Recently, I went out to fly a kite and I began to toy with the idea of making one. The symmetry and cuteness of a raccoon face stuck with me as I thought about what kind of kite to make. I’ve written about raccoons before. I admire their cute little faces, their seclusion, and their tendency to fight like crazy when cornered (you can read, “5 Reasons Your Spirit Animal Might be a Raccoon” by clicking the button below). I carry a little raccoon figure with me, and photograph it from time to time (#rachaelraccoon). So a raccoon kite seemed fitting.
First, I used an old kite as a pattern, measuring and marking my pattern directly onto a light gray ripstop nylon (the same stuff that hot air balloons and parachutes are made from). It was surprisingly easy to find at a local fabric store. I picked up a yard of light gray, and 1/4 yard each of black, medium gray and white.
With two halves of my delta kite shape cut out, I did a quick sketch of how I wanted the kite to look. I wanted the most simplistic design elements to still convey the face of a raccoon.
Next, I made pattern pieces out of paper for my raccoon face and cut them out of their appropriate colors. Dark gray for ears and the triangle shape that runs between the eyes from the nose. A white ellipse for around the nose, and black eyes and nose.
I layed all of my pieces out on each half of the kite, just to check for scale and accuracy.
Then I began to applique the pieces into place with my sewing machine using a zigzag stitch. I created pockets for the necessary dowels and the two halves were sewn together, creating a complete face and a pocket for the center dowel. Final touches included sewing kite string and swivel hooks to the kite, similar to the kite I used as a pattern.
For the tail of the kite, I sewed alternating light gray, medium gray, and black nylon together.
It proved to be a fun project. Satisfying not only my desire to create, but my desire to incorporate a little whimsy into everyday life! The best part was taking it for a trial run. It was a sunny but cool afternoon, with unpredictable gusts of wind.
She flies beautifully! Flying a kite is a perfect way to spend an afternoon. I felt refreshed.I was outdoors, connected and interacting with nature. Catching the wind and watching my little dream take flight!