If you’ve never made a traditional Bermuda kite before, now’s the time! Here’s everything you need to make one just right.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Kite sticks (sold as a set, complete with bamboo bow and nail)
Tissue paper in a variety of colors
Glue (liquid or stick form, whichever you prefer)
Measuring tape or ruler
Finding Your Sticks:
Long Sticks: 2 longest with holes drilled at either end
Cross Stick: Shortest one
Head Stick: Measures between longest and shortest
Step 1: Measure your long sticks and cross stick, marking the centre point of each. You do not need to mark the centre of your head stick.
Step 2: Next, stack your sticks, with the two long sticks on the bottom and the cross stick on top. The centres of each stick (the place you marked) should sit on top of one another. Finally, place the head stick on top, with the edge slightly overlapping the centres of the three sticks below. Once you’re happy with the placement of your sticks, nail them into place.
To secure your head stick at the correct angle, place your fingers underneath it while nailing your sticks together. But BE CAREFUL not to injure yourself – if you can’t do this safely, then skip these steps and buy a ready-made frame.
Step 3: Using a handsaw or a serated knife, cut grooves into the end of each stick deep enough for the string to sit in comfortably. Do not cut a groove into the bottom of your head stick, it is not neccessary.
Step 4: Fan your sticks out before attaching the bamboo bow. You might have to widen the top holes of your long sticks with scissors to fit the bamboo BUT be careful, it’s easy to split the wood.
Step 5: Tie your head stick to your bamboo bow with a double-knot and trim the excess.
Step 6: To begin stringing your kite, tie a double-knot around the top of one of the long sticks, but below where the bamboo bow sticks out at the back of your frame. Then, thread your string through the frame so that you can hook the string into the groove at the top of your long stick. Once the string is inside the groove, move onto the next stick, and then the next.
Step 7: Once you’ve worked your way all the way around the circumference of your kite, tie a half-hitch knot (or three!) at the top of your long stick before going up through the groove of your head stick.
Step 8: After you thread the head stick, take your string down to the opposite long stick, wrap the string around it a couple of times before crossing back over and securing your string with several more half-hitches and a couple double-knots to secure it firmly. Cut the excess string.
Step 9: When planning out your design, decide where you want your strings to go, and measure it out so that your pattern is accurate. For our pattern, we marked 5 inches from the end of each stick.
To start, tie a simple double-knot around the top of your long stick, then thread your string through the frame to the next stick. Tie a knot around that stick, pull the string taut and continue on.
Once you’re happy with the pattern, tie off your sting and cut the excess.
Step 10: To begin papering your kite, decide where you want each colour to go and paper your lightest colours first. To measure your patch, use your fingers to make an impression in the paper of the string/frame. When cutting out your patch, remember to leave an inch or so on the sides that will cover the string, as the paper has to wrap around the sting to be secured.
Step 11: When glueing your patch, make sure to apply enough glue to the stick and string, so the paper will adhere, but not too much or the paper will become wet and soggy. You can use Elmer’s School Glue or a glue stick, but if using a glue stick, make sure to really coat your stick/string like it’s a paste.
To secure your patch, cut from the edge of the paper to the string in all four corners, being careful to not cut through the string. Then, fold the edges of your paper over the string to secure – you might need more glue here.
Continue papering your kite, lightest colours to darkest.
Step 12: To make your centrepiece, start with a square of tissue paper. Fold it into a smaller square, then a crescent. Cut shapes into paper (triangles and circles work best). When done, unfold your paper and check out your pattern.
Layer various sized and coloured centrepieces to create a design you’re happy with. Make sure to use enough glue so they don’t fly off when your kite is in the air.
Step 13: To make your hummers, cut two long strips of tissue paper, fold them in half and then trim them. Make sure to cut angles into both ends.
Glue your hummers onto your strings with your string sitting comfortably inside the folded hummer.
And you’re done… Happy Good Friday, Bermuda! May your kites fly high and your fishcakes taste well.