Tails For Diamond Kites

Q:

How did you make the tail?

A:

A pretty short and simple question, but fair enough - there are a heck of a lot of people out there who make a Diamond kite, then wonder 'mmmm what to do for a tail?'. Here are a few ideas!

Firstly, you can apply some color to ready-made Tyvek tails. Otherwise, doing it all 'from scratch'...

(By the way, all the Diamond designs on this site include instructions for the tail, if one is necessary. But some don't actually need a tail to fly properly. For example, the Dowel Diamond, which is based on the famous tail-less Eddy kite.)

Anyway, for flat Diamond kites, those tail ideas...


  • Cut out a long rectangular strip of material, the same material which the sail is made from. Make it about 1/10 as wide as the kite, and at least 8 times as long as the kite is tall. This formula will work for a wide variety of Diamond kite shapes and sizes. If you want a fancier look, make it a bit thinner and attach one or 2 more tails in the same way. Make them different colors of course!

  • Cut across the top of a plastic bag, so you end up with a small loop of plastic. Do as many as you can from the bag, making the width of each plastic strip about 1/10 as wide as the kite. Then hitch the loops together into a chain. Make the chain at least 5 times as long as the kite is tall, using more bags if necessary. Here's some pictures.

  • And now the classic story-book kite tail... Take a length of string about 10 times as long as the kite is tall (because it gets shorter every time you tie a knot in it!) Tie it to a small rectangle of sail material. The rectangle can be about as long as 1/5 of the kite's width. Make the rectangle half as wide as it is long. Make a whole bunch of these and tie the string to them at regular intervals, all along the string's length. With a rectangle length or 2 between each one perhaps. A long string with many cross-ties like this makes a great tail which drags at the wind and keeps the kite's nose pointing into the breeze.


Try some ready-made Tyvek tails, if all this seems like too much work!

Remember that the longer the tail, the more stable the kite. But make it too long and heavy, and the kite might not fly very high.

Hope this helps!

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

The Dopero is someone's clever idea to combine 2 Roller kites! Double Pearson Roller is where the name comes from. The resulting flat portion of sail in the middle makes this a very efficient design in light wind.

Even more so than the Roller before it, this kite has an attractive aircraft-like appearance in the air. This MBK version also excels in light winds.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes somewhat 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 Dopero 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 Dopero can fly in quite a wide range of wind speeds thanks to the 4-pont bridle. The bridle lines keep the frame more rigid than a 2-point bridle could. 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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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