Paper Sails For MBK Kites

by Kenji
(Auburn, NSW, Australia)


Is it possible to make any of these kites out of paper?


Good question, and the simple answer is YES.

However, in order to make this answer somewhat more useful to future visitors to this post, I've decided to put my thinking cap on and go into some detail. I have not actually made any MBK kite sails from paper, but I'm confident the following pointers will ensure plenty of success...

Paper is light and non-porous to air, and that's all you need. Having said that, some types of paper are better than others, of course. The lighter the better, so don't use thick paper for tiny kites. The stronger the better, although even low-quality newsprint is capable of flying, if you are careful! The more non-porous the better - so forget toilet paper and other tissues that are full of holes ;-)

Regarding all the taping - if it works on plastic, I'm sure it will work equally well on paper. In fact, paper and tape go together pretty well in general.

Here are some specific suggestions for each series of kites in turn:

1-Skewer Series

Newsprint should be light enough to get most of these designs flying reasonably. Cut out newsprint ribbon tails and attach sections together with small amounts of sticky tape. Make the tails a few skewer lengths longer than specified in the instructions.

Otherwise... Look around for any paper that seems a bit lighter or thinner than ordinary copier paper. For example, tracing paper, rice paper, some quality tissue papers perhaps. Baking paper used in ovens?? Experiment using a really quick and simple design like the 1-Skewer Diamond. If the Diamond flies well with a particular type of sail material, the others should be fine too.

Since the instructions assume you are using a plastic bag, just put a sharp center-line fold in your sheet of paper and proceed according to the instructions. Being thin, it should still be possible to see black lines through one thickness of the paper. Just like working with a plastic bag.

2-Skewer Series

With 4 times the sail area of the 1-Skewer designs, using the thinnest available paper is not so necessary. If you do decide to go with some of the choices already mentioned, for example tracing paper, proceed just like you were making a 1-Skewer kite. If the paper sheets are not big enough, you could mark the Template on one sheet and then trace it onto a second sheet, before taping the 2 sheets together down the kite's center-line.

Some other choices here might be gift wrap or butcher's paper. Some gift wrap would be quite strong, particularly when edged with sticky tape as per the instructions. You could also end up with quite an attractive and colorful kite if you choose your paper carefully!

Now, some printed gift wrap paper might be difficult to trace through. Due to the colors and thickness of the paper. Here's a tip... On a sunny day, try laying the paper up against a glass window. As long as it is bright outside, you don't even need the sun to be on that side of the house. With the extra illumination, you should be able to mark in the corner points at least. Maybe a few intermediate points along each edge as well. From there, you would just take the paper down onto your table top and join the dots using a ruler. Easy!

Dowel Series

For a quick-n-dirty approach, any type of paper that is available in large sheets would do. For example, news-sheet and butcher's paper. However, these are rather nice high-performance kites... You might want to do something better, to end up with a more durable and reliable kite. To this end, I would suggest trying something like 40gsm Tyvek material.

Good luck with your paper kites! If you follow the instructions carefully, I'm sure you will get something flying soon.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to About Kites.

I can tell you love kites...

Otherwise you wouldn't be all the way down here near the bottom of the page :-)

So, could you do me just a small favor? 

Please sign up for my free monthly publication, "Tethered Flying". No other emails will be sent, and your details are safe with me. You do need to be at least 16 years old. There's...

  • A huge "photo of the month" (via a link)
  • 3 "tips of the month" (one each for beginners, parents and the more experienced)
  • A "flight report of the month" (selected from my own flying logs, with a photo)

Looking forward to hearing from you...

P.S. My free kite-making e-book "Simplest Dowel Kites" can be downloaded as soon as you sign up.


Back to top of page

Need winders, reels, flying line?

We earn a small commission if you click the following link and buy something. The item does not cost you any more, since we are an "affiliate" of Amazon.

Click here to buy anything you need. Just use the Search box in there if you need different weights or lengths of line, for example.

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

What's New!

  1. Dowel Diamond Kite

    Sep 18, 19 05:00 AM

    This is a previously published flight report on the Dowel Diamond kite. It was one of the earlier builds, flying in very active air on this occasion...

    Read More

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

Like/share this site...

Like/share this page...