By Dan Beard
Skeleton and Frame of Man Kite.
To make this kite you will require four sticks, some rattan and some paper.
In regard to his size, I would suggest that the larger the man is, the better he
will fly. Now let us suppose you are going to make this fellow four feet high.
First, cut two straight sticks three feet nine inches long; these are to serve
for the legs and body; cut another straight stick two and one-half feet in
length for the spine, and a fourth stick, three feet five inches long, for the
arms. For the head select a light piece of split rattan--any light, tough wood
that will bend readily will do--bend this in a circle eight inches in diameter,
fasten it securely to one end of the spine by binding it with strong thread,
being careful that the spine runs exactly through the center of the circle (Fig.
Next find the exact center of the arm stick, and with a pin or small tack
fasten it at this point to the spine, a few inches below the chin (Fig. 2).
After wrapping the joint tightly with strong thread, lay the part of the
skeleton which is finished fat upon the floor, mark two points upon the
arm-sticks for the shoulder-joints, each seven inches from the intersection of
the spine and arm stick, which will place them fourteen inches apart. At these,
points fasten with a pin the two long sticks that are to serve for the body and
legs (Fig. 3).
Now cross these sticks as shown in diagram, being careful that
the terminations of the lower limbs are at least three feet apart; the
waist-joint ought then to be about ten inches below the arm-stick. After taking
the greatest pains to see that the arm-stick is perfectly at right angles with
the spine, fasten all the joints securely. Upon the arms bind oblong loops of
rattan, or of the same material as the head-frame. These hand-loops ought to be
about three inches broad at their widest parts, and exact counterparts of each
The loops for the feet must approach as nearly as possible the shape of
feet, and these, too, must be exactly alike, or the kite will be
"lopsided," or unequally balanced. Now cut two others four inches long
for bottoms of trousers (Fig. 4); fasten the two latter near the ends of the
leg-sticks, as in the illustration. The strings of the frame must next be put
on, as shown by the dotted lines (Fig. 5). Commence with the neck, at equal
distances from the spine, and about seven inches apart; tie two strings to the
arm-sticks; extend these strings slantingly to the head, and fasten them to the
hoop, one on each side of the spine, and about five inches apart. Take another
thread and fasten to the top of cross-stick of right arm, pass it over and take
a wrap around the spine, continue it to top of cross-stick upon left arm, and
there tie it.
Fasten another string to bottom of cross-stick on right arm, draw
it tight and wrap it on spine four inches below intersection of arm-stick, pass
it on to the bottom of cross-stick on left arm, draw taut and fasten it. Tie the
body-string at the right shoulder-joint, drop the thread down to a point exactly
opposite the termination of spine upon the right leg, take a wrap, and draw the
line across to point upon left leg exactly opposite, bind it there , then bring
it up to left shoulder-joint and tie it. For the trousers fasten a string at a
point on right arm-stick, eleven inches from the intersection of spine, extend
it down in a straight line to inside end of cross-stick of left limb and fasten
it there. Tie another string at a point one inch and a half to the left of spine
upon right arm-stick, extend it down in straight line to outside end of
cross-stick of left limb through the same process for right leg of trousers, and
the frame-work will be complete.
For the covering of a kite of this size I have always used tissue paper; it
is pretty in color and very light in weight. Paste some sheets of tissue paper
together, red for the trousers, hands and face, blue for the coat, and black, or
some dark color, for the feet. Use paste made of flour and water boiled to the
consistency of starch, or your own favorite glue. Put the paste on with a small
bristle brush, make the seams or over-laps hardly more than one-fourth of an
inch wide, and press them together with a soft rag or towel; measure the paper
so that the coat will join the trousers at the proper place.
When you are
satisfied that this is all right, lay the paper smoothly on the floor and place
the frame of the kite upon it, using heavy books or other weights to hold it in
place. Then with a pair of scissors cut the paper around the frame, leaving a
clear edge of one-half inch, and making a slit in this margin or edge every six
or seven inches and at each angle; around the head these slits must be made
about two or three inches apart to prevent the paper from wrinkling when you
commence to paste. With your brush cover the margin with paste one section at a
time, turn them over and with the towel or rag press them down. After the kite
is all pasted and dry, take a large paintbrush, and with black marker, put in
the buttons and binding on coat with a good broad touch. The face and hair must
be painted with broad lines, so that they may be seen clearly at a great height.
Follow this rule whenever you have to use paint upon any kind of kite.
The breast-band, or belly-band," of the man kite should be arranged in
the same manner as it is upon the common hexagonal or coffin-shaped kite with
which all American boys are familiar; but for fear some of my readers may not
quite understand I will try and tell them exactly how to do it. First, punch small holes through the paper. One upon each side of the leg-sticks just above
the bottom of the pants, and one upon each side of the arm-stick at the
shoulders. Run one end of the breast-band through the holes at the bottom of the
left limb and tie it fast to the leg stick; tie the other end at the right
Take another string of the same length as the first and fasten one end
in the same manner at the bottom of the right leg, pass the string up, crossing
the first band, and tie the end at the left shoulder. Attach your kite string to
the breast-band where the two strings intersect in such a manner that you can
slide the kite-sting up or down until it is properly adjusted. For the
tail-band, tie a string (to the leg-sticks) at the bottom of the breast-band and
let it hang slack from one leg to the other. Attack the tail to the center of
Boy's Handy Book