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How to Build and Fly a Box Kite

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

Box kites are known for their high lift. In fact, most of the altitude records for kite flying are held by large box kites. You can make this box kite with easy-to-find materials from your hardware or craft store. Lightweight materials will help it soar, even in a mild breeze.


  • Pocketknife
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Fine-toothed saw
  • 4 wooden dowels 1⁄4” x 36”
  • 4 wooden dowels 1⁄4” x 17”
  • 4 straws that can slide over 1⁄4” dowels
  • Household string
  • Carpenter’s glue
  • Duct or masking tape
  • Lightweight construction paper (You can also use 2 mil painter’s plastic cloth, newspapers, wrapping paper or plastic trash bags.) You will need two sheets of material 11” x 64”.
  • Kite string


1. Cut the 1⁄4” dowels to length. Use your pocketknife to carve a notch in each end of the 17” dowels. Notches at opposite ends of each dowel must be at the same angle to fit into the dowels they will cross.

2. Mark each 17” dowel halfway along its length at 8 1⁄2”. Turn notches in correct direction and tie two tightly together at the halfway point with household string. Soak the string with glue. After the glue dries, wrap the joints tightly with masking or duct tape. Make two of these crosspieces, which will hold the frame together.

3. Cut eight lengths of straw 4” long. Cut and fold each straw as shown. Slide the straws onto each 36” dowel. Use tape to hold the straws in position, 6” from the end of each dowel. Make sure both straws on each dowel are pointing in the same direction. Slide the crosspieces into the straws. Use tape to hold the whole thing together while you tie the joints tightly together with string, soak with glue and tape as in Step 2. This process will make a very sturdy frame for your kite. As an option, you can wrap a string around each end of the frame to add strength.

4. Tape and tightly wrap the 11” x 64” sheet material around the frame. Trim to length and tape in place.

5. Apply tape around the sheets on all edges.

6. Attach the kite string as shown, and you’re ready to fly.


Check out these photos of the completed project sent to us by Boys’ Life readers. If you have a photos of a BL Workshop project, please use the form below to send them to us.

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50 Comments on How to Build and Fly a Box Kite

  1. cewl l:

  2. Heavy

  3. Fat Freddie. // May 30, 2022 at 1:42 pm // Reply

    Thanks for the advice. I’m really looking forward to building my first box kite.

  4. I found that altering the 14inch measurement to 15 cm and the 22 inch measurement to 55cm made a huge difference and my box kite soared into the sky.

  5. What is the inside cross frame ratio if i want to make it 48″ long kite?
    Or could u plz told me the total frame ratio for 48″ long kite?

  6. What straws do you use and is balsa wood better.

  7. Very good

  8. Can you use sticks for the Dowling?

  9. If this doesn’t work we are going to have serious issues because this is for a college project

  10. King 👑 of the 🛀 bathroom // April 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm // Reply

    Very good kite for flying

  11. kites for lyfe // February 13, 2019 at 7:22 am // Reply

    The box kite was good idea but subpar in the kite community. According to kites International the string diagram should be more specific.

  12. I like turtles

    • Bodgit and scarper // July 21, 2019 at 2:19 pm // Reply

      It flew beautifully. I tried using bin liner but used wide clear tape overlapping round and round. It was probably the ugliest kite ever.

  13. i love hot wings

  14. Photo No This.

  15. I have built several box kites.
    They all have flown.
    I thought I had wasted my time too, but its the wind speed.

  16. Mine won’t fly either. I used a whole box of 16 penny nails putting it together and it’s too heavy. Next time I’ll try duct tape. Oh, wait…..

  17. At age 64 built and flew my first box kite as per your plans, it flew well.
    I attached 36″ bridle to dowel just below top paper and at base of lower paper,then attached kite string about 12″ from top of bridle. thanks!

  18. where is string attached ?

  19. The instructions are not crystal clear as to where the string is attached to the kite.

  20. My group and I built this kite for school. It was are final and it wont fly what do we do???

    • Anonymous // May 1, 2022 at 1:00 pm // Reply

      They are so clear as to where the kite string attaches you can’t miss it,go back and look until it becomes clear to you and if you don’t see it go back look again.

  21. it seems ok

  22. having trouble

  23. I wanted to know if this kite could actually fly. Please help im doing a school project.

  24. Can someone tell me the measurement of the kite after it done?

  25. Best guide for building a kite that will last a life time! You don’t need a tail on box kites

  26. how exactly am i supposed to attach the kite string?

  27. What if I add something else, will it fly

  28. If it is too heavy to fly what can I do ?

  29. Hi, I am building kites for school. Before I make this kite, I was wondering if it is very efficient and is light enough to fly 🙂

  30. Thank you for the very clear and easy to follow directions.

  31. Thank you for the info we will be building a box kite in one of my classes and this could really work:)

  32. this is nice

  33. Still gotta have a tail on all kites.

  34. terrible design.

  35. now i know how to build it

  36. i like chicken

  37. eaglescout17 // August 29, 2015 at 11:48 am // Reply

    my kite was too heavy to fly, I wasted a whole roll of duct tape making it, don’t waste your time.

  38. i don't want to put my nick name! // May 30, 2015 at 8:17 pm // Reply


  39. very easy to follow

  40. How can I add wings to this kite? It looks much nicer and it is a little more stable.

  41. Very good. I have built box kits before but these directions are simple and easy to follow thanks.

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