Why did I started to build kites of paper?


Initially this had nothing to do with kites. I found a program on the internet that generates fractal images (-->Apohpysis)

I liked the images so much that I asked me, how I could use them for Kites.

The first thought was to project the images with a slide projector on spinnaker and paint them.


But this wasn’t so easy, because the images are very filigree and they look better on a black background. The next thought was to print them on a transfer film and iron it on a cloth. But this was also not working: Spinnaker doesn’t like the heat, cotton is too heavy an silk is to soft. So the only possibility was paper. But paper with ink on wet grass or in rain?


There were a few tests necessary.


The first method was to vanish the paper. The whole thing was already quite waterproof. But I didn’t like the white back of the sails. So I have also printed a congruent image on the back of the paper. After this was successful, I have build a small paper kite and let it fly. But this was a huge disappointment. Against the bright sky the kite looked very dark. I couldn’t see much of the bright colours.


So I tried to print on transparent paper. But the smooth paper didn’t take the ink and the colours flew together. On the internet I found finally the idea to print on normal paper an make it after printing transparent with baby oil.


But there is no baby in my house at the moment and I don’t want to get oily fingers when I put the kites together. So I too linseed oil varnish. This oil is commonly used for treating wood and dries in a few days.


For testing I have oiled a half printing and hold it against the sky. It looked exactly how I wanted.

The oil has also cleared an other problem: now was a single side print enough, because the colours were also to see from the back.

Now only one question remained: The water resistance. So I dropped a bit water on a printing. The water wasn’t absorbed by the paper. This should bee enough for a contact with wet grass or a few drops of rain. But now I wanted to know more an put the half of a test piece for a few hours in water. After this it was a little bit brighter, but the image was still sharp. And generally I don’t fly my kites under water.

The next occurring problem was the weight.


Normal paper has already a weight of 80g/m² and with the oil it was heavier about the half. But after a short search I have found a 60g/m² printing paper. This is having also with the oil an acceptable weight an is very stable.


Meanwhile I had also got a fine old DinA3 printer and could now print larger sails.


So now it was almost nothing keeping back my kites.

Except for a tiny little problem:

There are no ready-made connectors for the linkage of my planed kites.

For these kites I needed something where I could stick 6-8 bars in, and this at different angles.


I had once again no other choice than to make them myself. So I took a wooden ball, put it in a vise and drilled holes. The angles were not very evenly, but this could be offset by tightening strings.

But with this method are only smaller kites possible because they can not be disassembled because of the many strings.

For a bit larger, demountable kites I needed more precise connectors. For this I had to build two drilling templates. It is really surprising for what you can use Lego bricks.

The angles were now evenly enough to work with only few tightening strings. Now the kites could be put together very easily. But only after I had attached color markings to the connectors, so that I have not to search every time which bar belongs in which hole.

Now I can finally build all the kites that I've devised.