Material selection

Traditional Chinese kites are mainly made of paper and silk, while modern man-made fiber textiles or non-woven fabrics, plastic films and other new materials are also used.

1. Paper:

The paper used for pasting kites requires long fibers, toughness, thinness and lightness, small air permeability, good colorability, and small deformation due to temperature changes. The paper used in traditional Chinese kites is mostly hand-made long fiber paper, such as cotton paper, leather paper, rice paper, elegant paper, and Korean paper. There are many machine-made papers used in modern times, such as Wenzhou machine-made paper, Mino paper, oil-sealed paper, capacitor insulation paper, etc.. The choice of paper depends on the size of the kite, its parts, flight conditions, coloring requirements and many other factors, among which the size of the kite is the main factor.

Generally, the smaller the kite, the thinner and softer the paper. For example, some small kites need to use high-strength leather paper, Koryo paper, etc., while the paper used in large kites must be mounted together in several layers.

2. Silk material:

Silk is a kind of very thin textile, light weight, high strength, and good coloring performance. It is a common mask material for traditional Chinese kites, but it is very costly and not suitable for beginners. Now there are some textiles that are thinner than silk with man-made fibers, such as power spinning (insulation spinning) and foreign spinning***. They are lighter than silk, with higher strength and less air permeability. Therefore, spinning is often used instead of woven silk in making traditional Chinese kites. To apply the kite with textiles, most of them need to go through pre-treatment, that is, soak it with a mixture of glue and /or Gutta-percha solution or else. Afterwards drying it and iron it before use. This has two effects. One is to reduce the air permeability; the other is to be easily colored when painting, and the color will not bleed. In addition, the silk treated with alum is also stiffer, not as soft as untreated.

The traditional formula ratio of colloidal pre-tratment solution is gum (Gutta-percha) 2, alum (
potassium aluminium sulfate) 1, and water 36. If no Gutta-Percha is available, you might traditionally use bone glue. That is, 20 grams of bone glue, 10 grams of alum, and 360 grams of water are heated and dissolved into a liquid. But some kites are masked with "raw" silk that has not been treated with alum. Another special effect.

3. Composite materials:

Traditional large kites often use composite materials to cover, that is, use tissue paper or leather paper to hold the silk. This material has high strength, good airtightness, and good colorability, and has performances that can not be matched by paper and silk.

4. New material:

The above-mentioned traditional Chinese kite masking materials have two major shortcomings: one is that they are not water-resistant, the color fades when they get wet, and the mask is damaged. The second is the poor strength, unable to withstand the test of strong wind or high-speed flight. I remember one time when the author flew a traditional Chinese giant phoenix butterfly kite at a kite show abroad. The wind speed on the ground exceeded level 5, and the wind at high altitude was even greater. I took this kite in half an hour later. Its wings and tail were all It was torn into strips, and the nylon silk kite of foreigners was safe. In order to solve this problem, we should consider the application of new materials. Here nylon silk, brocade silk, non-woven fabric and plastic film are all good materials. They have good air-tightness and are not afraid of water. The first three are far stronger than paper and silk. There are many varieties of plastic film, some are extremely thin, and the weight is only 1/10 of tissue paper. But it also brings new problems, such as coloring and gluing can not be used new methods. Questions in this regard will be discussed later in "pasting" and "painting".

And more serious: if using New Materials, the kite is obviously no longer a genuine "Traditional Chinese Kite".

"power spinning fabrics" are spun silk woven from mulberry silk (see mulberry cocoons), but not using traditional pedal-operated weaving stands



Copyright 2002 ff: Hans P. Boehme