Making a Box Kite

Step-by-StepPage 2 of 3

MBK Dowel Box (mod. winds) 

Making a Box Kite
Main Spars 

The Dowel Box - spars
  • Using your hacksaw, cut off four lengths of dowel to a length of 1.0 DL (120 cm, 48 in.) each. The dowel should be 5 mm (3/16 in.) in diameter.
  • With a wood file, round the dowel endsjust enough to take off the sharp edges will do.

Making a Box Kite
Adding Spars

The Dowel Box - adding spars to plastic.
The Dowel Box - closer view of spar taping
  • Lay down the main spars you have just made, and tape them down to the plastic sails with electrical insulation tape. See the first photo.
  • The other two photos show how the spar tips are capped with insulation tape, which is wrapped around to the other side of the sail.


The Dowel Box - spar tip close-up
The Dowel Box - joining the cell plastic
  • Short lengths of dowel must now be glued to the spars, everywhere where there are those short lengths of sticky tape. Cut off 16 pieces of dowel, to a length of 0.01 DL (1.2 cm, 1/2 in.), and position them in pairs as shown in the closeup photo.
  • These pieces of dowel will lock the cross pieces in place. Two cross-pieces near the trailing edge of the upper cell and two cross-pieces near the trailing edge of the lower cell.
  • Fold a sail, bringing the short edges together and joining them with sticky tape as shown in the photo. Do the other one in the same way.
  • Now open the box kite out, and lay down tape along the inside edges as well, to make the two joins even more securea bit tricky, so take your time!

Making a Box Kite
Cross Pieces

The Dowel Box - the 4cross-pieces.
The Dowel Box - cross-piece tip close-up
  • Cut off two pieces of dowel, each 0.5 DL (60 cm, 24 in.) long. These are two of the cross pieces, which will brace the kite to make it rigid.
  • Cut off another two pieces of dowel, each 0.605 DL (72.6 cm, 29 in.) in length.
  • Cut off 16 pieces of dowel to a length of 0.01 DL (1.2 cm, 1/2 in.) and glue them to the cross pieces as shown in the photos.


The Dowel Box - shoe-lace tie on a cross-piece

When dry, use extra glue along the joins on each side, to make sure they are strong. In a box kite of this size, the weight of the glue is not much of an issue!

You also need to tie a 0.3 DL (36 cm, 14 1/2 in.) length of small shoelace to the exact center of each shorter cross-piece.

Then, smear a little wood glue over each knot so it can't slip along the dowel. See the closeup photo.

Making a Box Kite

The ideal type of flying line for this kite is 50-pound Dacron:

  • Measure 0.1 DL (12 cm, 4 3/4 in.) in from one end of a spar (less than half the width of the sail), and use a pen to poke a round hole in the plastic, right over the spar.
  • Cut off a 1.5 DL (180 cm, 72 in.) length of flying line, and tie a small overhand loop into one end.
  • Attach the looped end to the kite, by passing it through the hole, twice around the spar and then out again, before putting in a hitch to form a Double Wrap Slip knot. Pull it tight.
  • Using the same kind of knot, attach the other end of the line to the same spar, just in front of the lower cell of the kite.
  • Smear some glue into both knots to secure them and prevent slippage up and down the spar.
  • Now take a length of flying line about 0.5 DL (60 cm, 24 in.) long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik knot, or any other shiftable knot. Tie a small Double Loop knot into the other end, just to get a big knot.

All this is visible in the photo below, although the cross pieces are not inserted. At this point, you've pretty much finished making the MBK Dowel Box kite!

The Dowel Box - comjpleted bridle.


Making a Box Kite
Setting Up

The Dowel Box - rigged and ready to fly
  • Lay the kite flat on the ground, with the bridle spar in the middle and on the bottom next to the ground.
  • Insert a long cross-piece into the upper cell, spreading the two side spars apart.
  • Insert a short cross-piece into the same cell, locating one end connects with the spar which has the bridle attached.
  • Stretch the cell upward and snap the other end of the cross piece into the remaining slot.
  • Tie the shoelace securely to the longer cross-piece. This prevents it from bending in the middle and so increases its strength a lot. Use a bow so it can be undone easily! There's the completed upper cell in the photo.
  • Insert and tie the remaining two cross-pieces into the lower cell, so they match the other two cross-pieces. The short one should contact the bridle spar.

If either cell doesn't seem to be stretched tight, you might need to add glue inside the tips of the cross pieces, to lengthen them slightly. If that's not enough, make another pair, slightly longer.

Making a Box Kite
Breaking Down

The Dowel Box - cross-pieces removed and cellsrolled up.breaking down

Lay the kite on the ground with the flying line removed:

  1. Undo both the shoelace ties.
  2. Flex a little bow into one of the longer cross-pieces, just enough to remove it from the kite.
  3. Similarly, remove the other longer cross-piece.
  4. Remove the two shorter cross-pieces.
  5. Place all the cross pieces alongside the spars and roll up the kite. The bridle can be wrapped around the spars too, to help keep it all together.



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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