How To Make A Parasail Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 1 of 2

The MBK Parasail

Learn how to make a Parasail kite with these easy-to-follow instructions. Fully illustrated with close-up photos, every step of the way.

The MBK Parasail kite in flight.MBK Parasail
The MBK Parasail kite in flight.MBK Parasail

These instructions take you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) diameter Parasail. This kite performs well in gentle to moderate wind speeds. That's from 12 to 28 kph or from 8 to 18 mph. It pulls hard for it's size, so should not be flown by very small kids!

The MBK Parasail kite is a very scaled-down version of the full-size parasail craft which is commonly used to tow people high into the air over water. The number of lines and vents has been reduced so the construction is more practical at the smaller size.

As long as the wind speed at least gusts into the gentle-to-moderate range, the kite will climb under pressure and descend like a parachute during the lulls. In a steady horizontal breeze the kite will hold between 0 and 45 degrees of line angle depending on the air's speed. Unique!

If any rising air comes through, you might be able to watch the kite go much higher!


Materials for this kite...

The kite described here will do well with just about any fairly light plastic sheet. For example, painter's drop-sheet or drop-cloth plastic. That would be around 4mil thickness for those buying plastic sheet in the US. A light sail will help the kite fly in lighter winds and give a little more stability. The large number of lines ensures that the kite keeps it's shape even when under heavier air pressure.

Ordinary clear sticky tape in a dispenser will work for this kite. The slightly wider variety (18mm or 3/4”) is good, but not absolutely necessary.

Ideally, the bridle should be made from quite light line, say 20 pound strength and the kite flown on somewhat heavier line, say 50 or 80 pound strength since it can pull quite hard in moderate winds.

These instructions illustrate a Parasail made with 50 pound bridle lines. This strength of line is readily available from eBay and Amazon online stores.




Consider using my e-book Making Soft Kites to try any of the 5 spar-less designs in there. Hi-res, close-up photos help you through.



How To Make A Parasail Kite...
The Sail

Measuring The Sail

The Parasail kite - sail measurements.Measure and mark dots
  • Place your plastic sheeting on the floor. Fold it in half from left to right and run a sharp, straight crease down the left hand side.
  • Starting from near the top-left corner, measure and mark dots on the plastic. Just follow the arrows marked on the photo. I've high-lighted the sail outline dots in yellow so they are easier to see in the photo.

Judge the horizontal and vertical directions by eye. If you're careful, there's no need for a T-square since the sail ends up symmetrical anyway.



Marking The Sail

The Parasail kite - dots connected on one sideConnect the dots
  • Take your ruler and connect the dots with the black marker pen, as shown in the photo. (The top and bottom lines will be horizontal – the camera's perspective has made them look slightly sloped in the photo.)


 

The Parasail kite - complete sail outline.Sail plastic opened out
  • Flip all the plastic over. Smooth out the 2 layers of plastic, double-checking that the vertical crease stays in place.
  • Make dots at all the corners showing through the 2 layers of plastic. Then rule in the lines. Keep checking that nothing has slipped!

Hint: If it's too hard to see through the plastic, just lay it up against a sun-lit window to mark in the dots.

  • Open out the plastic to show the complete sail outline. Finally, mark in short lines at all the corners, as in the photo above.


Taping The Sail

The Parasail kite - sail taped on marked side.Marked side taped
  • Lay sticky tape all around the outline of the sail, as partly shown in the close-up photo above. Let the tape overlap the black lines, leaving most of the tape inside the outline.


Cutting The Sail

The Parasail kite - cut-out sail edgeSail cut
  • Take your scissors and cut all around the outside of the sail, along the black lines. When you are finished, all the edges should look like the close-up photo up there.


Measuring The Vents

The vents are opened-up gaps in the sail which are carefully positioned to shoot air down the back of the parasail in flight. This is how it can climb like a kite.

The Parasail kite - vent measurements.Measure and mark dots
  • Spread out the sail plastic on the floor, with the marks and tape on top. The crease line (or where it was!) should still be running down the middle from top to bottom.
  • Measure and mark the sail center and the other five dots indicated by the arrows marked on the photo above.
  • Using the same numbers, measure and mark the remaining dots.


Marking The Vents

The Parasail kite - vent outlines.Connect the dots
  • Take your ruler and connect the dots with the black marker pen, exactly as shown in the photo.


Marking Vent Slits

The Parasail kite - vent slits drawn.Slit lines drawn
  • Take your ruler and draw lines which divide all the vents in half, exactly as shown in the photo. If you want to do this by eye, that will save some time and will have little effect on the kite's flight trim.

(Strictly speaking, some of these lines are unnecessary – but they do give a nice indication of how the vents are positioned! On a second build, you could try marking just where the red lines are, for the cuts – see on the next page...)



Taping, Cutting The Side Vents

The Parasail kite - side vents taped.Side vents taped
  • Lay lengths of sticky tape for the six side vents, as shown in the photo, in yellow.
  • With scissors, cut along all the lines marked in red, above.


Opening The Side Vents

The Parasail kite - side vents opened.Opening vents, stage 1 (left) and 2 (right)
  • Stage 1: Spread the near-vertical split apart so it's lower corners are separated by 5cm (2”). Place a small heavy object on each side, to hold the split open.
  • Stage 2: From scraps of sail plastic, cut out a 5cm x 11cm (2” x 4 3/8”) rectangle and secure it over the split with 3 pieces of sticky tape.



Consider using my e-book Making Soft Kites to try any of the 5 spar-less designs in there. Hi-res, close-up photos help you through.


Continue to page 2


Like/share this site...

Like/share this page...

Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...