Attaching a Middle Rib
A middle rib taped to upper surface plastic
Lay down the upper surface plastic with the
tape edging facing up.
- Referring to the first photo,
line up the first edge of a middle rib with the
second-from-left guide line on the upper surface plastic. Run
tape the full length of the join, as indicated by the yellow
rectangle. Trim off any excess tape with scissors.
- Draw the next edge of the rib to the
upper surface plastic, as in the second photo.
- Run tape down
the join — again, as indicated by the yellow rectangle. You may
find it easier to be accurate if you tack the plastic down with very
short lengths of tape first. If it doesn't look right, pull it up
and try again. When happy with the join, lay down the full length of
tape over the short bit(s).
One more rib edge to go; do this as
illustrated in the third photo.
- In the fourth photo, the rib has been
flipped over, so the other side of the join can be taped. Just apply
tape section by section, like it is on the other side. No need for
short bits this time!
Remaining Middle Ribs
So far, you've taped in the leftmost middle rib,
on both sides of the join. In exactly the same way, tape in the
remaining two middle ribs. There they are, side by side in the photo,
attached to the central three guide lines on the upper surface.
All three middle ribs attached to the upper surface plastic
You know the drill by now, so no more yellow
A side rib taped to upper surface plastic
Take a side rib and line it up with the guide
line on the left side of the upper surface plastic. As in the first
photo. Tape the join.
- Move on to the other edge, taping it to the
guide line. See the second photo.
- Now flip the side rib over. Flatten out and
tape the two edges again. As in the third photo.
the taping process with the remaining side rib, onto the only
remaining guide line on the upper surface plastic.
All ribs attached to the upper surface plastic
Surface to a Middle Rib
The ribs on either side of the one already done
will now be taped, as indicated by the yellow rectangles:
Another middle rib taped to the lower surface plastic
- Fold the right side of the lower surface
plastic from right to left. Adjust so the long guide line is near
the long edge of the rib, as in the photo on the left.
- Tack the rib plastic to the guide line with
short lengths of sticky tape. Ensure that the attachment point loop
is positioned just like the one you have already done — touching the
leading edge. See the middle photo.
- Looking good? You might need to gently pull
at the ends of the join to get both the guide line and the rib's
edge straight and aligned with each other. Run a long length of tape
(or several!) along the join to secure it permanently as in the
photo on the right.
No flipping the join this time! The tape is on
one side only.
Now go to the
left side of the kite and do these steps all over again, for
the remaining middle rib. See the photo below, where the lower
surface plastic has been stretched out to the left and right.
All three middle ribs taped in
Surface to Side Ribs
Here's how to tape a side rib, as indicated by the
Side rib taped in
Fold the right side of the lower surface
plastic from right to left. Adjust so the guide line is near the
long edge of the rib, as in the photo on the left.
- Using a pen, poke holes in the guide line
for the loops to go through. Tack the join in place with three short
pieces of sticky tape — a bit tricky so take your time :-) See the
- Looking good? Run a long length of tape along
the join to secure it permanently, as illustrated in the photo on
Now go to the
left side of the kite and do these steps all over again, for
the remaining side rib. See the photo below, where once again the
lower surface plastic has been stretched out, showing the tiny
attachment loops poking through.
All five ribs taped in, with bridle attachment loops visible
Surface to Lower Surface
This is achieved by taping the edges of the two plastic sheets together. This starts at the corners of the air intake
of the octopus head. Tacking plastic in place using short lengths of sticky
tape is useful as in previous steps. Yellow rectangles make the
placement of tape clear:
Edges of upper and lower surface plastic taped together
- Look carefully at the photo on the left
to see where to do the first tack of the lower surface plastic to
the upper surface plastic. As in previous steps, the upper surface
plastic is against the floor. The yellow rectangle represents the
visible portion of the tape. The other half is wrapped and
stuck to the other side.
- Lining up each corner in turn, tack the
remaining edges in place down one side of the head. As shown in the
middle photo, the bottom edge stays free of tape; tails go
in there later!
- Gently pull each pair of edges straight
before applying a half width of tape along the entire edge and then
wrapping round to the other side. See the photo on the right.
I found it easier to apply tape to one side, flip the entire head
and then fold down on the other side.
- Now do all the above to the left side
of the head, to complete the job!
Below, you can
see a perspective of the entire head, taped down both sides.
Completed octopus head, front and back
Well, very nearly completed. Reinforcing
the corners of the air intake is actually the final step for the head.
Intake — Corners
Three short pieces of tape are used at each corner
of the air intake. These prevent separation of the plastic sheet due
to fine dust getting under tape or the stresses of flying and
occasional rough handling. Yellow lines indicate tape edges:
One corner of air intake taped
- Flatten one corner of the air intake so you
can stick a short piece of tape straight across, onto the inside
of the join. See the photo on the left.
- Wrap two pieces of sticky tape — about four times
longer than they are wide — around the edge of the plastic. As shown
in the closeup photo on the right, one piece of tape goes
round the lower surface plastic and the other goes round the upper
- Now do the other side of the air
intake in the same way. The photo below shows a perspective of the
air intake from the front, with the corners sitting more normally.
Whole air intake, upside down on floor
Intake — Ribs
Short pieces of tape — about four times longer than
wide — are also used at each point where the middle ribs meet the
edges of the upper and lower surfaces. For much the same reasons as
before! Dust and mechanical stress. Yellow lines indicate tape
Where to wrap tape around a middle rib
- The photo on the left shows where to
wrap two short strips of tape around the exposed edge of a middle rib.
Note how some of the tape ends up stuck to the upper surface plastic
- The middle photo shows where to wrap
tape around the edge of the upper surface plastic. A small bit of
tape will end up stuck to the orange rib plastic, for two of the three middle ribs.
- The photo on the right shows how tape
is wrapped around the lower surface plastic at the other end of the
rib edge. No tape ends up on the rib plastic here, since the lower
surface plastic edge stays straight all the way across the
The other two middle ribs are done similarly,
with six pieces of tape each.
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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