Box Kite Design Examples

A Few Different Approaches

Pardon the mess, here and/or in other parts of this site!

All will be looking better by mid-November. T.P. (major site update in progress)

Here's a look at the various examples of box kite design we have tried, along with an illustrative photo and video of each.

At this writing, there are two Dowel box designs which are a satisfying size for adult fliers. Plus a giant one which actually went overhead on 300 feet of line one hot day!

On the other hand, the two skewer designs are ideal for quite young children to fly, even in rather fresh winds. Small sail area means just a small tug on the flying line.

Since you're here, you're probably looking to make your own box...

Making Box Kites is a printable e-book. It's a PDF file download.

Before getting into the imagery, you might find this summary helpful...

  • 1-Skewer Box Kite. (The quickest to make, due to its tiny size and very small amount of gluing. Flies best in moderate winds. May require a small tail-let on one side to trim it straight and hence get the best possible flying out of it.)
  • 2-Skewer Box Kite. (Double the size, and has the minor hassle of requiring skewers to be glued together end to end, with reinforcement. However, your reward is a small box kite with a remarkably wide wind range! We've had some great flights with this design, in all sorts of weather.)
  • Dowel Box Kite (moderate). (A lightly-built 1.2 meter (4 feet) long box. The horizontal cross-pieces are longer than the vertical ones, giving the kite a slightly 'squashed' appearance. This boosts performance, with just a small cost in stability. Believe it or not, I have had this box kite design end up directly overhead in moderate winds and thermals! Not for fresh winds, but great fun in light to moderate conditions.)
  • Dowel Box Kite (fresh). (After almost destroying the Moderate Wind version in stiff breezes, I designed this one specifically for fresh winds. Although the same length, reduced sail area and reduced cross-piece lengths combine to make this kite stiffer and much more robust. And it is no slouch performance-wise either. This box kite design will hold an impressively steep flying angle in a smooth 15 kph sea breeze. Rough inland air is no problem, but it will just go up and down a lot depending on wind strength.)
  • Multi-Dowel Box Kite. (A huge 2.4 meter (8 feet) long box. Like the Dowel versions, this one is also slightly 'squashed' for better performance. It needs a Gentle-strength breeze to get it away, but is comfortable in the Moderate to Fresh ranges. An efficient steep flier, this big box kite pulls hard towards the top end of it's wind range. Definitely adults only!)   

Down below is a photo and a video of each MBK Box kite (except the Multi-Dowel at this writing). The end result illustrated, in case you decide to use one of our books to make one of these kites.

Box Kite Design - the 1-Skewer box kite in flight
Box Kite Design - the 1-Skewer box kite in flight

Here's the latest version of the 1-Skewer Box, trimmed out and floating nicely on a warm moderate breeze at a nearby park.

It's hard to be super-accurate in construction with these tiny kites. A small extra tail on one side will soon fix any problems though. After a bit of experimentation on the flying field. But that's half the fun with tiny kites. You get a sense of achievement when the thing finally behaves itself and floats up high! At that point, you can hand the string over to your 4 year-old and watch the joy.

Here's a video, taken on the same day, when this little kite broke its own altitude record...


Box Kite Design - the 2-Skewer box kite in flight
Box Kite Design - the 2-Skewer box kite in flight

The 2-Skewer Box kite design is, as the name suggests, exactly twice as long as the 1-Skewer design. However, it still uses the same diameter bamboo skewers. As a result, this kite can fly in somewhat lighter winds than the 1-Skewer Box. But it is also strong enough and stable enough to cope with very fresh winds. You can take it out in any sort of windy weather and expect to get a good afternoon's fun out of it!

We fly this kite on a 20 pound line, which gets pulled pretty straight in a stiff breeze. In lighter breezes there is some sag, but the kite will still get plenty of height on 60 meters (200 feet) of line.

See this kite in action in the video below!


Box Kite Design - the Dowel box kite (moderate) in flight
Box Kite Design - the Dowel box kite (moderate) in flight

At twice the size of the 2-Skewer Box, the Dowel Box (moderate) doesn't make you feel like you are flying a 'kids kite' as such. This version has had a number of great flights in conditions that you would not normally associate with box kites.

You know the old kiting saying - 'box kites for strong wind'. Not these days! Particularly when space-age materials like graphite (carbon fiber) is used for spars. Not to mention light-weight ripstop nylon for the sails.

But even using more traditional materials like dowel for the spars, it is possible to build a box kite quite light. The inherent weight disadvantage is still there, when you compare it with a Diamond or a Delta for example. However, this design is proof that you can still keep a box kite up in fairly light wind if you build it right.

The wind is gusty and moderate in strength in the video down below...


Box Kite Design - the Dowel Box kite (fresh wind version)
Box Kite Design - the Dowel Box kite (fresh wind version)

The Dowel Box (fresh) is so named because it can take quite a bit of punishment from the wind. The cross-pieces are relatively short and tied together to prevent bow under pressure.

With the original bridle, this kite handled 20 kph winds comfortably. Later, I redesigned the bridle and tested the kite almost to destruction in some truly strong wind! It now handles 30 kph well, and will survive well into the 40-45 kph+ range.

It's all good experience, and you can always make another kite when the materials costs are so low. The pull on the line is quite firm in fresh winds. I have measured it at around 2 to 3 kg (5 to 8 pounds).

Somehow, though, I just wouldn't be game to fly this box kite design on 20 pound line! It stretches 50 pound line nice and tight, so that will do me.

The wind is gusty and fresh in strength in the video down below...


Out In The Field

Box kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

That's about it for this page on a few examples of box kite design. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and the info. Talking about info...

Making Box Kites is a printable e-book. It's a PDF file download.

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Click here to buy anything you need. Just use the Search box in there if you need different weights or lengths of line, for example.

P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Club Fly At Semaphore

    Nov 11, 18 10:45 PM

    It was back to the usual Semaphore Park location this month... True to the weather site prediction, a Gentle-strength breeze was coming off the ocean after mid-day. The direction was much more souther…

    Read More

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 ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
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

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