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Paper Bag Kites

Paper Bag Kites
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Children can create kites using grocery bags and paints.

By Andrea Mulder-Slater



  • Students will be directed to observe and discuss kites and how they fly (see further resources at the end of the art lesson).


  • Students will create a paper bag kite using mostly recycled materials.


  • Students will learn to appreciate the art created not only by them, but by others as well.

What You Need:

  • Large brown paper grocery bag (one per child)
  • Strong string
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • A number of paper ring reinforcement (the kind you use on paper in binders — from any office supply. You could also substitute masking tape).
  • School glue or paste
  • Paint (tempera, acrylic — whatever you have)
  • Crayons, markers, pencil crayons
  • Paper streamers or crepe paper that you can cut into strips
  • A few found objects (bits of paper, glitter, buttons — nothing too heavy)

What You Do:

  1. Begin by taking the hole punch and making four (4) holes in the top of the paper bag – one in each of the corners. Add paper ring reinforcements to the holes, or put a small piece of masking tape over the hole and poke through with a pencil. This will ensure that your holes don’t tear through.
  2. Next, cut two (2) lengths of string about 30″ each.
  3. Tie each end of the strings through a hole in the bag. The goal is to create two loops.
  4. Next, cut another piece of string — again around 30″. Loop this new piece of string through the two loops you created and tie in a knot. This piece of string will become the handle of your kite.
  5. You are now ready to decorate the paper bag kite using paint, markers or whatever else you desire. You can paint designs on the kite or turn the kite into a fish by adding eyes, gills and fins. You can glue different items to the kite but be sure not to load the kite down with heavy items — or it will have a hard time staying up in the air.
  6. Use paper streamers as kite tails and glue them to the bottom of the paper bag. You can make your own streamers by cutting crepe paper into strips. Another nifty streamer idea is to take plastic bags and cut them into strips.
  7. Once the glue and paint is dry, the kite can fly. Hold on tightly to the string handle and run so that the wind catches the kite. When the bag fills with air it will float and flutter behind you.
  8. As a variation, you can add a longer handle string to the kite so it will fly higher in the air.

Recommended Books:

25 Kites That Fly
by Leslie L. Hunt
Twenty-five basic kites are covered in great detail: standard two-stick kites; six-point stars; figural kites such as imps, fishermen, elephants, owls, shields, balloon kites; tetrahedral kites; various kinds of box kites with and without wings; really strong military kites, and many other varieties.

The Great Kite Book
by Norman Schmidt
Here are the instructions needed to build 19 different animal kites–from hawks to butterflies to peacocks to zebras

Funstation; Kites
by Susan Wardle
This new Funstation introduces kids to beautiful kites from around the world and through the ages, with tips on kite flying, kite making, and recommendations on general safety. The kit features one traditional crossbow kite, one kite handle, flying line and attachments, templates for tails and kite shapes, and stickers.

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