By Annisa Phillip.
Forget about bunnies and eggs, the real fun this season is kite flying. I remember when kite flying was a big part of childhood. When I was younger I watched as my older brother and his friends made kites – back then you made your own kites from scratch – they used paper, old cloth, stems from coconut leaves (known as cocoyea or cokiyea flex), thread and when there was no glue or tape they made a paste from flour and water as a substitute for glue.
I remember the first time I decided to make a kite myself, I figured that I knew what I needed to know based on observation. I had everything I needed so I folded my paper and formed my diamond shape and started working on the body of the kite. I had just finished the body when my brother told me that I was doing it wrong because I used the leaves of the coconut instead of the stem to make the “bow and arrow”… so much for knowing what I was doing. Thankfully, I can laugh about it as I now know better.
This Easter season made me remember the days of kite making and kite flying. I even went looking for pictures of the last kite I made with my brother for my niece some years ago. We still kept it simple. It made me wonder if children these days still made kites or even flew kites. I was pleasantly surprised one Sunday afternoon to see that some still do. I was greeted by three young boys flying a kite in the church yard. I could not help but smile at the site. This in fact, encouraged me to make a kite myself and share this story for old time’s sake. This time I got the material right, I am sure of it.
A simple kite is fairly easy to make:
- Take a sheet of paper and fold one end over to the opposite side to form a triangle. Cut the excess paper at the bottom. When open, the folded section should be a square.
- For added support use the thread to tie two coconut stems together in a spiral manner. Do this for another two of the stems.
- Turn the paper so that a pointed edge faces you (it would look like a diamond). Take one of your tied stems and place it along the fold of the paper and secure with tape. Take the next stem (it should be about the same length as the first), bend slightly and tie thread to both ends. It should look like a bow for an arrow.
- Ensure that the bow can fit the paper comfortably and attach it so that the bow lies across the first stem. The body is complete.
- A strand or strands of cloth tied together form the tail of the kite. This is attached at the bottom. The bottom of the kite is the edge of the paper that is below the string of the bow.
- For the final part, thread a needle and use it to direct the thread to the centre. From the underside, pass the threaded needle through the paper, aim for a corner just above where the string of the bow intersects with the straight stem. Now pass the needle over the stem just above the string of the bow back to the underside. Leave about an inch from the paper on both sides of the string, cut and tie the ends together creating a loop. Repeat in the corners below the string of the bow.
- Tie thread to the loops you just created and leave it attached to the spool. This is the flying line.
- All done now the kite can be flown.
April 2015 – Issue 15