How to Make a Kite and Where to Fly It in Tulsa this Weekend!

I just got back from a trip to visit my daughter in Austin. She thoughtfully planned an itinerary of things that I might like to do. One of them was visiting the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The bluebonnets were in bloom, and we strolled through the area, enjoying being outside away from the traffic of the city.

It reminded me of my walks through the Tulsa Botanic Garden. While it doesn’t have the amenities of Lady Bird’s Center, yet, it’s still a great place to take the kids away from the noise of town and take a walk through the woods. Now is a good time to go since it’s not too hot and you’ll see lots of redbuds.

This Saturday, April 19, the Tulsa Wind Riders Kite Club will be out at the Tulsa Botanic Garden flying their kites at the lake just behind the visitors’ center. You can take your own kites to fly, or you can make one with kits provided by the Wind Riders. It’s free, but they’re asking for a $3 donation.

When I read about this event, I thought of my own childhood when my dad made kites with me and my brother and sister. They always flew a little crazy and took some major nosedives, but it was more fun to make them than to buy them.

Here’s the way we made them:

Diamond-Shaped Paper Kite

1. Get two balsa wood sticks (size depends on how big you want the kite to be, but not too long) The horizontal cross piece should be shorter than the vertical piece.

2. Make notches at the ends of both sticks with a knife. Balsa wood is soft, so this isn’t difficult.

3. Put the sticks in a cross shape. The horizontal stick should be about one-third of the way down from the top of the vertical stick. The horizontal stick should be equal distance from the vertical stick on both sides. You can hot glue or glue the sticks together where they cross if you want. Tie them together with string or twine. Make sure that it’s good and tight. Cut off the excess string.

4. Take the twine or string and outline the shape of your kite, using the notches at the end of each stick to hold the twine in place. Tie it off at the bottom, leaving a “tail” of twine hanging from the bottom.

5. Place your kite frame on a piece of paper. The paper can be the Sunday Comics like I always used when I was a kid, or you can use some kind of heavy paper, wrapping paper, paper bags or a plasticized type paper (this would be the sturdiest).

6. Using a straight edge such as a yardstick, draw around the diamond shape of the kite, leaving a couple of inches beyond the frame of your kite.

7. Cut the diamond shape out and fold the edges over the twine frame, using tape (lots of tape) to keep the paper in place around the frame.

8. Get your kite-flying string. You can attach it to the kite frame in one of two ways:

* Tie a string from one end of the horizontal stick to the other and then tie your kite string to the center of that string.

* Tie the kite string directly to the spot where the two sticks cross.

8. For the tail, you can cut pieces of ribbon and tie them at intervals to the string you left hanging from the bottom of the kite. Or you can make an alternative tail by cutting long strips of narrow ribbon or paper and stapling or taping it to the bottom point of the kite. You can also add strips of ribbon or tape to each end of the horizontal crosspiece.

Now you’re ready to find a breeze and fly your kite. Once you feel the kite catch the breeze, run and let your string out to see how it flies!

Categories: Editor’s Blog