The Richard Babley Memorial Kite Design
I developed this kite in memory of a fictional character, Richard Babley, from the Charles Dickens Novel, "David Copperfield". This kite is fairly large (4 feet by 4 feet), but it can be cut down in scale if desired. It is a simple design and uses very basic materials. I built the one shown here in flight in less than an hour, including gathering the materials.
To begin the project, gather together four broad-sheets of newspaper, two 4-foot dowels (1/4-inch diameter), kite string, packing tape, five sheets of copier paper, a stapler, a yardstick (or tape-measure), a pencil and a key ring.
First, measure one of the dowels down 12 inches from the top and place a mark with a pencil. On the other dowel, measure down 24 inches and place another mark. Set aside sticks and lay out pieces of newsprint so that the top two are side by side as if opened to read, and the bottom two are side by side opened perpendicular. They should all meet in the center. With the paper laid out in this way use the packing tape on both sides of all the seams.
Next, you will have to make four pockets. This is very easily done with one of your sheets of copier paper. Cut the sheet (lengthwise) into 2 inch strips. To make the pocket, fold the strip into thirds and then fold it in half with about a 1/2-inch over lap, staple the sides.
Now cross the dowels at the marks you made (the cross spreader will be the one with the marks in the center). Place a pocket at the end of each dowel or spar. Lay the sticks on top of your sail. The spine should be right along the seam, but the cross spreader will be in the middle of the upper half of the sail. Tape the pockets down to the sail. Do not tape down the spars (dowels).
Draw a line with your yardstick from spar pocket to spar pocket around the edges of the kite. Now fold down the paper outside this border several times towards the center until it is even with the lines. Tape down the edges with packing tape to strengthen the outer edge.
Poke a hole in the kite where the two dowels cross. Poke another hole about 12 inches from the bottom. Cut a piece of kite-string about 5 feet in length. Tie it securely where the dowels cross and thread it through the small hole. (You can reinforce this point on your sail with an extra piece of packing tape.) Thread the string through the key ring in the manner shown at left. This creates an adjustable ring allowing you to change the angle of attack to compensate for wind speed. Push the string back through the hole at the bottom and tie it securely to the spine (vertical dowel).
To make the tail, cut the remaining four pieces of copier paper in about 1 or 2 inch strips, lengthwise and tape them into a chain. Secure the chain to the bottom of the kite with packing tape. Tie the kite string to the bridle ring, adjust the ring and you are ready to fly!
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KiteFlyerInfo.com was created primarily to highlight some original kite designs using basic materials such as newspapers, dowels, and packing tape. But it has also become a repository of other useful information about kite flying. Use the navigation links at the top of the page to find out about some of the many different kinds of kites. Just above are links to some of our kite designs as well as some interesting info we have gathered.