Kite Materials Needed

For The MBK Skewer Kites

The photo shows absolutely all the kite materials needed, plus all the extras such as ruler, marker and scissors. Including the table top!

NOTE: No electrical tape is used for the 1-skewer kites.

Kite Materials - for the MBK skewer kites.

12" bamboo skewers. The ones pictured are 30 cm (12 inches) in length, costing just a few dollars for a packet of 100. If yours are a different length, don't worry. These instructions don't rely on absolute measurements for the spars or sail material. You will still end up with a flyable kite.

Electrical tape, available from hardware stores. This stuff stretches and therefore is perfect for capping spar ends while attaching sail plastic at the same time. Although a bit heavy as far as kite materials go, only small lengths are required so it doesn't add much weight overall.

Lightweight, clear sticky tape. Scotch tape, Sello-tape, sticking tape, whatever you like to call it. Just make sure it is about the width of your finger. The tape I use is 12mm (1/2 inch) in width. This is used to reinforce the edge of the sail, since it doesn't stretch and doesn't add much weight.

Large, translucent (see-through), colored plastic bags for making sails. Here in Australia, large orange garden bags are available from supermarkets. These bags are ideal, and also make the finished kite easy to see in the air! Similar bags should be available elsewhere too, perhaps in the form of garbage bags. However, you must be able to see a black marker pen line through the plastic. The MBK construction method relies on this.

I've decided to standardize on dark garbage bags, for tails. Despite their size, they are rather light and contrast well with the orange garden bag sails! With a bit of imagination, there are many ways to make kite tails from plastic. Just remember, the lighter the better.

8 kg (20 pound) or more flying line, for bridles and other lines attached to the frame. These days I'm using 20 pound Dacron for flying line and bridling. You might use Nylon, Polyester or good old cotton.

Wood glue, such as the Aquadhere in the photo. Good for tacking kite materials such as bamboo together, although it takes hours to dry. A 100 ml container will last a long time when just used for making MBK kites. If you prefer, and don't mind paying more, there are various quick-drying wood or general-purpose glues on the market that can also be used. The tubes for these are usually much smaller than 100 ml.

Now for a few extras you need to help with making an MBK skewer kite...

A ruler. Any length or type will do, although a meter (yard) rule is more convenient. The shorter ones often come up short when ruling lines for the 2-skewer kite sails! All MBK kites use straight lines to make things easier.

A black marking pen. For drawing corner points and sail outlines on light-colored plastic. The marks need to be easily visible through 2 layers of the plastic.

A pair of scissors. These are mainly for cutting around the outline of the sail. They are also handy for snipping bamboo skewers to length.

A calculator. Yes, a calculator of some sort, like on your mobile phone or the Windows one or whatever. But there's no heavy calculating to be done! It's just handy for figuring out how long 0.3 x (one skewer length) is, for example. In fact, right now, snip off the point from one of your skewers and measure the skewer. This is 'one skewer length'. Write this measurement down somewhere.

A smooth flat space to work on. If you are cutting kite materials with a knife rather than scissors, you will need a smooth flat surface that can be sliced into without upsetting anyone else! So forget the 2-ton 17th Century polished oak table at your rich uncle's house...

As long as you have access to a supermarket you should be able to get these kite materials and other bits and pieces together! Half the items are probably lying around your house somewhere already.





Our very first 1-Skewer Dopero was done in black plastic. Here it is in flight, a Dopero kite that is technically a miniature... although in the very largest category, with a wing span of 30cm (1foot)!

Our little 1-Skewer Dopero kite in flight.

Buy 12" bamboo skewers here, or use the search box for anything else you might need, such as 'kite winders'.

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Carbon Diamond High Wind Experiment

    Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM

    This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.

    The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.

    For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.

    At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!

    And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.

    Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.

    "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 the value on offer in that message series!

    Read More





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