How To Make A Delta Kite

Step-by-Step - The MBK 1-Skewer Delta

These instructions on how to make a Delta kite are fairly detailed. However, the reward is a great little light wind flier! Just the thing for a gentle evening breeze. About the only tool required by these instructions is a pair of sharp scissors.

Learn how to make a Delta kite from bamboo skewers and plastic.

Any other materials you don't have are easily bought from local shops. If not exactly what I used, then at least something pretty similar!

The pictures should make things pretty clear. Just quickly work your way through from top to bottom, skimming over any detail that you don't need.

The MBK 1-Skewer Delta kite is quite small at 1.0SL (29cm, 11 1/2") in length, but copies the full-size Deltas with a floating spreader and triangular keel.

This little kite flies best with several skewer-lengths of tail.

A tiny bit of extra plastic taped to one wing-tip can correct a turning tendency, but this might not be necessary.

1-Skewer kites are fun, but somewhat toy-like :-)  due to their rather small size. Fancy something much bigger to fly, suitable for teenagers and adults?

The "Making Skewer Kites" e-book has plenty of 58cm (23") designs in bamboo skewers and plastic. Plus all the 1-Skewer designs.

A handy approach is to just print out the pages for the kite you want to make next. The e-book is also handy for working off-line on a laptop, tablet or other device.




How To Make A Delta Kite
Sail

Now's the time to read up on kite materials and other things needed for building a Delta kite, if you haven't already.

Sail template for the 1-Skewer Delta.

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

The 1-Skewer Delta - template marked on plastic.
  • Firstly, take a bag that you want to use for the sail, and lay it flat on the floor.
  • Mark dots on the plastic which correspond to the corners of the Template. Any small errors in position don't matter since the sail will be symmetrical.
  • Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots.




The 1-Skewer Delta - complete sail outline marked
  • Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen and ruler.
  • Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it flat on the floor - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo up there.
The 1-Skewer Delta - where to tape the edges
  • Lay down clear sticky tape along all edges of the sail except the long edges of the 2 tabs. The yellow marks represent the tape in the photo. To save weight, try to put only ¼ of the tape's width inside the sail outline.
  • Cut along all the black lines, with scissors.




How To Make A Delta Kite
Frame

The 1-Skewer Delta - where the bamboo skewers go.
  • Select the straightest skewer you can find, and lay it down the center-line of the sail. Snip the skewer to length, removing the point, so it lines up with the plastic at each end. This is the vertical spar.
  • Select 2 more skewers, that have very similar stiffness. Judge this by bending them one at a time, or perhaps use your creativity to judge this some other way!
  • Place these 2 skewers along the fold-lines of the tabs. Snip both skewers to length, removing the points, so they are as long as the tabs. These are the leading-edge spars.
  • Measure 0.42SL (12.2cm, 4 3/4") from the top end of the vertical spar, and make a mark on it there. Select another skewer, snip the point off, and place it over this mark, so each end sits over a leading edge spar as in the photo. This is the spreader.
  • Apply glue where the spars cross each other, but not onto the vertical spar. While this is drying, you can get on with the keel. Hey, it's starting to look like a Delta!




How To Make A Delta Kite
Keel

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.
The 1-Skewer Delta - making the keel
  • Mark out a triangle on some spare plastic, as per the dimensions in the Template, and cut it out.
  • Tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto it, running along both edges that meet at the towing point. The length is not too important, just take the photo as a guide.
  • Flip the plastic over and tape down another 2 lengths of flying line, directly over the first 2.
  • Reinforce the keel corners by sticking down and wrapping around short lengths of tape.
  • Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple Knot close to the plastic, then tie a second one further out, as per the photo.
  • Also knot the lines at the other 2 corners, using the same kind of knot. Adjust them so they are flush with the plastic.

At this point you need to make sure the glue is dry on the bamboo frame. If it is...




The 1-Skewer Delta - attaching the keel
  • Fold over and tape down the sail tabs over the leading edge spars, using 2 lengths of sticky tape on each side.
  • Fold tape over the ends of the vertical and leading edge spars, securing them to the plastic.
  • Poke a hole in the plastic sail, just above where the spreader crosses the vertical spar. Thread the upper keel lines through and tie off tightly with a Granny Knot.
  • Using the keel to find the exact spot, poke another hole in the sail near the trailing edge. Thread the lines through and tie off tightly, again using a Granny Knot.
  • With the keel flush against the plastic sail, add sticky tape along the full length of the keel, attaching it to the sail plastic. Flip the keel over and do the other side too.
  • Put a small drop of wood glue on the knots which attach the keel to the vertical spar. In the photo, you can see the keel through the main sail plastic.




How To Make A Delta Kite
Tail

The 1-Skewer Delta - attaching the tail

Have you read the page on making kite tails? Assuming you have...

Make a tail at least 5 times the length of the kite itself. To attach the tail to the kite, just push one end between the vertical spar and the sail, at the bottom end of the kite. Then thread the other end of the tail through the loop you just pushed through.

Simple! If you don't tighten it too much, the tail will always be easy to remove later, even after flying.

At this point, you've pretty much finished learning how to make a Delta kite!





How To Make A Delta Kite
Prepare To Fly

The 1-Skewer Delta - attaching the flying line

Put a little bow in the spreader, away from the sail. Do this by gently bending the bamboo with both hands, with your thumbs in the middle of the bend. You might have to try a few times before the bamboo deforms a little.

The purpose of this is to put a little slack in the sail, which will make the kite more stable. If you over-do it and the bamboo cracks, just rub some wood glue into the bend!

Finally, make up a flying line and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head Knot, as shown in the photo.

With this kite, I'm confident that if you build it and attach the keel with reasonable accuracy according to the plan, it should need no further adjustment. Just like the bought ones! You might need to experiment with using a bit more tail if the kite loops around too much.





How To Make A Delta Kite
Flying!

The 1-Skewer Delta kite in flight.

Up there is a picture of the completed MBK 1-Skewer Delta kite, close to the ground in a very light breeze.

Before flying, just check the kite's balance...

Hang the kite by the keel and see if one side seems to hang lower than the other. If so, double check by placing the vertical spar on the tips of your fingers, at the nose and tail ends of the kite. Does the same wing go down? If so, keep adding short pieces of tape to the sail near the wing tip until the balance improves.

Out In The Field

My collection of real-life Delta kite stories is worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

Now hold the kite by nose and tail, with the keel hanging down, and suddenly take both hands away. Does the kite nose down and fly forward?

If so, keep adding tape across the trailing edge of the sail, near but not touching the tail, until the kite shows less tendency to dive.

Assuming there is some breeze, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through your fingers.

Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20 meters (50 feet) of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more line out.

Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Delta kite!




Now, just in case you have actually made and flown this kite at least once already...




Ever Made This Kite?

You've probably read a kite-flying story or 2 of mine, after they appear under the "what's new?" link on this site. I sometimes wonder if anyone else has made and flown this particular design...

If you feel your efforts really paid off when the the kite finally got airborne - please type a few paragraphs in here telling us all about it!

P.S. I can only accept stories of at least 300 words. Just mention a few details like the weather, onlookers, the kite's behavior and so on - 300 words is easy!

Please Enter A Title

Flight Reports From Other Visitors

Click below to read about various kite-flying adventures, contributed by other visitors to this page...

My First Kite... That Actually Flew! 
After my daughters brought home a "kite" they made at school, I was reminded of all the fun I had making kites and flying them back in my youth. (After …

Click here to write your own.

 

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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...



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