Making Kite Tails

For The MBK Kites

Here's a handy way to make kite tails for all the MBK kites. A few photos and some comments showing you how to make plastic rings and then loop them together. The first photo down here on the right shows a 1-Skewer Rokkaku kite in flight, sporting a long tail made from rings of clear freezer-bag plastic...

Making kite tails from loops of plastic.1-Skewer Rokakku in clear plastic

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As described in some of the kite-making instructions, simple streamer tails are quicker to make. However, the following technique using plastic loops certainly works great and looks great...

By varying the width of the loops, and choosing different sized bags, you can come up with tails to suit just about any size of kite. Specifically:

  • 1-Skewer kites - 2 average adult finger widths
  • 2-Skewer kites - 3 average adult finger widths
  • Dowel kites - 1 average adult palm width

Often essential for smaller kites, a tail improves the directional stability. This just means that the kite now has a strong tendency to point its nose into the wind when aloft.

Looking to buy tails?

Take a look at my MBK 12-Bow Tyvek Tails. With a bit of cheap acrylic paint, you can customize these to look great on just about any colorful retail kite. As long as it is of reasonable size - say wider than 1 meter (3 feet).

Come to think of it, these Tyvek tails would suit most of my Dowel designs. Just make the sails from soft Tyvek too! Imagine the Dowel Diamond, all in Tyvek and featuring your own art-work...





Kite Tails From Bags
Step By Step...


Start with a plastic bag.

Once you have got the knack of making kite tails this way, you can just use any kind of clear or colored plastic bags or garbage bags. Like the small blue plastic shopping bag in the photo.


Remove handles, if any, then cut rings one by one.

Firstly, if the bag has handles, cut straight across to remove them. Then, keep cutting straight across to create rings as shown.

Accuracy is not important here. In fact, ragged edges might work better!


Knot one loop through another.

Throw away the handles, if any, and also the closed bottom of the bag.

Now take 2 rings and loop them together, as in the photo.


Keep adding loops until length is sufficient.

Gently pull the 2 rings fairly tight, then attach more rings in the same way.

Keep going until you have the required length of tail, according to the instructions for the kite. Usually it's in terms of the kite's height. For example, 'at least 6 times as long as the kite itself'.





If a kite's tail is a bit longer than specified, that doesn't matter at all! Bear in mind that very long tails will make your kite fly lower. Making tails just long enough to keep the kite stable is the best idea!

That's all there is to making kite tails for the MBK designs. Feel free to experiment with other ideas too. Combining simple streamers and loops, for example.

And of course, MBK 12-Bow Tyvek Tails are another option which will suit some kites better than anything made from plastic.

 

What's New!

  1. Japanese Kites

    Jun 29, 16 07:00 AM

    This previously published page focuses on two traditional Japanese designs in particular which have caught the imagination of Western kite fliers. The plane-like Sode and the much more well-known Rokk…

    Read More





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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Wind Speeds


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
38–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6