One of the joys of living on a Caribbean island is the great weather we experience during Easter time. Nothing brings back childhood memories like kite flying on a perfectly windy, sunny day during Easter holidays. On hills, beaches, even right on your own street, the sight of a kite rising higher and higher into the air until it’s floating high above can’t help but make us smile. For most of us, it’s been a while since we grabbed scissors, thread and copybook paper to make our own kite, so we decided to research the best techniques for making a boss kite. Follow our tips and take your kids out to test out your own beautifully crafted masterpiece! It’s a wonderful, low-budget way to spend quality time with the family.
First you’ve got to decide if you’re making a little kite, like a “cheekie chong” or you want to take over the skies with a “mad bull”. Deciding the size will determine how much materials you will need, how strong your kite needs to be and all other details such as the length of the tail. We decided on a traditional diamond-shaped kite or “cheekie chong”, as it’s affectionately named here in T&T as our model kite. So what’s next?
Back in schooldays kites would be made with any sort of paper you could find, most commonly being tissue paper or pages torn from an exercise book. But if memory serves us right, they never lasted that long and while some expert makers could achieve great heights with this common construction, we thought we’d suggest a more sturdy material for your kite project. Cardboard is a great alternative but it can be a little weighty and would require sturdier supports for the body. If you have brown paper handy, you’re halfway there. Brown paper has notable durability while maintaining a lightness that’s important to a superb kite. Besides the brown paper, cocoyea broom sticks will be needed for the structural support. For the tail, colourful ribbon or any decorative shredded piece of cloth will do. You’ll need tape or glue and finally, a spool of thread that is strong and won’t break easily in a strong wind. You’d hate to see your newly finished project take off without you!
Lay your brown paper on a flat surface, mark a diamond shape to your desired size and cut it out. Next, take your cocoyea sticks and lay them crossways on your shape, from tip to tip. Use glue or tape to secure your sticks to your diamond shape, paying attention to secure where the sticks cross one another in the middle and on each corner of the kite. You’re almost there!
Using more glue or tape, secure the tail to the lower end of the diamond. Note: your tail is essential to how your kite flies so the longer the tail the better, especially if it’s a big kite. Once the tail is secure, tie your spool of thread to the top part of the diamond. If you decided to use tape, gently pass the thread under the cocoyea frame and secure it. Pass your thread through a couple times to make sure you’ve got a firm hold.
That’s it! Time to take your kite out for a test run!
Flying your kite
Flying a kite should be like riding a bike: once you start it all comes back to you, but here are a few pointers. Start with about a foot or so of slack on your thread, and start a gentle run with your kite chasing behind you. As the kite starts to rise, loosen the thread for more give and allow it to pick up height. Gently tug on the string if your kite should start to dip, coaxing it back into the air. If you’re lucky and it catches a breeze immediately, give it lots of thread and run a bit to give it speed and height. Once it’s at a certain height your kite will fly on air currents and will only need gentle coaxing to maintain its height.
We wish you all a “Happy Easter” and happy kite-flying!