How to Decorate a Wau Kite
Decorating With Wau Kites is a Kick!
Wau Kites just look happy. I first saw them decorating the walls, when I went out to eat at a Malaysian restaurant. I immediately incorporated variations on the shapes I saw, in my oil paintings.
My kite decorating classes have fully engaged participants of all ages. Artists will want to use art materials, including heavy specialty papers, but may incorporate some of the same techniques of stamping.
For kids especially, this is a fun project that can be returned to again and again.
photo credit: this is my photo. All Rights Reserved. No Use Permitted.
What's a Wau Kite?
The name wau kite comes from the shape of the kite. They originated in traditionally muslim countries, like this one, from Malaysia.
The Arabic letter wau (pronounced like its English alphabet cousin, the w, has a shape that would fit into one half of a vertically divided wau kite.
It's shape most closely resembled an English number 9, as in Comic Sans font. So, two nines, set back-to-back, with the tails at the bottom, resemble two wau's in the same positions.
Although ancient kites were used as tools, for fishing, or to make geometric measurements, these wau kites are strictly decorative.
In Malaysia one commonly sees such kites adorning both private homes and shops and public buildings.
Picture These Decorative Wau Kites
Gorgeous Kites in Malay Kite Shop
Easy decorative project for adults and kids. I've taught this project to college students as well as to elementary school kids. Enthusiasm always runs rampant!
Sled Kite Kits
I used the sled kite shape for a class I taught on making wau kites. I simply drew the wau shape and the students were free to paint the outer borders as they liked. So they were wau kites on sled kite shapes.
Wau Kite in My Oil Painting
Soon after I first saw a Wau Kite, I added the image to my artwork. I continue to include some variation on this shape to my artwork. This painting is named White Heart.
Wau Kite Making Directions
How to Decorate a Wau Kite
1. Assemble materials:
- Butcher paper or Tyvek, markers, crayons
- Tempera or acrylic paint, and liquid soap
- Stencils and foam stencil daubers
- Design stamps
- Cereal box or foam craft sheet
2. Tape butcher paper or Tyvek sheet to table
3. Trace kite outline with marker
4. Add couple drops soap to small dish of paint
- Gently mix w/popsicle stick
5. Dip stamp into paint in dish
- Stamp design onto kite
- Repeat or redip stamp into paint or wipe stamp clean with a wet rag
6. Tape stencil over desired area of kite
- Touch dauber into dish of paint.
- Daub over stencil designRepeat with same or different color paint
7. Dip wide paintbrush in paint
- Stroke paint onto kite
- Once paint dries it can be painted over w/contrasting color, or stamps
8. Dip damp sponge shape into paint
- Stamp design onto kite, using gentle pressure
- Redip sponge into paint, continue stamping
- Rinse sponge shape in bucket of water
9. Layer design shapes over entire kite shape
- Cut out! Cut cardboard piece the same size as kite body.
- Use double stick tape to attach decorated kite sheet to the front of optional backing sheet. Alternatively, if you use paper, rather than Tyvek, to make the kite, you may glue the backing sheet to the paper kite.
- Cut and tie tail decorations from ribbon, yarn, or plastic bags.
- Hang on wall with poster putty!
- A second option is to use a think shish-ka-bob stick to stiffen the back of the kite, prior to hanging.
Kite Shape on Green
This is my take on one of many variations on the wau kite shape. Feel free to vary your own kite profile.
I made the triangle spot at the top to mimic the typical fringy flag or tassel that often adorns the top of the kite. Matching tassels also stream from the outside points of the top section.
Did you know that tails and tassels actually play a role in stabilizing kites!
Optional Stabilizer for Back of Kite
- Use shish-ka-bob skewer, taped to kite back, to stabilize the kite
- Use packing tape for permanency. Using this method makes hanging easy
- Loop thread or fishing line under the skewer, near the top. Hang the kite by placing the loop over a small nail or picture hanger
- Hang the kite by placing the loop over a small nail or picture hanger
Styles of Wau Kites
Kites With a Variation on Wau Kites
The kids showed off their kites prior to cutting them to shape.
Make My Kite or Some Variations
Questions & Answers
© 2012 lesliesinclair