The sky's the limit with a papercraft kite

Crafter Emma Howcutt-Kelly explains how to make a colourful homemade kite with a Canon PIXMA printer and Creative Park.
A mother and her young son attempt to fly a pretty papercraft kite in their leafy back garden. Both are smiling happily.

Now summer is here, why not challenge yourself with a craft project to create a handmade kite to fly in the park, or take on a family picnic or trip to the beach?

An affordable, fun and plastic-free alternative to traditional kites, building a papercraft kite can also act as a mindful experience, and be an opportunity for the family to spend time together, with older children helping younger siblings.

Crafter Emma Howcutt-Kelly and her wife Clare have always enjoyed crafting and making things. "It's relaxing and gives you a sense of achievement," says Clare. "Paper is a versatile material too and it's easy to rip it up and start again if you go wrong."

Emma found a simple how-to video online detailing the process of crafting a paper kite at home with a few everyday household items. Find out how Emma, Clare and their young son got on, and discover top tips for making your own unique papercraft kite.

You will need

Creative Park app (or website)
Canon PIXMA printer, such as the Canon PIXMA TS5350a Series
Canon Matte Photo Paper
• Ruler
• Scissors
• Glue stick, glue gun, glue dots or sticky tape
• String, twine or ribbon
• Paper straws or wooden sticks for the frame

1. Select your templates

A pair of hands holding a smartphone showing the tropical birds pattern paper template from Creative Park.

You'll need some pattern paper to form the main structure of your kite and there are lots of options on Creative Park, including colourful geometric prints and bold floral designs.

A sheet of paper with tropical birds and leaves printed on it emerges from a Canon PIXMA printer.

After choosing their favourite design, Emma and her family printed the template from a smartphone using the Canon Creative Park app and a PIXMA printer.

Whether your child is obsessed with butterflies or dinosaurs, you can find a whole host of patterns for making a papercraft kite on Canon's Creative Park website or app.

The family selected pattern paper with a tropical bird design which they printed on a PIXMA printer. "It only took one sheet of paper and we were really happy with the result," says Emma.

Emma found the colours on the PIXMA printer inks to be really bold. "The colours are incredible," she adds. "It's amazing how you can create these things at home. As an illustrator, it will be great to use it to create prints for my clients."

2. Fold, stick and assemble

A pair of hands can be seen cutting wooden sticks to form the base of a homemade paper kite.

To create the main framework for your kite, you could use disposable chopsticks, straws, cardboard or sticks from the garden.

A woman sitting at a blue table uses a pair of scissors to cut a piece of paper with tropical birds and leaves on it into the shape of a kite.

As well as a great decoration for a child's bedroom, a papercraft kite could also make a thoughtful present for a sibling or school friend.

Once you have printed your patterned paper it's time to pull up your crafting sleeves and make a frame for your paper kite using paper straws, cardboard or even sticks from the garden.

You will need a shorter piece for the horizontal support and a longer piece for the vertical. Line up your frame up in a t-shaped cross on the reverse of your pattern paper, ensuring the supports are as straight as possible. Fix the frame together and attach to the paper with a glue gun, glue dots or sticky tape and allow to dry fully before continuing.

Emma and Clare said attaching the sticks correctly was the hardest part of making the paper kite – but there is no set template for this, so give it a go and see what you can produce.

Once she had her completed cross-shaped structure, Emma trimmed the excess paper with scissors, before folding over the edges and glueing down. Again, leave to dry fully.

Now it's time to add the tail. Emma attached a piece of string to the crossbar of the frame, securing it at either end to make a loop. She then attached another piece of string to the loop, ensuring it was long enough to fly the kite.

You can make your kite as big or as small as you like, simply by making a larger frame or sticking together more pieces of patterned paper for your sail.

3. Add finishing touches

A pair of hands can be seen using a glue gun to attach strands of pink and purple ribbon to the bottom of a papercraft kite.

For the trailing tail on her kite, Emma added strands of ribbon, which she attached with a glue gun. As well as adding an extra flourish to your project, this is a great way of using up excess craft materials or old gift wrapping.

A young boy runs across a lawn pulling a papercraft kite on a string behind him. His head is turned towards the camera and he is smiling broadly.

Emma and Clare's son really enjoyed running in the garden with the papercraft kite. As well as an indoor crafting activity, this is also a great way to get children out into the fresh air trying out their creations.

To make your papercraft kite unique, you could decorate with paint, glitter or felt tips. This is a great way of getting your children involved and adds an extra element of fun to your craft project, especially if your little ones love arts and crafts.

You could even add a trailing element to the top point of your diamond-shaped kite using printed elements from this Creative Park feather mobile to add a touch of flair.

Emma and Clare personalised their kite with sparkly ribbon. "It clashed a bit with the paper pattern, but we thought it looked cute," says Emma.

Once dry, you can put the kite to the test and fly it in your garden, at the park or at the beach. Throw it into the air with one hand holding the string to ensure you prevent it flying away, then start running and your kite should trail behind you. When not in use, it makes a summery piece of bedroom decor.

Emma is already planning the family's next papercraft kite project, adjusting the design slightly to help it fly better. "There wasn't much wind on the day, so we will try again when there is," she says. "I'd like to make a much bigger one next time with a larger – and prettier – tail.

"We loved the chance to do something totally different," she continues. "You can get obsessed with printing though, and suddenly look around and realise you're surrounded by paper creations!"

Tamzin Wilks

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