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Types of Kites

  • Single-Surface Kites   ( 1 Article )

    Single-surface kites have a sail that is in one geometric plane; such as flat or bowed kites.  Single-surface kites may have a keel. Kites in this category include: diamond, Eddy, Malay, Rokkakus, Edo, star, barn door, English arch type, fighter, Sode, butterfly, Hata, cocktail napkin kites, paper-cut figure kites and many more. Single-surface kites are rigid, either because the sail material itself is rigid or because there is a frame connected to the sail to provide the rigidity.


    This is the most prevalent type of kite; especially when looking at miniature kites. Variations run the gambit from extremely easy to challenging to construct. This kite is easy to customize and create infinite variations.

  • Multi-Surface Kites   ( 1 Article )

    Multi-surface or dimensional kites have sails in more than one geometric plane which provide lift to the kite. Multi-surface kites are thus three-dimensional. Like single-surface kites they are rigid in form. Kites of this type include box, cellular, facet, tetrahedral, Cody and their variations.


    Multi-surface kites are challenging to make as miniatures because small variations in constructions can create catastrophic issues with flight.  Also, the weight of the three-dimensional frame to the overall size of the kite can be problematic to do in miniature. 

  • Dynamic-Surface Kites   ( 1 Article )

    Dynamic-surface kites are kites in which wind is an integral part of the structure of the kite. Unlike single-surface or multi-surface kites which are completely rigid, dynamic-surface kites get part or all of their shape from the air pushing against the sail. Kites in this category include: delta, sled, parafoil, Rogallo and Chinese dragon kite. The shape and apparent dimensions of these kites change when the wind pushes on it and the sail becomes three-dimensional. These kites all have flexible sections or soft sails, which the wind inflates or extends to make it taunt.  They may or may not have framing pieces depending on the type.


    This is the least popular type of kite to be made into miniatures. They can be difficult to fly indoors using a flying stick as they require a constant flow of wind in order to hold the proper shape. Frequently when made as miniatures the sail material is on the stiff side and shaped to at least partially hold the proper shape even without wind. Complicated multiple bridles required for parafoils, Rogallos and Chinese dragons are extremely challenging in small sizes, as is the cell structure of a parafoil. Displaying dynamic-surface kites is also a challenge as the kites can look very different when not in flight.

  • Hybrids and other anomalies   ( 4 Articles )

    Sometimes there are kites that blur the line between categories. 

    What of delta-Conyne or delta-box?  These kites have a rigid center section and delta wings that are shaped by the wind in flight. 

    While traditional delta kites are dynamic-surface kites, the modern sport kite has standouts which make the sail completely taunt to hold the shape of the kite fixed, instead of letting the wind effect the shape of the sail. Thus the modern sport-kite is a multi-surface kite instead of dynamic-surface kite. There are other delta derivatives that qualify as single-surface kites.

    Is the Chinese dragon really a dynamic-surface kite or a single-surface stack of kites? 


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Tip of the week
1/16th inch hole punches work great for punching bridle holes in small kites.  Check the scrap-booking section of your local craft store to purchase one.