How To Make A Dopero Kite

Step-by-Step - The MBK Dowel Dopero

This set of instructions on how to make a Dopero kite assumes you know absolutely nothing about kite making. You might already have some of the simple tools and materials required.

How to make a Dopero kite from dowel and plastic.

Anything you don't have is easily bought. If not exactly what I used, then at least something pretty similar!

The MBK Dowel Dopero is a large tail-less kite loosely based on the original double-roller design. Like the original, this kite is a great light to moderate wind flier.

These instructions might look quite detailed. However, your reward is a large, very cheap kite that has a distinctive aircraft-like look in the air. Thanks to its 4-point bridle, this kite can cope with rather more wind speed than its cousin the Roller. Without losing its ability in very light breezes too.

This kite that should fit in most vehicles. Of course it helps if you undo the bow-line toggles. Then, the kite can lie flat in the trunk (boot) or even rest on edge in the rear passenger section.

Setting up on the flying field is just a matter of attaching the bow-line toggles. Or perhaps not, if you were able to leave them done up. Then, you just attach the flying line and launch into the wild blue yonder!

The "Making Dowel Kites" e-book has this design and many others in hardwood dowel and plastic. Plus some giant 2.4m (8ft) bonus 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.


I have chosen to make '1 Dowel Length' equal to 120cm for every kite in the Dowel series. If you are in North America, 48" of 3/16" dowel is close enough to 120cm of 5mm dowel. This will result in a kite with similar flying characteristics to my original.




How To Make A Dopero Kite
Cutting The Sail

Now's the time to read up on the kite making tools and materials required for making a Dowel Dopero, if you haven't already. For this kite, you will also need some cheap thin shoe-laces.

The sail template for the Dowel Dopero kite

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

The Dowel Dopero - template shape marked on plastic bag.
  • Firstly, take a large 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. There is no need to use a T-square, or an extra-long ruler since any small errors in position will be duplicated on the other side of the sail.
  • Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots, as in the photo. For lines longer than the ruler, just add a few extra dots using one of the dowel spars as a ruler! Then it's easy to connect the dots with a ruler. It's probably best not to rule the whole line with the dowel, since it bends easily.



The Dowel Dopero - complete outlines of upper and lower sails.sa
  • 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 photos.




When doing the following, most of the width of the tape should be inside the kite's outline.

The Dowel Dopero - where to lay the edge taping

Use a single length of tape for each line. Hold it out straight, touch it down to the plastic at one end, then at the other end, dab it down in the middle, then press down all along its length.

  • Lay down clear sticking tape where indicated by the yellow lines in the two photos.
  • With scissors, cut along all the black lines. This will leave most of the width of the sticking tape inside the sail outline.





How To Make A Dopero Kite
Spars

For this Dopero, you need long lengths of 5mm (3/16") wooden dowel. Enough for the 4 spars of 1.0DL (120cm, 48") each. They are easily cut to the lengths required with a small cheap hack-saw.

The Dowel Dopero - spars
  • Select the straightest piece of dowel you can find. Measure off two 1.0DL (120cm, 48") lengths, mark them and saw them off at the marks. Round off the tips with a wood file. These are the 2 vertical spars.
  • Cut off 2 very short 0.01DL (1.2cm, 1/2") lengths of dowel. Round off the tips with a wood file. These will be used as the bow-line toggles. You can use thinner dowel for these if you have some lying around. I use 4mm dowel for toggles, just to save a bit of weight.
  • Lay down some more dowel across the width of the upper sail, mark it at the exact width, and cut off at the mark. Also make an easily-seen mark around the dowel where it touches the center crease of the sail.
  • Round off the tips with a wood file, then add a bow-line so the depth of the bow is 0.08DL (9.6cm, 3 3/4"). With the kite flat on the ground, that's how far the tips should be from the grass. This is the upper horizontal spar.
  • While the glue is drying on the knots, do those previous 2 steps again to create the lower horizontal spar. For this kite, the amount of bow is the same for both spars.




How To Make A Dopero Kite
Joining The Sails

The upper and lower sails now need to be joined where the vertical spars cross.

