see it clearly

Candle Kites

Candle kites are kites that use the hot air generated from at least one candle, which propels the kite into motion. Think hot air balloon, but on a much smaller scale. Candle kites rely on hot air that circulates in a small space. In order to fully understand how this works, it might be necessary to review the flight technology of hot air balloons.

Flight Technology

There are three components of a hot air balloon -- the envelope (this is the balloon part that withstands heated air), the gondola (this is the basket that holds the people who are riding), and the heat source (which in both a hot air balloon and a candle kite is an open flame.)

Now it is time to talk flight technology. When the hot air generated from the flame source meshes with the cooler air inside of the balloon or envelope, the warmer air will rise.

Scientifically, it is well known that hot air is lighter than cooler air. It is the hot air in conjunction with gravity that creates the buoyancy of the balloon. This buoyancy is what allows the balloon to rise. As long as there is hot air pressure in the balloon, buoyancy will ensue and the balloon will continue to rise.

This same premise applies to the candle kite. If you were to make one, you would see how similar it is to the hot air balloon regarding its flight technology.

How to Make Candle Kites

To make a candle kite, you need the following materials:

  • One clear plastic bag (the sort that you would get from the dry cleaners)
  • Two small wood sticks
  • Clear office tape (Scotch tape or a variation like it)
  • Several birthday candles
  • Matches or a lighter

The first thing to do when making candle kites is seal the bottom of the clear plastic garment bag. If you are holding the bag upright, you will notice the top of the bag has a small slit and the bottom of the bag flows open freely. Focus your attention on the bottom of the bag.

Now seal the bottom of the bag with tape. Next, take the two wooden sticks and make an “x.” Tape the sticks together and tape them into the small opening where the hangers usually come out of the bag.

Now, melt the wax from one of the birthday candles onto the sticks and immediately place the other unlit candles on the wax droppings. Do this immediately since the wax will dry quickly. The candles should be spaced just about one centimeter apart on the wood.

Flying Your Kite

You will need to go to an outdoor location – perhaps a driveway – and light all of the candles. Make sure that where you are standing is not a flammable zone. Assuming that you are doing this on the ground, you will want to hold the garment bag taut and away from the flames.

In a few moments, you should notice the heat rises up within the bag of your kite just as it does in a hot air balloon. As the heat rises, the bag will inflate. Once the bag is fully inflated, you can stop holding it taut and watch as it rises from the ground into the air. Sometimes the rising will happen slowly, however most often it can happen surprisingly quick. As you can see, a candle kite is much like a hot air balloon but on a much smaller scale, not to mention a candle kite is easier to make.