Build a Box Kite in 4 Steps

A box kite is an easy-to-make and easy-to-fly kite that is perfect as an afternoon project with children and friends. Box kites are able to withstand harsher weather conditions than other designs. They can be used as a teaching aid for art and science or just a leisurely pastime. Best of all, they are inexpensive to make.

Materials To Build a Box Kite

These materials may be purchased in any hobby shop or home improvement center.

  • 4 1/4-inch dowels, 36 inches long
  • 4 1/4-inch dowels, 14 inches long
  • 16 inches of plastic tubing, 1/4-inch inside diameter, or drinking straws
  • Masking or duct tape
  • Plastic trash bags or newspaper
  • Kite String
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape or ruler

The above materials can be easily substituted if necessary. The dowels can be a slightly different size and can be round or square. A variety of materials can be substituted for the plastic, but newspaper or trash bags are probably your most available materials. The plastic tubing may even be substituted for straws, as long as your dowels fit inside. This kite is very easy to make once you learn its form and improvising will be most of the fun of your future kite projects. Think of your kite as both an engineering marvel and a precious piece of 3-D art.

Step 1: Making the Connectors

Cut the tubing or straws into 2-inch lengths. Snip them only halfway through in the middle so that they can bend at a 90-degree angle while still holding together. Then slip a tube over both ends of 2 36-inch dowel and tape them firmly in place so that each tube sticks out at a right angle from the dowel 6 inches from the end. Don't go crazy on tape; the lighter your kite is, the better it will perform. Do the same with the other 2 dowels but at 6 1/4 inches. The 14-inch rods are going to insert into these connectors in the next step to provide the horizontal support.

Step 2: Making and Connecting the Crossbars

Simply join two of the 14-inch dowels at their centers at right angles to form an “X” and tape firmly in place. Make two crossbars in this manner.

Next, assemble your frame by connecting the crossbars to the 36-inch dowels. The ends of the crossbars should slip into the straws or tubing at right angles. You should now see that the connectors that are at the different positions to make connecting the crossbars easier. This will allow you to connect everything without having to bend the dowels. Again, tape the connections firmly in place. Wrap some string or tape tightly around the outside of these connections for extra stability. If your frame is tending to collapse, then the crossbars are not secure enough.

You now have your frame!

Step 3: The Sails

Here, you can use newspaper, trash bags or cellophane. Cut out or tape together a couple of 1x4-foot sections of your chosen material to create your sails. Now wrap the sails around the ends of the box kite frame so that a 1-foot strip surrounds all four sides. Use tape to secure the sails to the frame. Also tape a strip all the way around each edge of the sails (the part that is just hanging off of the frame) to prevent tearing.

Step 4: Bridling the Kite

Cut a 40-inch length of string. Cut a small hole in the plastic on both sides of one of the dowels about 2 inches from the end. Thread the string and tie a secure knot snuggly around the dowel. Do the same at the other end. This is the bridle. Now tie your main length of kite string to the bridle string at about 14 inches from either end. This will result in your box kite flying at about a 45-degree angle.

Your box kite is now complete! Fly your kite in any conditions that you feel comfortable standing in. This kite is versatile. It flies with easy handling in both light and heavy winds.