The Dowel Dopero - connecting the upper and lower sails
  • Lay the vertical spars down over the two sails, and line up the upper tips with the nose corners of the upper sail. Also line up the lower tips with the bottom corners of the lower sail. With all the plastic flattened against the table or floor, this shows you exactly how far apart the 2 sails should be!
  • Check that the sail is quite flat everywhere, with no folds or creases. Double-check that everything lines up and looks square.
  • Add 4 strips of clear sticky tape onto the sails, as illustrated by the yellow rectangles in the top photo. Yes, the tapes might stick a bit to the floor, between the sails, but...
  • Flip the sails over, and stick down another 4 strips of tape of exactly the same size and position, so they stick to the 1st 4 tapes in the area between the sails. The exact length is not important, just copy the photo.
  • Now that the sails are joined, flip the plastic over again, and add another 4 lengths of tape to the lower sail. Two tapes beside each spar, as the middle photo shows.
  • Finally, add 2 lengths of tape to the upper sail. See the bottom photo.




How To Make A Dopero Kite
Tabs And Spar Caps

Prepare ten lengths of electrical insulation tape, each one about 4 times longer than it is wide. Stick them by a corner onto something handy like a table edge. You can remove them one at a time as needed.

The Dowel Dopero - close-up of a spar tip cap.
  • Spread out the sail, with the edge tape facing upwards.
  • Lay down the upper horizontal spar over the sail, so it would bow away from the sail if you attached the toggle. With the toggle un-attached, line up the tips of the spar with the upper corners of the sail.
  • Cap one tip of the spar with tape, by sticking tape down over the dowel and plastic then folding it around and under the plastic to stick on the other side - a bit tricky, take your time! See the completed cap in the first photo.
  • Now do the other tip of the spar similarly, using another piece of tape.
  • Attach both tips of the lower horizontal spar to the sail in a similar same way, using another two pieces of tape. Also wrap tape around the dowel, at 90 degrees to the first pieces. It looks much neater!
  • The outer long tabs of the lower sail need to have a slit, to let the bow-line through when the tab is folded over. Make a short vertical snip with scissors, in each tab, right down to the bow-line knot.
  • Fold down the plastic tabs over the spar and tape in place using clear sticky tape. See the second photo, which shows one side of the kite.
  • Now slip the vertical spars into place, sliding them between the horizontal spar and the sail plastic at the crossing points.
  • Cap the vertical spars with the remaining four pieces of tape, attaching them to the top corners of the upper sail and the bottom corners of the lower sail.




How To Make A Dopero Kite
Lashing the Spars

The two horizontal spars will now be lashed to the vertical spars. Firstly, just make sure that everything 'looks right', with no bunched up plastic anywhere.

After putting several turns of flying line around each crossing point, fix the joins with a generous drop of glue each. This will also prevent any shifting along the vertical spars.





How To Make A Dopero Kite
Sail Ties

The Dowel Dopero - sail corner ties
  • Add a short length of clear sticky tape to an upper sail corner, then add another one of the same length to the other side of the plastic. Where they stick out from the sail edge, press the 2 tapes together so they stick to each other. About the length of a fore-finger should be sufficient, half on the sail, half off.
  • Put a Loop Knot into a length of flying line, and thread the tapes through the loop, before folding the tapes over and securing them to the sail with another short length of tape.
  • As in the photo, snip off the line so you have enough length to fasten it to the lower horizontal spar with some Half Hitchs. There should be a little slack in the line, but not as much as in that photo!
  • Do the other sail corner exactly the same way. The exact length of the ties is not important, but do try to get them the same as each other.




How To Make A Dopero Kite
Keels

Try this Stake Line Winder from Amazon, if you are not sure where to get suitable flying line. The 50 pound strength is ideal for these Dowel Series kites.
The Dowel Dopero - making the keels
  • Mark out the keel shape on some spare plastic, as per the dimensions on the template.
  • Cut out the keel and tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto one side. One goes from the bridle attachment point to the upper attachment point, and the other goes from the bridle attachment point to the lower attachment point. Use sticky tape, not electrical tape. The pieces of line hanging free should be at least as long as your finger.
  • Now flip the plastic over and tape down another 2 lengths of flying line, directly over the first 2.
  • Where 2 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple Knot close to the plastic. These 2 knots will sit against the vertical spar. See the top, left photo.
  • Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple Knot close to the plastic, then tie another one further out, as in the top, right photo. The bottom photo shows the complete keel.
  • Reinforce the keel with short lengths of sticky tape, where indicated by the yellow rectangles.
  • This kite has 2 such keels, so now do it all again to make the second keel.



