How To Build Kites

3 Simple Kites For Adults Or Big Kids!

If you want to know how to build kites, you are at the right place. These 3 super simple kites are quick and easy, yet fly really well.

To give you some choice while still keeping things simple, I have chosen to do a Diamond, a Delta and a Sled. Don't worry, the Delta is very basic!

Here's the Diamond, in the photo...

The MBK Simple Diamond kite in flight on a perfect day.

As well as instructions, these pages feature a short video of each kite in flight.

It's motivating to see the end result floating about in the sky! Even though you're learning how to build kites in a very quick and easy way.

Download a free kite-making e-book!

Plus an amazing bonus.

Click for more info...

Each kite is sized so that it should fit comfortably into the boot (trunk) of even a fairly small car. Or, someone in the back seat could hang on to it.

At the same time, these designs are big enough so you don't feel you are flying a 'small kite for kids'!

That's right, these designs are aimed at adults or teenagers. Mainly because in moderate wind they might be too much for a small child to handle. Children over 8 years old should have enough strength though.

A close-up of the MBK Simple Diamond kite in flight.

The MBK Simple Diamond Kite.

Construction time: less than 30 minutes.

The second outing with the kite pictured resulted in a good high flight at around 200 to 300 feet altitude.

Another outing with this kite saw it soaring to over 350 feet in perfect winds, under an overcast sky.

A close-up of the MBK Simple Delta kite in flight.

The MBK Simple Delta Kite.

Construction time: less than 90 minutes.

After a few outings in overly windy conditions, the Delta finally had a good high flight in better weather.

Months later, we pulled the Delta out again for some delightful flying after gusty winds smoothed out.

The MBK Simple Sled Kite.

Construction time: less than 40 minutes.

The very first outing with the kite pictured was a great success!

Quite a few months later, the Simple Sled performed admirably in strong thermal conditions on a cloudy Spring day.

The second outing with the Diamond kite pictured resulted in a good high flight at around 200 to 300 feet altitude. Another outing with this kite saw it soaring to over 350 feet in perfect winds, under an overcast sky.

After a few outings in overly windy conditions, the Delta finally had a good high flight in better weather. Months later, we pulled it out again for some delightful flying after gusty winds smoothed out.

The very first outing with the Sled kite pictured was a great success! Quite a few months later, this same Sled performed admirably in strong thermal conditions on a cloudy Spring day.

The materials and tools for making these kites are very easy to find and cheap to buy. In fact, you'll probably find most of them around the house somewhere.

If you're curious, I've also put together a page on the reasons why it's a good idea to make your own kite.

Chances are, you've already checked out how to build kites using the Simple Diamond instructions up there. However, is the methodical step-by-step approach your style? Instead, you might enjoy a basic kite making discussion that gives free rein to your creativity and craft skills!

How To Build Kites To Suit YOU

Here are the strong points of these kite designs...

The Diamond kite is super-reliable in flight, even if you don't make it perfectly. The long tail keeps it pointing into the wind, even when the wind is fairly fresh.

The Delta kite will perform much better than the other 2. In other words, it will spend a lot of time at a steep line angle. Sometimes right over your head, if it encounters any rising air on a warm day!

The Sled kite is the most convenient to take anywhere. The kite simply rolls up, takes very little space and is unlikely to be damaged in transit.

Here are the weak points of these kite designs...

The Diamond flies at a modest line angle most of the time. And that long tail can get caught in things if you aren't careful.

The Delta won't tolerate strong or even fresh winds. Too much wind will cause it to become unstable, and even break in extreme cases.

The Sled doesn't like the rough air near ground level. Unless you fly it at a beach, you might find it needs to get well above tree height before it really starts behaving itself and flying reliably.

But these are minor problems! After learning how to build kites from the instructions here and getting a little flying practice, you'll soon learn to cope one way or another. I've just mentioned the pro's and con's here to give you a better idea of which design might suit your circumstances best.

