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KITE MAKING

Poster from Artists Against Apartheid

WHY KITES?

Flying kites have long been a symbol of defiance and hope in Palestine. In 2011, 15,000 children in Gaza broke the world record for the largest number of kites flown simultaneously. 

On the 7th of December, writer, academic and poet Dr Refaat Alareer was murdered in a targeted attack. His last poem, “If I Die, You Must Live to Tell My Story,” used the image of a white kite. Since then, white kites have been used as a symbol of solidarity in protests globally.

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ON THE POWER OF KITES >>

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

HOW TO MAKE SMALL KITES

The designs and guide below are from the creative protest in New York organized by individual theatre-makers and FRIENDS OF THE FREEDOM THEATRE USA, NOOR THEATRE, AL LÍMITE COLLECTIVE, NATIONAL QUEER THEATRE, THEATRE OF THE OPPRESSED NYC and QUEERS FOR A LIBERATED PALESTINE.

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

MATERIALS

  • Two dowels or bamboo rods, one shorter than the other for the cross-beam

  • String or thin bendable wire

  • White or whatever colour fabric you like, light fabric that can hold paint

  • Strips of fabric for the tail and bows

TOOLS

  • Pliers

  • Scissors

  • Hot glue gun

  • Hot glue sticks

STEPS

  1. Cut one dowel/ stick shorter than the other, (depending on how big your kite is, will change the length) Ours were…

  2. Make a cross or X shape where you want the cross beam to be.

  3. Wrap the string or wire tightly around those two sticks where they cross.

  4. Use scissors or pliers to make a small indentation at each of the 4 points of the kite in order to give the string or wire a little notch to nestle into it.

  5. Begin to wrap the wire around one point in the notch.

  6. Then, use the long excess to wrap around the next point and keep wrapping around til you get back to where you started, then cut any excess.  *If you use wire, make sure it's tightly wound and no sharp edges are pointing out to stab anyone.  Pliers help to get a good wind.  You can also stick the end into the stick itself.

  7. Lay the skeleton of the kite onto your fabric and then trace around the edge, giving yourself an extra 1.5 inches or so to overlap and glue over the string.

  8. Paint your message onto the fabric before you attach it to the string.  

  9. Once it is dry, place it upside down and the kite on top.  Use your hot glue gun to squeeze out a line of glue on the inside of the wire and then carefully press the fabric over the wire with the glue.  You can use a piece of cardboard to press the fabric down onto the back to the fabric to avoid burning yourself.

  10. You can add a back layer of fabric, too, in order to have messaging in both directions so it can be read from multiple angles in the march.

  11. Add a strip of colourful fabric lined with bows onto the handle for the tail.

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

HOW TO MAKE A LARGE KITE

The designs and guide below are from the guerrilla festival organised by artists and cultural workers at the Barbican Centre London. A giant kite was created to mark the space and for kids and adults to write their message on.

Lets Us Speak

MATERIALS

  • Thread

  • Canvas material roughly 320cm by 400cm (see more below)

  • Spray paint

  • Pens

  • Ribbon

TOOLS

  • Sewing machine

  • Scissors

  • Thread

  • Tape measure

Let Us Speak
Screenshot 2024-03-25 at 22.30.41.png

STEPS

  1. The standard width for material in the UK is 160cm. In this case buy 160cm in width and 800 cms in length. Cut the material in two pieces of 400 cms and then use the sewing machine to make one large rectangle.

  2. On Side A mark a centre point at 160cm

  3. On Side B mark a point at 2/3ds of the way up at 250cm

  4. Between these points mark the sides of the kite

  5. Use the scissors to cut it out

  6. With the spare material cut small triangles

  7. Using the sewing machine to attach the triangles to the ribbon to complete the tail

  8. Using the sewing machine attach the tail to the kite

  9. Graffiti your message onto the kite

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