Kite Sail Corner Straps

For The MBK Dowel Kites

Adding corner straps to a thin plastic kite sail is straight-forward. However, it's important not to go overboard with lots of tape, since this will just add weight. Strength is not really an issue, since the straps are just meant to hold a small amount of tension into the plastic. The main function is to attach the sail to the spar tip.

This page is a reference for all the MBK Dowel kites, so the sail corner in the photos might not be the exact same length as for the sail you are working on. Everything else is the same.

The short list of instructions below describe how to make just one corner strap. MBK kite designs require either 1 or 2 such straps, depending on how many vertical (or near-vertical!) spars there are.





Creating A Kite Sail Corner Strap

Before touching the sail, snip off 2 pieces of electrical insulation tape for each corner that needs to be done. Make them as long as specified for the kite you are making. Stick them by the corners somewhere handy, for example along a table edge.

Here's the procedure for doing one corner...


Lay down one tape underneath the sail corner, so it goes about 0.02DL (2.4cm, 1") in from the edge. Then lay the other tape down over the sail, lining it up with the first piece of tape. Press the tape down firmly all over.


Using a ruler, draw a line down the center of the top tape as a guide. Then draw in the lines on either side. Don't draw too close to the sail plastic, since there needs to be plenty of tape around the spar tip to keep it in place.


Using scissors, cut off the outside pieces of tape as in the photo. The remaining strip should be a quarter or less of the original tape width.

DL just means Dowel Length, which for me is 120cm (48").


A general note about these corner straps. In most MBK designs, you can actually leave the strap tied to its horizontal spar. This saves some time, since the vertical spar(s) can simply be slipped in and out while rigging and de-rigging the kite. Although the tension in the strap is small, under normal flying conditions the spar is unlikely to slip out by itself.




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

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) tall Parafoil kite. This 4-cell kite performs best in gentle to moderate wind speeds. That's 12 to 28kph or 8 to 18mph. Even in light winds, this kite will hang in the air, although at low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while supervised!

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 Parafoil 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.



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