How To Make A Sled Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 1 of 2 

The MBK Dowel Sled

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

Make a Sled kite like this one for smooth air flying.

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

The MBK Dowel Sled Kite is a large vented Sled, with a shallow V cut into the leading edge. This kite is a good light wind flier and can cope with gentle winds up to around 15 kph. However, it likes smooth air to fly in! It will not tolerate rough air or turbulence.

If you have trouble getting a decent flight out of it, just take it down to the nearest beach or find the widest, most open space possible.

In smooth air, you will be amazed at how this big Sled parks itself up there at a high angle!

NOTE: Video views from this website don't appear to be counted.

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 Sled Kite

Now's the time to read up on the kite making tools and materials required for making a Dowel Sled, if you haven't already.

The Dowel Sled - making the spars

For this Sled, you need 2 lengths of 5mm wooden dowel. For a light-wind Sled, the dowel doesn't have to be very stiff.

  • Make sure the dowels are exactly the same length. Trim one a little if necessary, with the hack-saw.
  • Round off the 4 tips with your wood file.

How To Make A Sled Kite

Sail template for the Dowel Sled.

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 Sled - template marked on bag.
  • Firstly, take a large bag that will fit the entire Template shape within one side, and lay it flat on the floor.
  • Measure and mark the corners of the template shape with dots.
  • Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots. 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. It's probably best not to rule the whole line with the dowel, since it bends easily. All the lines are visible in the photo.

The Dowel Sled - complete sail outline.c
  • 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 photo.

The Dowel Sled - edges and corners taped.
  • Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines, except the diamond-shaped vent holes. Most of the width of the tape should be inside the kite's outline. 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.
  • With scissors, cut along all the black lines, including the vents - this will leave most of the width of the sticking tape inside the sail outline.
  • Place 9 short lengths of tape down as reinforcers, in the positions shown by the small yellow rectangles in the photo.

Note: Don't worry about overlapping lengths of tape at the corners, it will all look tidier after the cutting is done.

The Dowel Sled - spar taped down
  • Firstly, pull a length of flying line tight across the plastic, over the corners where the left spar will go. Tape the line down to the floor (not the plastic!) at each end. Mark the plastic on either side of the line with dots, near the center of the kite.
  • Remove the thread, and place the left spar onto the plastic.
  • Prepare 6 lengths of electrical insulation tape, each one about 3 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.
  • Cap the ends of the spar with tape, as in the photo, by sticking it down over the dowel and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other side - a bit tricky, take your time!
  • Next, lay a short length of electrical tape across the dowel and onto the plastic, at the center. Use those dots on the plastic to position the center of the dowel, which will ensure that it is perfectly straight. See the photo.

Now, tape down the right hand spar in exactly the same way.

Continue to page 2

E-book special of the month...

Barn Door is a traditional American design, and this MBK version has delighted many of this site's visitors over the years.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite is only a small step up in difficulty.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Barn Door kite. Down to a mere $2.95 for this month.

The MBK Barn Door is a reliable flyer over the Light to Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, if the kite is made according to the instructions.

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.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Parachute Over The Roof

    Oct 27, 16 03:22 AM

    Yes, the MBK Parachute kite floated over our roof for a minute or so...

    With the creasing problem fixed, the kite is flying well, though somewhat short of those CAD-modeled foils done by paragliding co…

    Read More


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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

More E-books...

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