It's convenient to buy a 30 pound flying line from Amazon, if you live in the U.S. or Canada. It suits these 3 kites perfectly.

Otherwise, cheap knitting yarn should have sufficient strength for flying in reasonably light winds. Say up to 15 kph. I did a pull test on a length of acrylic knitting yarn, and it appeared to have at least the strength of a 20-pound line. It's a bit thick, but it's readily available in the shops!

How To Build Kites - And Fly Them!

All these kites are designed for fairly light to moderate winds. So, assuming there is a reasonable breeze blowing outside, head out with kite and flying line attached. If you can hear a little leaf noise in the trees, that should be fine. Stand with your back to the wind, and have a helper hold up the kite, some distance away. Say, 15 meters (50 feet). When they let go, the kite should climb away to above tree-top height - unless the trees are huge in your area!

If your kite refuses to fly properly, there could be too much wind. Or, a dowel or 2 might be very uneven in stiffness along its length. If a much longer tail doesn't solve the problem, just try making the whole kite again. Chances are, the new one will fly much better.

If you can hardly feel the breeze against your face, it's likely there is simply not enough wind to fly! Just wait for better weather, or act like a kid and tow the thing into the air! Sometimes, there will be more wind higher up, and you will be surprised to feel your kite pulling firmly on the line.

Now you can tell your friends you know how to build kites, and fly them as well.

The Simple Delta kite climbing in a very light breeze.

Other Websites To Explore...

Learning how to build kites and fly them is a great hobby at almost any age - including during retirement. Visit this excellent one-stop resource for seniors and baby boomers which includes hobbies, activities, crafts, health, housing, travel, financial, and more.

And here's a website which describes how to make a kite from newspaper and dowel. This Diamond kite, with traditional bowed tail, flies well in moderate to strong winds. Handy for when your light-wind kites can't cope!

And here is the bigger, better Dowel Diamond in flight...

Add a tail if you really want to. But as you can see, it doesn't actually need it!

You might have noticed that this site has a monthly newsletter...

For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.

And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Dowel Barn Door Rides Inland Gusts

    Sep 17, 14 06:33 AM

    Well, it was the same reserve and a similar time of day. A bit closer to sun-down perhaps. Only the kite was different - the Dowel Barn Door kite this time, chosen to suit the 'gentle' strength wind gusts of between 15 and 20 kph.

    The first flight went well, with the kite soaring straight up on around 45 meters (150 feet) of line. The late afternoon sun glinting off the panels as the kite moved about at steep line angles. In the gusts and lulls, the kite had a tendency to pull to the right at times.

    As I was taking the kite down to do a bridle adjustment, the main problem became apparent. The horizontal spar had pushed through the tip-tape on the right corner of the sail, drastically reducing the sail area to the right of center. It was actually surprising how well the kite was still flying, given the gross problem with the sail!

    On a second flight, with the tip repaired, there still appeared to be a slight pull to the right. So, after taking some video footage of the Barn Door's antics, it was brought down once again. This time the bridle knot was taken across by about a centimeter (1/2"). That was better! The 1.2 meter (4 feet) span pale orange kite shot right back up, showing much less tendency to pull across when under pressure.

    After some more video was taken, with the kite soaring around almost directly overhead at times, it seemed safe enough to let out more line. It was surprising to feel the flying line touching my jeans while it was anchored under-foot! How much rising air can there be at this time of day? At the time I was concentrating on keeping the wandering kite in-frame as I took video.

    Finally, after enjoying the kite doing its thing on over 60 meters (200 feet) of line, it came time to pull the Dowel Barn Door down. When within 30 feet or so of the ground it started to float and sink face-down. Then it was an easy matter to pull in the remaining few meters of line, keeping the kite flying until the bridle lines were in hand.

    Weather stations were reporting around 10kph average wind speeds with gusts almost to 20kph.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe what's on offer in that message series!

    Read More

New! Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...

Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!


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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

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Kite e-book: Making Dowel Kites

"Making Dowel Kites"

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"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"