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

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.





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.




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

The Roller is a WW2 vintage design which is quite well known among more experienced kite enthusiasts. With it's upper and lower sails, this design has an attractive aircraft-like appearance in the air. This MBK version excels in light winds.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes a little more time to make. With the help of my instructions, it's still do-able by a beginner. 

Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Roller 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.

This Roller takes advantage of any rising air that happens to come by. By substituting a slightly wider diameter vertical spar, the kite remains comfortable right to the top of the Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.

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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Testimonials
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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.

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Wind Speeds


Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

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
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7