This pattern is the best one I’ve found so far for a small, quick build that flies well. It’s a great choice for a fast project with kids. Unfortunately, the original gif file by Jeremy Carson (1987) is older than most of the net itself, low-res, and badly deteriorating.
A friend of mine from down the road in Towa village, showing off a couple of kites we made from pages of a calendar.
Using Carson’s original measurements, I’ve rebuilt the file in Illustrator, giving the kite a blank face so that you can decorate it on your own. (Click for full sized file.)
OR, here’s one I already decorated with part of the coat of arms of the Czech Republic, for no reason better than that I really like that lion.
Heraldry symbols are COOL.
The file prints on letter size paper. Please note that you don’t need special lightweight paper to get this model to fly well – regular weight printer paper works best. I suggest bamboo skewers, available in most grocery stores wherever the toothpicks are, for the spars. Use regular cotton or polyester sewing thread for the line (NOT serious kite line, because it’s too heavy), and don’t skimp on the length of the tails. This kite needs heavy rear drag to stabilize.
Once you’ve built it, you might think your kite’s sail area looks pretty small compared to the weight of the paper, the spars, the glue, and the huge twin tails you’ve rigged it with... BUT, don’t worry! She flies very well... provided you have steady wind. This kite will dance for gusts, but like most small kites, it doesn’t launch easily in on-off winds. Still, it doesn’t take much to get her airborne. Launch in steady winds, minimum 8 mph. If you have steady winds above 12 mph, you should be able to launch without any running. (Serious kite flyers hate running starts, did you know that?) Optimum wind speed is 12-15mph, maximum is 18 or thereabouts.
I’ve never had to add wing tassels or mini tails to my builds, but Jeremy suggested it in the original instructions, so it’s likely worth a shot if you have a balance issue. If your kite takes some altitude and then suddenly starts spinning around in a tight circle, it’s because the winds are simply too strong for the sail to cope with at that altitude, and the balance can’t be fixed. You just need a bigger kite.