Associate Professor Thomas Sakoulas
State University of New York at Oneonta : Art Department
[ Contact me]

Kite construction


This project is designed to introduce the student to several Design issues.

  • Research: One of the most rewarding aspects of Art-making is the mere fact that we are often called to engage projects that are completely unknown to us. It is therefore vitally important for the artists to be able to comprehend and to execute works of art derived from thorough research and a quick understanding of the basic principles of the problem.
  • Color: Color is a basic design element, and you need to always be aware of it. There are two basic ways of using color. The artist can either apply a color to a material, or he/she can use the inherit color of the material. The color combinations and effects are more effective when they are in tune with the overall structure. They can enhance a shape, complement, it or even obscure it, and they can have a major effect on the mood that is emanated.
  • Performance: Performance Art became prominent during the early years of the 20th century and saw its hay day during the 60's. In this kind of art work the artist is usually the central point and usually the art object becomes an excuse for the performance. A sound performance piece usually combines a solid execution of both the objects and the actions.
  • Kinesis (motion): Kinetic Art is also a product of our century (although many examples of folk art existed before), and it involves an object that exhibits kinetic elements. The energy for the motion can be derived from a variety of means. The wind is a common source of energy, as is running water, and mechanical constructions.


The materials needed will vary, depending on the design you chose to engage. In general, you will need string (about 50 feet), tape (masking), a rigid (but light) material to construct a frame for your kite, and a soft material to catch the wind. You will also need a way to add color to your kite.

For the frame you can use thin dowels, straw, thin strips of soft wood, or plastic strips designed specifically for for kites (can be bought at hobby stores).

For the sail you can use either paper, or plastic (garbage bags are good), and a way to attach it to the frame (you can tape, or saw it. Plastic can be melted together).

For color you can use either colorful material, or you can paint your kite with acrylic colors.



Take a look at these sites for a wealth of information on kites and for plans and ideas:

Peter's Kite site
a wealth of information on kites

Kite Plans
many plans for kite building. Some with good details.

Kite Designs
from Cobra Kites, a leading kite manufacturer

Kites to make and fly
designs and plans

Gone with the wind
a kite company

Ground Zero
Geometric kite designs

Kite building
plans and snapshots

Kite construction comments
Using double stick tape for the seams

Make your own kite

How does it fly

Kite History