How To Make A Roller Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 1 of 4

The MBK Dowel Roller

This set of instructions on how to make a Roller kite assumes you know absolutely nothing about kite making.

The MBK Dowel Roller kite in flight.MBK Dowel Roller

You might already have some of the simple tools and materials required. Anything you don't have is easily bought. If not exactly what I used, then at least something pretty similar!

The Dowel Roller is a large tail-less kite based on the old Pearson Roller design. Like the original, this kite is a great light to moderate wind flier.

Also like the original, this Roller has quite a distinctive and attractive appearance in the air! Certainly something different from your usual Diamonds and Deltas.

These instructions might look quite detailed. However, your reward is a decent sized and very cheap kite that should fit in most vehicles. Of course it helps if you undo the bow-line toggles. Then, the kite can lie flat in the trunk (boot) or even rest on edge in the rear passenger section.

Setting up on the flying field is just a matter of attaching the bow-line toggles. Or perhaps not, if you were able to leave them done up. Then, you just attach the flying line to the bridle and let the wind do the rest.

Making The MBK Dowel Roller Kite is one of my handy e-books of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.

I have chosen to make '1 Dowel Length' equal to 120cm for every kite in the Dowel series. If you are in North America, 48" of 3/16" dowel is close enough to 120cm of 5mm dowel. This will result in a kite with similar flying characteristics to my original.

 Like to see a video clip? Just scroll down to near the end...

How To Make A Roller Kite
Cutting the Sail

Now's the time to read up on the kite making tools and materials required for making a Dowel Roller, if you haven't already.

The sail template for the Dowel Roller kite.

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...



The Dowel Roller - template shape marked on plastic bag.
  • Firstly, take a large bag that you want to use for the sail, and lay it flat on the floor.
  • Mark dots on the plastic which correspond to the corners of the Template. There is no need to use a T-square, or an extra-long ruler since any small errors in position will be duplicated on the other side of the sail.
  • Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots, as in the photo. For lines longer than the ruler, just add a few extra dots using one of the dowel spars as a ruler! Then it's easy to connect the dots with a ruler. It's probably best not to rule the whole line with the dowel, since it bends easily.


The Dowel Roller - complete upper and lower sail shapes marked out.
  • Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen and ruler.
  • Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it flat on the floor - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photos.


When doing the following, most of the width of the tape should be inside the kite's outline.

The Dowel Roller - where to tape the sail edges

Use a single length of tape for each line. Hold it out straight, touch it down to the plastic at one end, then at the other end, dab it down in the middle, then press down all along its length.

  • Lay down clear sticking tape where indicated by the yellow lines in the photos. Just over half the kite is shown, so do the other side exactly the same.
  • With scissors, cut along all the black lines. This will leave most of the width of the sticking tape inside the sail outline.





Try my Making The MBK Dowel Roller Kite PDF, if you prefer to work offline or from printouts. A little more convenient than working from live Web pages, you might find :-)


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I can tell you love kites...

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P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

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Wind Speeds

Light Air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2

Gentle ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7

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