How to Make a Three Stick Kite?

Basic materials

Frame - You will need three sticks - 2 x 24 inches and 1 x 22 inches (head stick). The material of my choice is bamboo (7mm wide x 3mm thick) to obtain a strong, yet lightweight frame (2 x 9 grams and 1 x 7 grams = 25 grams).

Covering material - 1 sheet of Japanese washi 21 x 25 inches (paper made with mulberry fibres) is strong and lightweight (14 grams per sheet).

Glue - Wallpaper glue is fine in a paste-like consistency: avoid wetting the paper too much.

String - Any strong, light cord is good for stringing the frame.

Making your kite

1. Tie the three sticks roughly in position with a piece of string. Do not use a nail to prevent the bamboo from splitting!

2. Fold the paper sheet to get creases which will define the exact location of the spars and to obtain a perfect symmetry.

3.  String the kite as shown in the diagram, but make sure not to create too much tension as this will warp the kite later.

4. Apply some glue on the slipknots which were used to string the kite. Otherwise they might dislocate later.

5. Cut the rough shape of the kite from the paper, leaving a 1-2 inch margin which will be used for glueing later.

6. If you plan to decorate your kite with paint or ink you should do so now. Before fixing the paper to the kite.


7. Apply glue on the spars (skin of the bamboo side) and position the frame on the paper. Use some weight (e.g. phone books) to keep the frame flat and in place. Let dry.

8. Apply glue to the edges of the paper and fold these inwards over the string. Be careful not to tear the paper. Work around the kite perimeter and allow some time for the glue to dry.

9. If you have not painted the kite earlier you can also apply colored (tissue) paper in any desired pattern (see example below).



Flying the kite proved problematic. Maybe because the bridle lines were not adjusted properly, or the lack of an effective tail. Anyway, the kite would not stop spinning around. After several crashes the paper started to tear here and there, so ... the sticks were recycled and used for an improved version.