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Kinkos Sled Kite Plan

How to make a Sled Kite
from a Kinko's Bag.


Sled kites were invented in the 1950's by William Allison in Dayton, Ohio.
He called it a 'Polymorphic Kite', meaning it could change its form with the wind.
Frank Scott modified Allison's design and wanted to call it a Flexible Flyer,
since the kite was very flexible and a good flyer.
But that name was already being used by a company making the Flexible Flyer Snow Sleds.
So Scott called his kite a 'Sled Kite'.
They have been called Sled Kites ever since.
There are almost as many different types of Sled Kites as there are people who have made them.


Go to a card store or a Kinko's (now FedEx Kinko's) printers and get a PAPER bag,
the kind that *does* have a gusset (the sides fold in) but *does NOT* have a "foot" (a "flat" bottom like a grocery bag).
In other words, when open, the bag cannot stand up on its own.
The bags we get from FedEx Kinko's are 18-1/2" tall and 12" wide.


Materials:

  • 1 Kinko's (or similar) bag.

  • Cellophane tape or clear packing tape.

  • Glue. (Elmer's white glue works, but clear liquid glue is better. It is usually sold as a Liquid Glue Pen. Notice the one used below was Stick Glue.)

  • At least 6 feet of 20 or 30 pound nylon string.


Tools:

  • Scissors.

  • Yardstick (or meter stick)

  • Hole punch.

  • A Rafter square helps.


Questions:
E-mail: gengvall@cox.net



MEASUREMENTS:
These are the dimensions from the Kinko's /FedEx (a popular chain of printing shops in the USA) bag.
These are presented as an example.
The actual dimensions of your bag are not as important as placing the points 1/3 of the way down,
and tying the loop or knot in the bridle exactly in the middle the bridle line.

The Kinko's /FedExbag is 18-1/4 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
After gluing the gussets shut, the top and bottom are trimmed off.
The bag is then 16-1/2 inches tall.
Measure down 5-1/2 inches (1/3 of the way) and 6 inches in from each side (halfway) and put a mark.
Draw a line from each corner to that mark, according to the directions below.

Step 1:

The folds in the sides of the bag are called 'gussets'.

Glue the gussets (the folding in sides) closed.

All the way, top to bottom. Let dry.

(These will be the "sticks" in our sled kite.)

Almost any good paper glue will work.
Clear muscilage kindergarten glue might be the easiest to find.
Note that the clear liquid glue pen being used is a STICK GLUE brand.

Step 2:

Cut off the top of the bag.

Be careful - often the "front" of the bag is lower than the "back".

I usually measure in to the shorter side, and trim them even.

Step 3:
Cut off the bottom of the bag. Same procedure.
I measure 16-1/2" down from the cut top to get an accurate length.
Cut off all the extra "fold" of the bottom of the bag, draw a line, and
cut *both* layers of the bag to trim off the bottom of the bag.


Step 4:
Determine "front" from "back".
Most of these bags have a "seam" running up the "back" of the bag. (See picture below).
This is the side we want to work with now.
(In other words, any writing or pattern on the "good" side of the bag would be right side up.)


Step 5:

On the 'bad', or uglier, side of the bag:
Measure one third of the way down from the "top" of the bag.
Measure from side to side and find the middle of the bag.
Put a mark on the bag that is 1/3 of the way down and in the middle (left to right).
A Kinko's bag, when trimmed, is 16-1/2 inches long, so the mark will be
5-1/2 inches down from the top, and 6 inches in from each side.

Step 6:

Draw a line from this mark to *each* corner of the bag.

Take the scissors and carefully cut through *one* layer only along these lines.

DO NOT CUT THRU THE TOP AND BOTTOM !!!

Try and avoid cutting the gussets.

Step 7:

Open out the kite.
There are now two "points" 1/3 of the way down on each side.
Cover these points with tape (to reinforce the holes you are about to punch.)
and trim the tape to match the paper.
Punch holes on the points so that the hole has about 1/4" of clearance around the outside.

Step 8-a:

Take the nylon string (or any strong, light and thin string.)
The finished bridle should be 3 times the distance between the points with the kite opened out.
A kite made from a Kinko's bag is 2 feet across, so the bridle should be 6 feet long.
The length is not critical, just real important. <g> Longer is better.

The easiest way to make the bridle is to cut 2 strings, each 3 feet long.
Tie one end of one string to one of the holes in the points, using an Overhand Knot.
It should look like the picture at the right.

Step 8-b:

Put both corners together to match them up.
Pull the strings out together, and tie  them together using an Overhand Knot.
The Overhand Knot should be as close to the ends as possible.
This Overhand Knot needs to be exactly between the points of the Flares, dead center.
If it is off-center, the 2 strings will have different lengths.
The kite will fly in circles towards the shorter string.

 

Last Step:

Go fly your kite.
This is a good performer in light winds, but it might need a tail in stronger winds.

Best of luck. Kite building is as much fun as (or even more fun than) kite flying.

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