Bear in mind that most of the steps below are more
easily done on a table-top. With the vertical spar up
against one edge of the table-top. To keep the bit you are
working on flat!
Tape One Edge
One edge taped
- Take one of the paper spars and align it with
the upper guide line as shown. The layering of paper should be out
of sight on the underside. One corner of the wider end should be
touching the center-line of the kite sail, also as shown in the
- Tack in place with squares of sticky tape –
1 near each end.
- All good? Now lay a strip of tape down the
whole length, as indicated in the photo.
Tape and paper trimmed
Trim off overhanging bits of tape and paper
with 2 scissor-snips.
Tape Other Edge
Edge tacked at one end
Go to the corner of the sail and pull the
free edge of the spar back towards the taped edge so
the lower guide line becomes visible.
- Tack the edge down with a short strip of
tape, as indicated in the photo. See how the lower guide line is
visible, near the corner of the sail.
Edge taped all along
Using somewhat longer lengths of tape, tack
down more and more of the spar, making sure the edge lines up with
the lower guide-line. Go all the way across to the center-line of
the sail as shown in the photo. The tape strips can overlap a little
– but don't leave any gaps.
Shape Spar Piece
Pinching started at one end
Go to one end of the spar piece and carefully
pinch it between finger and thumb, as in the photo. Just like
the vertical spar, the aim is to get a crease right in the
V-shape formed, all the way along
- Work your way along the spar piece, pinching
tightly all the way. I like to use both hands at once, close
- Go all the way along and then back again, so
nothing is missed. See the photo.
All horizontal spar pieces in place and shaped
Now tape the remaining horizontal spar pieces
in place. In each case the wider end of the spar piece lines up with
the center-line of the sail.
- Shape the spar pieces by pinching, as you did
for the first one. There they all are, in the photo.
Upper spar pieces secured together with 3 pieces of tape
By folding the sail along the center-line,
butt the upper 2 horizontal spar pieces together in the middle.
- Tack the join together with a square of
sticky tape over the top, as you did for the vertical spar.
- Apply 3 pieces of sticky tape to the join,
starting with the one that goes from top to bottom in the photo.
Each piece should be 6cm (2 1/2”) long. The pieces on either side
of the spar appear narrow because of the viewing angle.
- In the same way, join the lower
horizontal spar pieces together. See below...
All spars complete
Marked near paper join, same on the right hand side of sail
paper join which goes all the way across the sail, mid-way between
the 2 horizontal spars.
- Make a
dot on a side edge of the sail, 1.5cm (5/8”) from the join. Do
this on what you would like to be the top
half of the kite. See the photo, and do the same
on the right hand side of the sail too.
Sail overlapped and tacked in place
scissors, cut along the join, all the way in to the vertical spar,
from both side edges of the sail. Don't damage the vertical spar
itself, of course!
the sail paper on each side, pulling up from below and tacking in
place with a square of sticky tape. Line up the paper corner with
the dot on each side as shown. You might just be able to see the
dots in the photo.
Like to see a video clip? Just scroll down to near the end...
One side of the sail joined completely with tape
happy with how everything is sitting and lining up, flip the kite
over. In fact, to avoid damage, it's a good idea to do this step
with the sail positioned over the corner
of a table-top...
lay tape across the whole join, on each side. See the photo, which
shows one side completed.
Where the bridle holes go
no need for measuring here. Just note where the tape is and make
sure the holes just miss
the vertical spar! The holes on the left in the
photo are in the top
half of the sail when
it is flying.
the sharp corner of a scissor tip, penetrate the paper where the
black circles are in the photo. You can open up the holes a little
with a pencil-point if you want to.
Attach Upper Line
Upper line secured with tape
and snip off a 50cm (20”) length of polyester thread.
- Put the
thread through the 2 holes nearest the nose of the kite. Make the
length of thread equal from each hole.
- Hold the
thread in place with a short strip of tape, as indicated in the
Lower line secured with tape
and snip off a 60cm (24”) length of polyester thread.
before, put the thread through the 2 holes and make the length equal
from each hole.
- Hold the
thread in place with a short strip of tape as indicated in the
photo, which shows the tail end of the kite.
Bridle lines adjusted
all 4 pieces of thread together between finger and thumb.
the kite with as little thread as possible coming out the top of
so the upper
bridle lines are at a little less than
right-angles (90 degrees)
to the vertical spar, when viewed from the side. This should be
clear from the photo, although it was not taken exactly side-on.
that all lines have pulled straight before tying a Multi-Strand
Double knot close to where you gripped them all.
- Trim the
free ends to the same length, with scissors. See below...
A close look at the bridle knot after excess thread trimmed off
1 Sheet To Start
14 dots marked, for 1cm (3/8”) streamers
- Mark 14 dots on a sheet of paper as shown at
top left. From the top, all spacings are 1cm (3/8”).
Note: To avoid lots of measuring, just use
this sheet as a template for the sheets that follow! Line up
the sheets and just copy or trace the dots each time.
Add More Sheets
Another sheet similarly marked with dots and taped on
- Take another sheet of paper and mark with
dots, exactly like the first one.
- Bring the 2 sheets of paper together, short
edge to short edge.
- Lay tape all the way across the join and trim
flush with the paper's edge with scissors.
- Flip the paper and lay tape across the join
again, trimming as before.
- Flip the paper again so the dots are on top.
You can just see them, under the tape in the photo.
More sheets dotted and taped, until there are 8 sheets
- Repeat the process, marking dots and taping
both sides of the join, until you have 8 sheets of paper
- On the last sheet, add dots across
both short edges.
Note: A kite made from A4 paper will have
slightly longer tails than a kite made from Letter sized
paper. However, the difference in flying characteristics between the
2 kites out in the field would be hard to spot!
Cut Into Tails
Lines ruled through all the dots
- With ruler and pen, connect all the dots
along the paper from end to end.
- Rule a line across the paper, 5cm (2”)
from one short edge. See this near the left side of the photo.
One 6-streamer tail and two 4-streamer tails
- With scissors, make cuts along 3 lines to
create one 6cm (2 1/4”) ribbon and two 4cm (1 1/2”) ribbons of
- Cut along the remaining long lines, right up
to the line that goes across the paper. See these at the left
of the photo.
Tails taped to rear side of sail
- Lay the sail down with the vertical spar
against the table-top or floor. Note where the short bridle
lines are attached – the other end of the spar is the 'tail
- Align the 3 tails with the sail edges and
spars by referring to the photo. Tack each tail in place with just
a square of tape.
- When happy with the placement, use a strip of
sticky tape all the way across each tail. As indicated in the photo.
Tail taped on front side of sail
- Flip the kite over and apply more sticky tape
as indicated in the photo.
- That's it. You're done!
Nothing to it - attach line, catch breeze
After taking the kite to a flying field or
beach... Your flying line can be tied behind the Multi-Strand Double
knot of the bridle lines, wrapped around all the lines. That's it,
you're ready to fly.
Avoid flying in very windy weather. The
thread should be good to around 35kph but there are no guarantees
If kite and bridle have been made perfectly, the
kite should not show an obvious preference for flying to the left or
right. What if the Rokkaku does tend to go in one direction
much more than the other? Try adding a short length of paper or scrap
of plastic to the wing-tip that is on the outside of the turn.
If the problem gets worse, you have the tail-let on the wrong tip, so
just swap it over to the other side!
If the kite seems very reluctant to climb despite
plenty of breeze, you might need to re-tie the bridle – shifting
the knot a centimeter or 2 (1/2” to 1”) towards the nose end.
Hope you enjoyed learning how to make my Paper
Rokkaku kite design!
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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