How To Build A Diamond Kite

Complete Instructions For The MBK 2-Skewer Diamond Kite

This set of instructions on how to build a diamond kite assumes you know absolutely nothing about kite making. 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 instructions on how to make a diamond kite might look awfully long, but that's because they are so detailed. For those who like pictures, every detail is illustrated with photographs too. Just quickly work your way through, skimming over any detail that you don't need. All in all, it should be quite hard to make a mistake!

The MBK 2-Skewer Diamond Kite is a medium-sized diamond 58 cm across and 44 cm tall, with a tail. Some 'dihedral' gives extra stability and shortens the amount of tail required.

The 2-Skewer Diamond is a very nice light-to-moderate wind flier.

Have you read the page on kite materials? If you haven't already, do it now to see what's needed for building a diamond kite.

How To Build A Diamond Kite - Frame

Build a diamond kite - spars

For this diamond, you need to glue skewers together to form the 2 spars.

  • Snip one skewer to exactly 1/2 a skewer length.
  • Snip the points off 3 more skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly the same length.
  • From another skewer, snip off 4 lengths of bamboo, each 0.2 x (one skewer length) long - and mark the center-points with the marking pen if you want to be extra-precise!
  • Arrange all the bamboo as in the photo, with some paper underneath to catch excess glue.
  • Prop up each end of the longer spar to about 1/10 of a skewer length above the table, to give it 'dihedral'.
  • Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as straight as possible.
  • Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

How To Build A Diamond Kite - Sail

Build a diamond kite - template

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

Build a diamond kite - corners

  • Firstly, take the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the table.
  • Make sure the spars are dry, then lay them down on the plastic to show where the sail corners are.
  • Mark the corners of the template shape with dots, as shown in the photo - notice that marks are also made on the side edge of the bag, which is the center-line of the kite sail.
  • Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots.

Note: Did you find your ruler was not long enough to rule all the lines? Just mark a dot about mid-way between the 2 corner dots, using whatever straight edge you can find - maybe a piece of wood. Then, connect the 3 dots with your ruler. Problem solved, and no need to rush out and buy a 1 meter (1 yard) ruler!

Build a diamond kite - sail edges 1

  • 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 table - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Build a diamond kite - sail edges 2

  • Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines with each line showing through the center of the tape - that's 4 pieces of tape in all.
  • With scissors, cut along the black lines - this will leave half the width of the sticking tape inside the sail outline.

Note: Don't worry about overlapping lengths of tape at the corners, it will all look tidier after the cutting is done.

Build a diamond kite - spar taped down

  • Place the shorter vertical spar on the plastic, with the edge tape facing up.
  • Cap the ends of the spar with electrical tape, as in the photo, by sticking it down over the bamboo and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other side - a bit tricky, take your time!
  • Next, lay down the longer horizontal spar and cap each end with electrical tape - pull the slack out of the plastic, but don't pull it really tight.
  • Secure the horizontal spar to the vertical spar by running lines of glue above and below where the spars cross, as in the photo.
  • If you want to, trim the bits of tape that stick out at the top and bottom of the spar, with scissors.

How To Build A Diamond Kite Bridle

Build a diamond kite - bridle knots

  • Cut off some flying line to a length of 6 skewers, and tie a very small loop into each end.
  • Poke 2 holes in the plastic sail at each of the bridle attachment points - one hole on either side of the spar, so 4 holes altogether.
  • Tie each end of the line to the bamboo, through the holes - use a single half-hitch, and pull tight against the knot of the small loop.

prussik knot

Now take a length of flying line about half a skewer long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prussik knot. Tie a small simple overhand loop into the other end, just to get a big knot.

How To Build A Diamond Kite - Attaching The Tail

Build a diamond kite - tail

Have you read the page on making kite tails? Assuming you have...

  • Make up a tail from a black garbage bag, making sure it is at least 4 times as long as the diamond kite itself.
  • Attach the tail by poking one end between the bottom of the vertical spar and the sail plastic.
  • Pull the rest of the tail through the loop, but don't over-tighten.

See the photo, where I have left the tail a bit loose to make it clear.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-skewer diamond!

How To Build A Diamond Kite - Preparing To Fly

Build a diamond kite - attach line

Finally, make up a flying line and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot. See the photo above.

As a final check, suspend the kite from the flying line. Shift the Prussik knot along the bridle line until the kite hangs at about a 30 degree angle from the horizontal.

How To Build A Diamond Kite - Flying!

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 letting it slip through your fingers. If it refuses to climb despite pulling on your hand, shift the Prussik knot towards the nose a bit, and try again. Keep going until the kite behaves itself!

Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20 meters of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more line out.

Build a diamond kite - launching

Here's a picture of the MBK 2-Skewer Diamond Kite being launched, down at a local reserve. Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to build a Diamond kite.

All the above info, plus much more is available in a PDF eBook which covers the entire 2-skewer series of kites.

Last updated: 13 Aug 2008

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