How to Build a Barn Door Kite

Step-by-StepPage 2 of 3

The MBK 2-Skewer Barn Door

How to Build a Barn Door Kite
Making Spars 

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - lengths of bamboo skewer required.

For this barn door, you need:

  • six bamboo BBQ skewers, 30 cm (12 in.) in length
  • two short 0.15 SL (4.4 cm, 1 3/4 in.) lengths of skewer
  • two short 0.25 SL (7.3 cm, 2 7/8 in.) lengths of skewer

See the photo.

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - gluing of skewer spars

The photo shows how the pieces of bamboo are all glued together. The skewers at the top of the photo form the horizontal spar. See how each tip is raised away from the tabletop. The short bits in the middle just lay flat against the table.

The other skewers form the two diagonal spars. These have all the bamboo lying flat against the tabletop.

To make sure there are no kinks at the joins, get your head down low and look along the spars. Shift one or two skewers a little, if necessary, before the glue dries!

How to Build a Barn Door Kite
Attaching Spars

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - attachment of bamboo to plastic
  • Snip off one point from one of the diagonal spars.
  • Line this end up with the top-left corner of the kite sail, with the spar crossing the bottom-right corner of the sail.
  • At the top-left corner, attach the bamboo to the plastic with insulation tape, as in the photo.

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - all spars attached
  • At the bottom-right corner of the sail, snip the spar to length and attach the tip to the plastic in the same way.
  • Do all the above steps again to tape the other diagonal spar in place, crossing over the first one.
  • Now lay down the horizontal spar across the left and right corners of the sail, so the middle join is centered over the crease line of the plastic bag.
  • Snip off the points of the skewers so the tips line up with the left and right corners of the sail, after they are folded up to meet the bamboo tips. Take your time, since you don't want to snip off too much bamboo.
  • Tape the tips to the sail corners. The photo shows the kite at this point.

How to Build a Barn Door Kite

Dacron line in 20 to 50-pound strength is suitable for all the Skewer Series kites.

All the construction details for the bridle are contained in the large photo below. Look and read carefully, and you can't go wrong on this rather important bit! Just use Dacron line for the bridle pieces.


If you are new to this, you might need instructions on how to tie the following knots:

Loop knot

Double Loop knot

Double Wrap Slip knot

Prusik knot

TIP: Secure the slip knots around the bamboo with a blob of wood glue, so they can't loosen.

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - bridle detail


Once your kite and bridle look like the photo up there:

Adjust the Prusik knot that is closest to the kite. It needs to be as close to center as possible.

Next, hold the short bridle line up so all the bridle lines are straight, with the kite laying flat on the table or floor.

Referring to the diagram below, shift the other Prusik knot to the shown position. It's not necessarily the perfect position for your individual kite, but it should at least fly on the first attempt!

Later, you can experiment with shifting the position away from the nose a little at a time to improve how high your kite flies in light wind. Alternatively, you can experiment with shifting the position toward the nose more, to help the kite cope better in very windy weather.

Bridle diagram for the 2-Skewer Barn Door kite.


How to Build a Barn Door Kite

Cut out a long rectangular piece of dark plastic for the tail. Black garbage-bag plastic works well. Make it about 0.3 SL (8.7 cm, 3 1/2 in.) wide and 12 SL (350 cm, 140 in.) long.

The 2-Skewer Barn Door - attachment of loop tail.

Tie one end around one diagonal spar, and the other end around the other diagonal spar, as close as possible to the bottom tip in each case. See the photo.

A single Half Hitch for each knot will do, since there are very low forces on the tail in flight.

You can see the full length of the tail in the "Flying" photo on the next page.

At this point, you've finished making the 2-Skewer Barn Door!

Flying line attachment.

To attach the flying line, just Lark's Head the flying line to the short bridle line as in the photo.



As mentioned earlier, there's more kite making on this site than you can poke a stick at :-)

Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads — printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.

Every kite in every MBK series.

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