Have a good look at the photo down there, which shows one of the keels in place. Follow the instructions to do that one, then do it all again on the other side for the second keel.

The Dowel Dopero - attaching the keels
  • Cut a slit in the plastic sail, between the 2 long vertical pieces of tape. The slit should go all the way from the edge of the insulation tape spar cap, up to the lower horizontal spar.
  • Pass the lower keel lines through the slit in the lower sail. Now tightly tie them around the vertical spar, using a Granny Knot. Get the knot as close to the tip of the dowel as you can.
  • Using the keel itself to find the exact spot, tightly tie the upper lines around the dowel also. This will be quite close to where lower horizontal spar crosses the vertical spar.
  • Fold the 4 dowel-width tab around the dowel and tape it down all along its length with a piece of clear sticky tape.
  • Put a drop of wood glue all over the 2 knots and all around the dowel where the keel lines touch the wood.




How To Make A Dopero Kite
Bridle

The Dowel Dopero - bridle
  • Cut off some 50 pound flying line to a length of 1.0DL (120cm, 48"), and tie a very small Loop Knot into each end.
  • Poke holes in the plastic, on either side of the upper horizontal spar. Four holes altogether, 0.24DL (28.8cm, 11 1/2") from the center-line of the sail, as indicated by the 4 yellow dots in the photo.
  • Tie each end of the line to the spar, through the holes. Use a Double Wrap Slip Knot, and pull tight against the knot of the small loop. This is the upper bridle loop.
  • Do another bridle loop just the same, except make the loop knots bigger, since they will be used for Lark's Head knots. This is the lower bridle loop.
  • Cut off some flying line to a length of 2.0DL (240cm, 96"). Attach one end to the upper bridle loop and the other end to the lower bridle loop. Use a shiftable knot such as the Prusik Knot, and adjust it to center on both bridle loops. Let's just call this the bridle line.

Before the first flight, the 2 loop knots of the lower bridle loop will get attached to the free tip of each keel, using a Lark's Head Knot.

Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.2DL (24cm, 10") long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik Knot. Tie a small Double Loop Knot into the other end, just to get a large knot. There's a photo of this further down, in the section titled PrepareTo Fly.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the Dowel Dopero!





How To Make A Dopero Kite
Prepare To Fly

Attaching the flying line.

Make up a flying line and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head Knot. See the photo over there, where the Lark's Head has been left loose.

The bridle is a bit long to check on the ground, so fly the kite on a very short line to see where the towing point is. Shift the Prusik Knot along the bridle line until the towing point appears to be level with the upper horizontal spar or a little below it. To lock the Prusik in place, take the 2 bridle lines in one hand, the flying line in the other, and pull tight. To unlock it, you just pull the bridle line straight, with the knot in the middle.

Check the bridle slip knots on the upper horizontal spar. Re-tighten if necessary, and smear a little wood glue around where the line contacts the spar, and into the knot. This way the knots can never come loose or shift along the spar. You won't have to wait the full drying time for this glue to dry, since the amounts are small.





How To Make A Dopero Kite
Flying!

The MBK Dowel Dopero kite in flight.

Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! Although this design has some tolerance for moderate to fresh winds, it won't like being launched in a gale. If the wind is too strong, it might get damaged.

Out In The Field

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

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

The Prusik knot on the bridle line can loosen off a little over time. If necessary, pull on all the lines to tighten the knot up before a flying session.

Assuming there is some breeze outside, 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 taking loop after loop off the winder.

Be cautious about letting line slip through your fingers. If a big gust hits the kite, the line could burn you! For any kite this big or bigger, it's a good idea to wear a glove of some sort, unless the wind is very light.

Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20 meters of line. 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 Dopero kite!

The e-book instructions for this kite include even more handy hints which will ensure you get the most success possible when flying this particular design. They show you how to make the kite more transportable too, so you can remove a couple of spars and roll the kite up into a slim bundle.




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 Dowel Kite 
I used to make kites when I was smaller. Some were poorly constructed and refused to fly. As I got older and more experienced, I started to build better …

Tyvek Dopero 
The continuing saga... The kite is finished with test flights scheduled for 7/22/2011

Click here to write your own.

 

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For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.

And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.




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...



Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!

 

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