How To Make A Paper Rokkaku Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 3 of 3

The MBK Paper Rokkaku


Horizontal Spar Attachment

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

The Paper Rokkaku kite - one edge taped.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 photo.
  • 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.


 

The Paper Rokkaku kite - tape and paper trimmed.Tape and paper trimmed
  • Trim off overhanging bits of tape and paper with 2 scissor-snips.


Tape Other Edge

The Paper Rokkaku kite - edge tacked at one end.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.


 

The Paper Rokkaku kite - edge taped all along.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

The Paper Rokkaku kite - pinching started at one end.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 middle.


 

The Paper Rokkaku kite - V-shape formed, all the way along.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 together.
  • Go all the way along and then back again, so nothing is missed. See the photo.

 

The Paper Rokkaku kite - all horizontal spar pieces in place and shaped.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.


Connect Spar Pieces

The Paper Rokkaku kite - upper spar pieces secured together with 3 pieces of tape.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...

The Paper Rokkaku kite - all spars complete.All spars complete

 


Adjusting Sail

The Paper Rokkaku kite - marked near paper join, same on the right hand side of sail.Marked near paper join, same on the right hand side of sail
  • Note the 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.


 

The Paper Rokkaku kite - sail overlapped and tacked in place.Sail overlapped and tacked in place
  • With 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!
  • Overlap 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...

The Paper Rokkaku kite - one side of the sail joined completely with tape.One side of the sail joined completely with tape
  • When 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...
  • Carefully lay tape across the whole join, on each side. See the photo, which shows one side completed.



The Bridle Lines

Make Holes

The Paper Rokkaku kite - where the bridle holes go.Where the bridle holes go
  • There's 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.
  • Using 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

The Paper Rokkaku kite - upper line secured with tape.Upper line secured with tape
  • Measure 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 photo.


Attach Lower Line

The Paper Rokkaku kite - lower line secured with tape.Lower line secured with tape
  • Measure and snip off a 60cm (24”) length of polyester thread.
  • As 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.


Adjust Bridle Lines

The Paper Rokkaku kite - bridle lines adjusted.Bridle lines adjusted
  • Bring all 4 pieces of thread together between finger and thumb.
  • Suspend the kite with as little thread as possible coming out the top of your hand.
  • Adjust 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.
  • Double-check 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...


The Paper Rokkaku kite - a close look at the bridle knot after excess thread trimmed off.A close look at the bridle knot after excess thread trimmed off

 


The Tails

1 Sheet To Start

The Paper Rokkaku kite - 14 dots marked, for 1cm (3/8”) streamers.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

The Paper Rokkaku kite - another sheet similarly marked with dots and taped on.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.


 

The Paper Rokkaku kite - more sheets dotted and taped, until there are 8 sheets.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 joined.
  • 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

The Paper Rokkaku kite - lines ruled through all the dots.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.


 

The Paper Rokkaku kite - one 6-streamer tail and two 4-streamer tails.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 paper.
  • Cut along the remaining long lines, right up to the line that goes across the paper. See these at the left of the photo.


Attaching To Sail

The Paper Rokkaku kite - tails taped to rear side of sail.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 end'...
  • 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.


 

The Paper Rokkaku kite - tail taped on front side of sail.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!


Flying!

The MBK Soft Sled kite in flight on a 'blue' day.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 beyond that.


Trimming

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!





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