How To Build A Dopero Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 1 of 3

The MBK 2-Skewer Dopero

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

Learn how to build a Dopero kite from bamboo skewers and plastic.

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

The MBK 2-Skewer Dopero Kite is small compared to shop-bought Doperos, at 58cm (23”) across and 58cm tall. Some 'dihedral' on the outer panels of both the upper and lower sails give good all-round stability without the need for a tail.

This 2-Skewer Dopero is an efficient light wind flier. Take it out when it's not very windy, and you won't be disappointed. Also, the 4 leg bridle keeps the frame rigid, letting this kite cope with stronger winds as well.

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How To Build A Dopero Kite

Have you read the page on kite materials? If you haven't already, do it now to see what's needed for building a Dopero kite.

The 2-Skewer Dopero - spars.

For this Dopero, you need to glue skewers together to form the 4 spars. Since this kite has plenty of sail area for its width, there is no need to worry about selecting the lightest skewers! In fact, stiffer and heavier skewers would be good for the vertical spars. As for any kite, it's best to try and match the left and right ends of the horizontal spars as well. Having said all that, just using any old skewers at random should not present any real problems. The wind range of the kite might not be as good as it could be, that's all. You can always add a bit of tail!

  • Snip the points off 4 skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly the same length. Measure it, this is '1 skewer length'.
  • Snip another 4 skewers to a length of 0.65SL (18.9cm, 7 1/2") each.
  • Snip another 2 skewers to a length of 0.7SL (20.3cm, 8") each.
  • From the scraps of bamboo left over, snip off 6 lengths of bamboo, each 0.06SL (1.7cm, 3/4") long. These are the short reinforcers for the 3-part horizontal spars.
  • Similarly, snip off 4 more lengths of bamboo, each 0.1SL long. These are for the 2-part vertical spars.
  • Arrange all the skewers as in the photo, with some paper underneath to later catch excess glue. Tape the paper to the table top to prevent it shifting.
  • You should have 2 short reinforcers left over. On one of the 3-part spars, add these reinforcers so there are 2 beside each join, one on each side. (The photo is wrong, this mod was done after test flying!)
  • Prop up each end of the 3-part horizontal spars to 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") above the table, to give them 'dihedral'.
  • Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure everything lines up nicely.
  • Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

How To Build A Dopero Kite

Sail template for the 2-Skewer 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 2-Skewer Dopero - template shape marked on plastic bag.
  • Firstly, take the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the table.
  • Make sure all the glue is dry, then lay one of the vertical spars on the edge of the bag and mark the position of the nose and tail of the kite.
  • With a ruler, measure and mark all the other points except the 'wing-tips' of the upper and lower sails.
  • Mark the 'wing-tips', laying down a vertical spar to find the upper and lower wing tip positions. You can't use one of the horizontal spars since they're not straight!
  • Use the marking pen to rule lines between the dots. See the photo.

Note: Arranging the spars on the plastic by eye is quite accurate enough, as long as you take some care. Since both sides of the sail will be identical, any small error in judging the 90 degree angle has almost no effect. I have made the dots big just so they show up easily in the photo.

The 2-Skewer Dopero - complete sail shape marked on plastic.
  • 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 table. You can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo.

The 2-Skewer Dopero - sail cut out and edged with sticky tape.
  • Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines except the trailing edge of the upper sail and the leading edge of the lower sail. Each taped line should show through the center of the tape.
  • With scissors, cut along the all the black lines. This will leave half the width of the sticking tape inside the sail outline.

Note 1: I pull off the length of tape required, plus a bit extra on each end, then lay it down in one motion, pressing to the plastic at both ends at once. Then I smooth along the tape with a finger, making sure it is stuck down firmly along its entire length.

Note 2: Don't worry about overlapping lengths of tape at the corners, it will all look tidier after the cutting is done.

The 2-Skewer Dopero - spars taped to sail./
  • Place one long vertical spar over the plastic, with the edge tape facing up.
  • Cap the ends of the spar with electrical tape, as in the photo, by sticking it down over the bamboo and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other side - a bit tricky, take your time!
  • Do the other vertical spar in the same way.
  • Next, lay down the upper horizontal spar and secure it with longer strips of tape as in the photo - the white tape, which is temporary.
  • Cap each end of the spar with electrical tape. Pull the slack out of the plastic, but don't pull it really tight.
  • Do the same for the lower horizontal spar.
  • Finally, add pieces of clear sticky tape where indicated by the yellow rectangles. Stick them down to the plastic and bamboo then fold around to the other side
  • Remove the temporary strips of tape where the spars cross. Also, it might be handy to support the spar tips, as in the photo.
  • Secure the upper and lower horizontal spars to the vertical spars with drops of glue - above and below where the spars cross.

Continue to page 2

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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

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50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
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