Chinese dragons are symbols of good luck and fortune in Chinese culture. They feature a segmented body, like a centipede, tiger eyes for strength, a long beard for wisdom and horns for longevity. Kite flying is also a beloved tradition for young and old in China, so combining the lucky dragon with kites is the perfect blend of art and skill. Dragon kites were once used by Chinese soldiers to scare off enemy troops. Today's dragon kites are for entertainment, and while some can get quite elaborate, there is a simple way to make a dragon kite using items from around the house.
Cut the plastic trash bag open lengthwise. Tape down the edges and draw a circle that is 14 inches in diameter. Add a 1-inch margin along the top and sides for tabs, then square off the bottom. The circle should now look like a very fat horseshoe or tombstone.
Cut out the pattern and decorate it with a dragon's face using the markers.
Tape the wooden dowel to the center line of the kite's back.
Carefully straighten the light gauge wire hanger. Bend it around the top of the dowel. Carefully bend the wire down along the outside of the kite. You may need some heavy books or another set of helping hands to hold the wire in place on one side as you work on the opposite side.
At the top of the kite, fold and tape the plastic tab around the wire. Then move to the tab on the left and fold and tape. Move over to the right tab, folding and taping. Alternate securing the wire to the plastic by folding and taping alternate sides until the wire is covered. Snip off any excess wire with wire cutters.
Reinforce the center line of the kite with two large pieces of tape, approximately 1 1/2 inches down from the top and 3 inches up from the bottom. Then thread the heavy string through the heavy needle and pierce the upper tape section. Thread about 3 feet of string through the hole. This will create the kite's bridle, or part of the kite that connects the kite itself to the kite string you'll be holding.
Pass the heavy string around the wooden dowel and push the needle and heavy string down through the other side of the dowel. Loop it several times and tie to secure. Repeat this process with the heavy needle and heavy string on the lower taped portion of the kite. Tie the ends together in front of the kite.
Find the bridle's middle point and attach the snap swivel about 2 inches above that. Tie the string to the swivel clasp after pulling the loop of string over the whole swivel. Attach the kite string to the swivel.
Make the kite tail by cutting 7 long plastic strips from the garbage bags. Recommended strip length is about three trash bag lengths by about 3 inches. Tape the strips to the bottom of the kite and decorate if you desire.
- Plastic trash bags
- Clear tape
- Heavy string
- Permanent markers
- Wooden dowel (14 inches long, 3/16-inch diameter)
- Wire clothes hanger
- Wire cutters
- Kite string
- Heavy needle
- Large snap swivel
Dragon kites can be launched with the help of another person. Have the person hold the kite while you move about 40 feet away with the wind at your back. Signal them to release the kite as you start to wind the string. The kite should soar up immediately.
Remember not to fly a kite near power lines or in inclement weather to avoid possible electrocution.