For my main project I will be making a stunt kite. I would love if my kite both looks great and also flies well but will start with trying to make a flashy looking kite.


I started thinking about what I could design almost as soon as I signed up for this class. I had a few sets of ideas such as making a gift for someone or making a gadget I could use in the kitchen but none of those ideas were really calling to me. While I was home over break I was thinking about how I like this wooden salad bowl my dad has and was thinking it could be fun to attempt a similar woodworking project but that isn’t very dynamic. And then I also thought about making a Lazy Susan serving platter for a friend that loves to entertain and while I was pleased I had thought of that idea I wasn’t really excited to actually make it. And then while sewing the fabric to cover my lamp base I rediscovered that sewing is a lot of fun so I was trying to think of a design idea for something I could wear.

Fabric base that was my first sewing project in years
Stunt kite in use at a park

While on the hunt for a sewing project that would be worth pursuing for this project we had some very nice sunny and also breezy days. On one of these lovely weekends I spending a morning at a park with some friends slacklining and relaxing in the sun when I found one of their kites in the gear bag. Since it was a rather gusty day and we were at a perfect kite flying field I decided that was exactly what I wanted to do. At first I struggled to keep the kite in the air. Unlike the single lined kites I had flown before, this was a dual-line stunt kite that required some steering from the user. After many sudden crashes to the ground and having to restrain the urge to run to keep the kite aloft, I finally figured out how to fly the kite and had a great time. With stunt kites the kite flier can steer the kite into figures and twirls by pulling individually on the lines. I wandered all over the field flying the kite and then passed it off to friends and continued to watch the kite soar and dip across the sky. Eventually while watching the idea finally struck me that I could make my own kite for this design project. I would love to have a kite of my own, the project was surely dynamic which was one constraint I was struggling to meet with other ideas, and kites by nature are flashy and artistic. They are meant to both look nice and by played with which seemed like a perfect combination.

Design Research

Other than having flown a few really basic kites and the one stunt kite that inspired this project, I really didn’t have any idea where to start. Initially I searched online to find instructions on how to make a stunt kite. This search led to an overwhelming number of links to various kite design, most that didn’t really fit what I had in mind. So I decided to see what the library had and found a book all about designing stunt kites. The book included general advise about choosing material and also showed patterns for about 5 different kites. While none of these kites were like the parafoil kite that initially sparked my interest, the book was a great start and I did consider making a rigid stunt kite. One of the best tips was to check out a local kite store for sourcing materials. I had to think for a bit but then I realized that Into the Wind was my local kite store! I was very familiar with the store as a place to look for unique games and puzzles but had always overlooked the fact the Into the Wind is actually a very popular kite store that serves kite enthusiasts all over the country. A visit to Into the Wind was very helpful at the start. I learned they would have most things I needed but was also given the names of vendors they like for materials that are not stocked very well at Into the Wind.

The next bit of research I did was to decide if I wanted a flexible parafoil kite or a rigid kite that would likely be a more traditional kite shape or triangular. I decided the easiest way to make that decision was to try flying a rigid stunt kite and i found someone selling three pretty good kites for $15. After buying the kites I tried flying one and decided I liked that the flexible parafoil kite require no set up and can be smacked into the ground or dragged without fear of breaking anything.


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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Hi Abigail, It’s awesome how you explored different ideas before stumbling upon the inspiration for your project while flying a friend’s stunt kite. Your resourcefulness in doing research online, finding a helpful book at the library, and visiting a local kite store shows your dedication to making your project a reality. Can’t wait to see how your flexible parafoil kite turns out.


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