Simple Dowel Kites at a Cub Scout Camp

by Andrew Roos
(Durban, South Africa)

A Cub flying his Simple Diamond

A Cub flying his Simple Diamond

My son is a cub scout and we were invited to attend a "family camp". Parents were asked to arrange activities for the cubs that would contribute towards one of their interest badges.

As an ex-pilot and RC model flyer, I decided to present a workshop for the "flying models" badge. One of the requirements for this badge is for the cubs to build and fly a kite. After looking at several kite sites on the Internet, I downloaded Tim's "Simplest Dowel Kites" eBook and decided on the Simple Diamond and Simple Sled kites as they would be the quickest to build.

I purchased dowel rods, two-ply plastic bags (black was the only color available locally) and insulation tape to make 10 kites. I also bought some red lacing cord for bridles, some 50mm red and white striped plastic barrier tape (the type construction crews use to fence off unsafe areas) to give a colour contrast for the kite tails, and flying line. The total cost of materials was about US$30, so around $3 per kite.

I cut out cardboard templates for these kites, scaled to match the size of locally available dowel rods, so the cubs could cut from the template without having to measure the sail dimensions. Each template was for half the sail, so they could place the template against the fold in the plastic bag, cut through both layers of plastic, and then open them out into the full sail shape.

My wife and I worked on a long table - she supervised the cubs cutting the sails and tails at one side, while I supervised sparring and fitting the tails and bridles at the other. This way we could make a kite every 10-15 minutes. We showed the cubs what to do - for example how to stick one side of a spar - and then supervised them while they did the rest themselves.

The wind was light to moderate and quite gusty, even changing direction completely from time to time. But the Simple Diamonds took it in their stride and flew beautifully. They were more stable under these conditions than the sleds although they generally flew a bit lower. One of the other parents remarked that she had never seen a home made kite that flew at all, let alone one that flew so well!

The cubs had a great time flying their kites, and had to be dragged away by their Akela to participate in other workshops. They will be rewarded with their Flying Models interest badges.

Comments for Simple Dowel Kites at a Cub Scout Camp

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Scouts and kites
by: Tim P.

Thanks Andrew for that story of kiting success! Over the years, there have been several similar submissions involving Scouts. So much fun from so little investment...

Click here to add your own comments

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

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. The Dowel Rokkaku Kite

    Oct 17, 18 06:00 AM

    This previously published page is a flight report featuring the 1.2m (4ft) span Dowel Rokkaku kite. Read how the kite performs in light winds and thermals...

    Read More




"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"

Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

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

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

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

Strong breeze
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