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If you are a first-time customer of our sled kite building materials, here are some helpful hints to make your workshop as successful as possible. First, get some scotch tape dispensers, (¾"), assemble your helpers, and practice making these kites in advance. We find that after you have made several, you should be able to crank out kites at a rate of about one in five minutes, exclusive of art work. If you plan on making these kites one at a time at a festival, give yourself lots of table space and lots of volunteer helpers. If you are building them as a class project, in a more controlled environment, you should be able to teach a 20-25 student class, third grade and older, how to build these step-by-step in about 30 minutes. Allow more time for art work, and lots of helpers for younger kids.
If at all possible, try to make these kites indoors. Outdoors, wind whipping the plastic around makes it harder. If you must make them outdoors, try to operate with a windbreak of some sort: in a tent with side walls, in the shelter of some building or structure, or at least downwind of an RV or van.
If kids are 8 or older, a helper can tape one stick down on a sail and then let the child do the other side. Likewise, attach one end of the bridle string to one side and let the child do the same on the other side. If the child is younger, you will need to do both sticks and bridle string for them, perhaps letting them press the tape down more firmly. Now let the child, whatever age, do tracing and/or art work on the taped down kite while you do other steps for the kids at adjacent work stations. This will keep a helper hopping! You will feel it in the small of your back after several hours. After a child has finished art work, add tail, remove the kite from the table, tie the loop in the bridle string, attach the flying line to the loop, and send them out. NEXT!
The most common mistakes made on this kite by untrained helpers involve the bridle string. It MUST be properly attached to the sides of the kite all the way to the points on each side, it MUST be at least 60 inches long, (four times stick lengths), and the loop MUST be in the exact center. That means the loop can't be tied in advance, only after the bridle is attached to the kite.
“It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But it's worth it. These kites fly beautifully, and people will be amazed at how easily.”
It is much better to fly in small group, rather than a mass ascension of lots of kites. Tangles are inevitable. If you figure out a way to keep the kids spread out so they don't get tangled, let us know. But, when two kite lines DO get tangled, the cure is for the fliers to slowly move together on the ground. This will cause the cross in the lines to move down to them – standing with their winders adjacent to each other they can figure out how to uncross them.
Don't be impatient to fly the kites as soon as they are built. IF the weather's nice, fine. But if it's blowing really hard, wait for a calmer day.
Good Winds - Richard Dermer