Barn Door Kite Plans
For All The MBK Barn Doors
These Barn Door kite plans and hints are aimed at summarizing the more in-depth instructions to be found in the How To Make A Kite section of this website.
Take a look at this Dowel Barn Door in flight...
NOTE: Video views from this website don't appear to be counted.
For each of the Barn Door plans below, there are also a pair of plan view photos. The one on the left is of the front surface. That is, the side of the kite which faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.
For all 3 designs, attach flying line to the bridle with a
shiftable knot, for later trimming. Also, all 3 designs work well with
light single-ply plastic for sail material. Many large plastic bags are
This Stake Line Winder
from Amazon doesn't have any equivalent in your local supermarket. It's great stuff for kites and the strength is a good compromise for all the designs on this page.
Dowel Barn Door Kite Plans
Plan View Photos
Tips And Hints
- For a dowel length of 120cm (48"), 5mm (3/16") dowel works well.
- Reinforce the sail edges by adding nearly the full width of clear
sticking tape inside the outline, then trimming back to the outline.
- Secure the sail to each spar end using 2 short lengths of electrical
insulation tape. One length goes over and around the tip, the other at
90 degrees to the first tape, with corners folded back under the sail.
- For the upper bridle loop and lower bridle lines, try lengths about 1.5 times the length of the horizontal spar.
- At the bridle attachment points, a Single-wrap Slip Knot should be
sufficient, secured with a spot of glue. For this design, they also
serve to lash the spars together.
- No tail is required for this kite.
The photo below shows our very first Dowel Barn Door, which was later
improved in several ways. However, both versions looked very similar
from a distance since the sail shape was unchanged.
A rather versatile and reliable kite when trimmed correctly
2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plans
Plan View Photos
Tips And Hints
Out In The Field
Barn Door kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!
Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.
- Reinforce the join in the middle of each diagonal spar with a length of skewer, 0.25SL (7.3cm, 2 7/8") long, glued to one side of the join as in the plan.
- Reinforce the join in the middle of the horizontal spar with 2
lengths of skewer, 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") long, glued to each side of
the join as in the plan. The short pieces of bamboo stay flat on the
- Reinforce the sail edges by adding clear sticking tape over the outlines, then trimming back to the outlines.
- Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of electrical insulation tape.
- Try a length of bridle line about 2.0SL (58cm, 23") long, to tie
between the 2 upper attachment points - in each case use a single-wrap
slip knot, secured with a spot of glue.
- Use another a length of bridle line about 2.0SL (58cm, 23"), to tie between the upper bridle loop and the lower attachment point.
- For a start, try making a single tail about 12SL (350cm, 140") long,
with each end tied to the bottom end of a diagonal spar, forming a
The photo below shows this latest 2-Skewer Barn Door, with its loop tail of black garbage bag plastic.
A looped tail is compact but does the job really well
1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plans
Plan View Photos
Tips And Hints
- 30 cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers work well as spars. I work with 1SL = 29cm (11 1/2")
- Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of clear sticky tape.
- After cracking the bamboo to get the dihedral angle, use a generous drop of wood glue to hold the dihedral angle firmly.
- Use drops of wood glue to secure the skewers where they cross each other.
- Try a length of bridle line about the length of one skewer, tied to
the middle of the horizontal spar. Let half hang out the front of the
sail, and the other half out the back. Secure with a small drop of glue.
The kite can now be easily included in a kite train.
- For a start, try making a single tail about 6 times as long as a
skewer, with each end tied to the bottom end of a diagonal spar, forming
- Add a couple of strips of clear sticky tape all along the trailing
edge of the sail. The extra weight here makes the kite more stable.
Little Barn Doors need plenty of dihedral
I hope one of these Barn Door kite plans is just right for you!
As mentioned earlier, this Stake Line Winder
from Amazon is a good compromise, in terms of line strength, for all the designs on this page.
E-book special of the month (25% off)...
e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 119 cm (4 ft) wide
Parachute kite. It's not quite that wide in the air since the
canopy takes on a distinct curved shape when inflated. This 14-cell
kite performs best in moderate to fresh wind speeds. That's 20 to
38 kph or 13 to 24 mph. In gentle winds, this kite will hang in
the air at fairly low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls
firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while
Every kite design in
the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...
- Materials are
plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
- Tools are a ruler,
scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
- All cuts are
along straight lines.
For the greatest chance
of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For
example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line
type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough,
since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small
differences from my original.
Get the e-book for making the MBK Parachute kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.
The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.
Aug 16, 17 06:00 AM
This previously published page is full of general info on this type of kite, including some history. With a video clip and a good photo, it's worth checking out...
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