How To Build A Barn Door Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 2 of 3

The MBK 2-Skewer Barn Door

How To Build A Barn Door Kite
Making Spars 

For this Barn Door, you need...

6 bamboo BBQ skewers, 30cm (12") in length

2 short 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") lengths of skewer

2 short 0.25SL (7.3cm, 2 7/8") lengths of skewer

See the photo...

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - lengths of bamboo skewer required.

The photo below shows how the pieces of bamboo are all glued together. The skewers at the top of the photo form the horizontal spar. See how each tip is raised away from the table top. The short bits in the middle just lay flat against the table.

The other skewers form the 2 diagonal spars. These have all the bamboo lying flat against the table top.

To make sure there are no kinks at the joins, get your head down low and look along the spars. Shift one or 2 skewers a little, if necessary, before the glue dries!

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - gluing of skewer spars

How To Build A Barn Door Kite
Attaching Spars

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - attachment of bamboo to plastic
The 2-Skewer Barn Door - all spars attached
  • Snip off one point from one of the diagonal spars.
  • Line this end up with the top left corner of the kite sail, with the spar crossing the bottom right corner of the sail.
  • At the top left corner, attach the bamboo to the plastic with insulation tape. As in the photo over there.
  • At the bottom right corner of the sail, snip the spar to length and attach the tip to the plastic in the same way.
  • Do all the above steps again to tape the other diagonal spar in place, crossing over the first one.
  • Now lay down the horizontal spar across the left and right corners of the sail, so the middle join is centered over the crease line of the plastic bag.
  • Snip off the points of the skewers so the tips line up with the left and right corners of the sail, after they are folded up to meet the bamboo tips. Take your time - you don't want to snip off too much bamboo...
  • Tape the tips to the sail corners. The second photo up there shows the kite at this point.

How To Build A Barn Door Kite

Try this Kite Winder from Amazon, if you are not sure where to get suitable flying line. The 20 pound strength is ample for all the Skewer Series kites.

All the construction details for the bridle are contained in the large photo below. Look and read carefully, and you can't go wrong on this rather important bit! Just use 20 or 30 pound flying line for the bridle pieces.


If you are new to this, you might need instructions on how to tie the following knots...

(Double) Loop Knot
Double Wrap Slip Knot
Prusik Knot

TIP: Secure the slip knots around the bamboo with a blob of wood glue, so they can't loosen.

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - bridle detail


Once your kite + bridle looks like the photo up there...

Adjust the Prusik knot that is closest to the kite. It needs to be as close to center as possible.

Next, hold the short bridle line up so all the bridle lines are straight, with the kite laying flat on the table or floor.

Referring to the diagram below, shift the other Prusik knot to the shown position. It's not necessarily the perfect position for your individual kite, but it should at least fly on the first attempt!

Later, you can experiment with shifting the position away from the nose a little at a time to improve how high your kite flies in light wind. Alternatively, you can experiment with shifting the position towards the nose more, to help the kite cope better in very windy weather.

Bridle diagram for the 2-Skewer Barn Door kite.

How To Build A Barn Door Kite

Cut out a long rectangular piece of dark plastic for the tail. Black garbage bag plastic works well. Make it about 0.3SL (8.7cm, 3 1/2") wide and 12SL (350cm, 140") long.

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - attachment of loop tail.

Tie one end around one diagonal spar, and the other end around the other diagonal spar, as close as possible to the bottom tip in each case. See the photo on the right.

A single Half Hitch for each knot will do, since there are very low forces on the tail in flight.

Flying line attachment.

You can see the full length of the tail in the 'Flying' photo further down...

At this point, you've finished making the 2-Skewer Barn Door!

To attach the flying line, just Lark's Head the flying line to the short bridle line as in the photo.

Continue to page 3

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E-book special of the month (25% off)...

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) diameter Parasail kite. This kite performs well in gentle to moderate wind speeds. That's from 12 to 28 kph or from 8 to 18 mph. It pulls hard for it's size, so should not be flown by very small kids!

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 Parasail 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.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    MBK Octopus #2 Floats

    Apr 27, 17 02:40 AM

    I'm still getting used to how far forward the towing point has to be on 'fat' kites...

    First, it was the MBK Parafoil - the towing point needed to be level with the leading edge. Now, with the Octopus…

    Read More


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Wind Speeds

Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7