This weekend the 85th annual Zilker Kite Festival is happening in Austin, and I cannot contain my excitement.  That’s 85 years of colorful kites swooping and looping against the backdrop of this wonderful city.  My family will be there, and I hope yours will, too, because it is really a spectacular way to welcome spring in Austin.

Last year at the Zilker Kite Festival.

And if you don’t already have a kite, you can take advantage of the occasion to spend some creative time with your kiddos building your very own kite.  Even if your littles are too young to help out, there is still something magical about building a homemade kite.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Large sheet of paper
  • Twine or kite string
  • Strong tape and/or craft glue
  • Two 5/16” dowel rods (one 24”, one 36” in length)
  • Ribbon (for the tail)
  • Paints, markers, crayons (to decorate the kite)
Kite-making supplies.


  1. Parents only: Using a small saw or serrated knife, cut notches into each end of both dowels for the twine to slide through.
  2. Tie the dowels together with the twine, with the shorter dowel above the halfway point of the longer dowel (see photo).
  3. Pull the twine around each dowel end, making sure to slip it into each of the notches.  This will create the outline of your kite.

The kite frame.
  • Cut your paper a little larger than the kite outline.
  • Decorate the kite using the paints, markers or crayons.  I used watercolor because I thought it would be nice against the sun.

    Add some color!
  • Fold the edges of the kite over the twine outline and secure with tape or glue, making sure not to pull it too tight (the paper should be a little loose to allow the air to catch in the middle).
  • Reinforce the top and bottom corners of the kite with tape.  Poke two holes in each end for the string to go through.
  • Tie a length of string from top to bottom, and then attach your flying string about a third of the way from the top.
  • Use the ribbon to create a tail and attach it to the end of your kite with tape or glue.  Make the tail fairly long to add weight.  This is what helps the kite fly.  My tail was about 7 feet of thick ribbon.  (I don’t recommend glitter ribbon unless you like having glitter carpets, glitter furniture, glitter babies, etc…)
  • Go fly your kite!

    Our kite in action. It flies!


The Zilker Kite Festival kicks off at 10:00 AM on Sunday, and there will be shuttles running all day from free parking sites around town.  The schedule includes a kite-making workshop (in case you didn’t master it the first time), flying demonstrations, and impressive kite-flying competitions.  Plus all the delicious Austin trailer food you can eat!  A good time for the whole family!



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