How to Make a Barn Door Kite

Step-by-StepPage 3 of 3

The MBK Dowel Barn Door

How to Make a Barn Door Kite
Tying the Bridle

Dacron line in 50-pound strength is ideal for these Dowel Series kites.

All the construction details for the bridle are contained in the large photo below. Look and read carefully, and you can't go wrong on this rather important bit!


If you are new to this, you might need instructions on how to tie the following knots:

Loop knot
Double Wrap Slip knot
Prusik knot
Larks Head knot

TIP: Secure the slip knots onto the dowels with enough wood glue to ensure the knots can never slip along the dowel. They won't loosen either.

The Dowel Barn Door - all the bridle knots


Once your kite and bridle looks like the photo up there:

Hold the short bridle line up so all the bridle lines are straight, with the kite laying flat on the table or floor.

Make sure the Prusik knot closest to the kite is adjusted to the middle. Right over the centerline of the kite.

Referring to the diagram below, shift the other Prusik knot to the shown position. It's not necessarily the perfect position for your individual kite, but it should at least fly on the first attempt!

Later, you can experiment with shifting the position towards or away from the nose, a little at a time, to improve how high your kite flies.

Side-on illustration of a correctly adjusted bridle for the Dowel Barn Door.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the Dowel Barn Door! However, there is a short setup procedure to go through before it will fly:

How to Make a Barn Door Kite
Attaching the Line

The Dowel Barn Door - flying line attachment.

Make up a flying line and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot. See the photo up there, where the Lark's Head has been left loose.

Also check that both wingtips leave the floor at the same time when you pull the kite up off the floor by the short bridle line. If one tip comes up first, adjust the Prusik knot nearest the sail until both tips come up at once.

How to Make a Barn Door Kite

The Dowel Barn Door kite soaring high beneath a thin canopy of Cirrus cloud cover.

Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-wind kite and won't like being launched in a gale. If the wind is too strong, the spars will bend excessively and the kite will not fly very high as a result.

The Prusik knot on the bridle line can loosen off a little over time. If necessary, pull on all the lines to tighten the knot up before a flying session.

Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by taking loop after loop off the winder.

Be careful when letting line slip through your fingers. If a gust hits the kite, the line could burn you! For a kite this big, it's a good idea to wear a glove.

Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe 15 meters (50 feet) of line. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more line out.

Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a barn door kite!

Out in the Field

Barn-door kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

The e-book instructions for this kite include even more handy hints which will ensure you get the most success possible when flying this particular design. They show you how to make the kite more transportable too, so you can remove the diagonal spars and roll the kite up into a slim bundle.

Now, just in case you have actually made and flown this kite at least once already:

Flight Reports From Other Visitors

Click below to read about various kite-flying adventures, contributed by other visitors to this page...

A Great Date 
I found this site about a month ago. My girlfriend works a job where she has to leave and be gone for a week at a time. It's a taxing job and I'm always …

LOVE the Barn Door! 
My second MBK kite and another very satisfying build-and-fly experience. With one more dowel than the diamond, the barn door needs just a little more wind …

Barn Door Kite — Pretty Good 
This kite flies great. I made the Dowel Barn Door kite for a school project and it worked perfectly. (T.P. - Thanks Ian, glad it worked out for you! …

Kites in Colorado 
I enjoy the site very much, and we love the Dowel Barn Door! Hopefully, I will correctly post a couple of pics here and there. We live in a northwest …




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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