How To Make A Barn Door Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 2 of 3

The MBK 1-Skewer Barn Door 

How To Make A Barn Door Kite

For this Barn Door, you need three 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers. The photo shows them laid over the sail, before being snipped to length with scissors.

The 1-Skewer Barn Door - where the spars go
  • Lay down 2 skewers over the sail, lining up the non-pointy ends with the top corners of the plastic. Snip off the pointed ends so the skewers line up with the bottom corners of the plastic as well. These are the diagonal spars.
  • Lay down another skewer across the left and right corners of the sail, and again snip to length, removing the point. Then make an easily-seen mark on the skewer at the exact center-point. This is the horizontal spar.
  • Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of the scissors, make an indent in the bamboo, at the center-point you marked.

How To Make A Barn Door Kite
Attaching Sail

The 1-Skewer Barn Door - spar tip attachment
  • Lay down one diagonal spar skewer over the sail, and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape around each tip, securing the skewer to the top and bottom corners of the sail. The top photo shows the top left tip in close-up.
  • Lay down and secure the other diagonal spar, in the same way.
  • Lay down the horizontal spar skewer and attach its tips to the left and right corners of the sail, in the same way.
  • Bend the horizontal spar in the middle, until it starts to crack at the indent! Carefully increase the bend until you can get the kite looking like the one in the middle photo. If you want to be precise, each wing-tip is 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") off the table top.
  • Dribble some wood glue on the spot where the horizontal spar has cracked. Also glue the places where the 3 skewers cross each other. See the bottom photo over there.

Wait for the glue to dry. Maybe start another one of these kites, so you can fly them together in a train later on!

How To Make A Barn Door Kite

20 pound strength Dacron line is ample for all the Skewer Series kites.

The 1-Skewer Barn Door - bridle details
  • Cut off some 20 pound bridle line to a length of 1.0SL (29cm, 11 1/2"), and tie a very small Loop Knot into each end. See the top photo.
  • Poke a hole in the plastic sail, right over the bend in the horizontal spar.
  • Tie the middle of the line to the horizontal spar with a simple Granny Knot. See the bottom photo.
  • Poke one end of the line through the hole in the sail, just above the skewer. This end may be used to attach a short flying line to another kite.
  • Secure the the Granny knot with a small dob of glue, or it will come loose!

How To Make A Barn Door Kite

The 1-Skewer Barn Door - tail attachment
  • Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast with the orange sail. Make it 6.0SL (170cm, 70") long and 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") wide.
  • Tie one end around one diagonal spar, and the other end to the other diagonal spar, as close as possible to the bottom tips. Make sure there are no twists in the tail. See the photo. A single Half Hitch will do for each knot, since there are very low forces on the tail in flight.

At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer Barn Door!

Attaching the flying line

This design seems to need a little tail-weight for stability, so stick a couple of strips of sticky tape along the whole length of the trailing edge. That is, the edge of the sail between the lower tips of the 2 diagonal spars.

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

Now for the cool bit... If you have made 2 or more kites, each attached to their own flying line, you can hitch them together in a train. Just put a fair-sized Loop Knot into both ends of each flying line, and then it's easy to attach and un-attach the kites.

Continue to page 3

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

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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