painted at the two end and the name of my son in the middle. Actually, I have never flown them in stack (but I had no time to try this technique!), but a single kite was the first to get the wind and rising up! I live in Rome, and here we haven't "hard" winds, and a little kite files better than a big one! All materials I used are what you suggested:, balloon sticks, bag plastic and tape.
Anyway, my childrens (four, the fifth is coming soon) have been very happy!
Thank you -- Giovanni
Naturally, I changed the material used. I used balsa wood instead of bamboo and glued the balsa with model plane glue. The plastic is the same kitchen tidy bag plastic. The line is an ordinary cotton sewing line, but it is difficult to keep it tidy, so i'm planning to replace it with a twisted nylon sewing line.
The length of the longerine is 34cm and the rest is arranged to be in scale.
It is a great flier, even a slight wind is sufficient for it to fly. Its first flight was indoors in the wind flowing from one window to another. It can even fly in the wind of an air condtion. When I take it by me and walk indoors, it flies over my shoulder. It is like a pet.
We have a golf club close to us, and golfers use the big umbrellas that insist in turning inside out in strong wind. They usually toss them away while at the club house. The fabric from one of these umbrellas will make four kites. The ones I made were multi coloured, half red-half green & half blue-half yellow and 75cm high. The kids loved them. Hope this little tip will help other kite makers.
I tried to take some pictures of the train. You can see them at
Thanks you very much again
Ýstanbul / Turkey
-- Anthony Thyssen.