Public Lab Research note

Chinese kite factory

by shanlter | June 23, 2016 14:32 23 Jun 14:32 | #13235 | #13235

I happened to pass Weifang, which is one of Chinese Kite's birthplace. The old Weifang kite factory is located in a very large and well designed garden, I spent one day to explore :)


(A big dragon head frame)


It said that the first kite made in Weifang is in 1369, and becomes very popular around 18, 19 centuries. The bloom of Weifang kite was largely because of its wood painting tradition. People used the spared painting materials to make kite, and attached bells to kite. It became a main entertainment, also art at that time.

Different Kites Types

  • Plate kite: relatively easy to make



  • Hard fin: the fins normally are "U" shape, easy to hold the wind


  • Soft wing: when it flies, the wings (and/or bodies) will shake


  • Cylinder: it will spin with the wind, to make more fun.


  • Stunt kite: with some special effects


  • String type: A string of small kites or accessories, “Dragon centipede” is the most famous among its kind. Some are as long as hundreds meters.



How to make a kite

1.Framework: select bamboo between 2-3 years old, cut, toast and curve it, connect small pieces together. Butterfly kite for example: Small piece of wood after toasting



Cut one small piece into two, with the end part connected, in order to pair.


Use glue and claps to make the body, according to scratch.



A wing is made


2.Drawing and paste: select soft, thin, light material, soak with warm water, paste the fabric to the bamboo frame, then draw it. (Or draw first, then paste)



some interesting drawings


3.Fly and adjust: different kite requires different string technique. For example, the angle between two strings. experience handicraft man will adjust the tie skills according to kite and wind.

The flying ground inside the kite factory


Kite workshops



Such a nice place!


Do you have any more details about the bending? is the bamboo toasted with a heat gun before or during bending around that form?

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I am not sure with the big piece of bamboo. In that workshop, small piece of bamboo is toasted with spirit lamp (the old one showed in the picture), during bending around that form.

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Hi @shanlter! I'm planning a visit to Weifang and I'd LOVE to visit this place, do you remember the factory name? Your photos are beautiful!

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Hi @emilyfis, I visit your website, your kites are so pretty!!! The place I visited is called 杨家埠民间艺术大观园(Weifang Grand View of Folk Art Park),they has a english website here: You might need to take some time to find the craftsmen, they are hidden somewhere :) Wish you have a pleasant journey in China!!

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Also, I hope these video on kites tradition will help you. @emilyfis

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