How To Make A Diamond Kite

Complete Instructions For The MBK Dowel Diamond Kite

This set of instructions on how to make 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 from top to bottom, skimming over any detail that you don't need.

The MBK Dowel Diamond Kite is a large tail-less Diamond, inspired by the famous Eddy design. The Dowel Diamond is a good light-to-moderate wind flier and can cope with moderately gusty and fresh winds. The kite is designed to roll up into a slim cylindrical package like a Sled, thanks to the 2 detachable corners of the sail and the toggle-linked bow line. Setting up on the flying field takes just a minute or 2. Of course, if you have room, you can always leave this Diamond ready-to-fly!

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

If kiting knots are a mystery to you, then it's also a great time to look at some knot tying instructions for MBK kites!

How To Make A Diamond Kite - Spars

Make a diamond kite - spars

For this diamond, you need 3 lengths of 6mm wooden dowel. I have chosen to make '1 Dowel Length' equal to 1.2 meters since that just lets the vertical spar fit the garden bags we buy. If you are in North America, 4 feet of 1/4" dowel might be a good choice!

  • From a long piece of dowel, cut off lengths of 1.0DL, 0.94DL and 0.02DL with the hack-saw. Yes, that last one is very short!
  • Round off the 2 tips of each length with your wood file.
  • Mark a line around the exact center-point of the longest dowel with the marker pen. Also mark a little 'H' on it somewhere, since this is your horizontal spar.
  • Mark a line around the slightly shorter dowel, 0.14DL from one end. Also mark a little 'V' on it somewhere, since this is your vertical spar.

How To Make A Diamond Kite - Sail

Make a diamond kite - template

Make a diamond kite - corners 1

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

  • Firstly, take a large bag that will fit the entire Template shape within one side, and lay it flat on the floor.
  • Lay the vertical spar down beside the left crease of the bag, and mark dots corresponding to the top and bottom of the Template. Also mark a dot corresponding to the mark you made near the top of the dowel. This is where the spars cross.
  • Lay down the horizontal spar as in the photo, hence mark a dot on the plastic at the tip of the dowel. I have highlighted the corners of the sail in yellow since the marker pen lines and dots are a bit hard to see. There is no need to use a T-square, since any small error will be duplicated on the other side of the sail.
  • Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots. 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. It's probably best not to rule the whole line with the dowel, since it bends easily.

Make a diamond kite - corners 2

  • 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 photo. As before, the lines are hard to see so I have added yellow dots at the corners.

Make a diamond kite - sail edges

When doing the following, most of the width of the tape should be inside the kite's outline. 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 clear sticking tape along all the lines, letting it overlap at the corners.
  • With scissors, cut along all the black lines. This will leave most of the width of the sticking tape inside the sail outline.

How To Make A Diamond Kite - Spars And Sail Attachment

The vertical spar will have an insulation tape tie attached to it, which will be used to lash the 2 spars together before flying. Also, it has 2 marks which show where the bridle lines attach. Here's how to do all that, starting with the marks...

Make a diamond kite - preparing vertical spar

  • Measure 0.1DL in from the top end and mark around the spar with the black marker.
  • Go to the other end of the dowel and measure in 0.3DL. Again, draw a line around the spar.
  • Measure and cut off a 0.2DL length of insulation tape. Fold it in thirds, length-wise so it looks long and thin, with all the stickiness inside.
  • Measure and cut off another length of tape that is long enough to go all the way around the dowel, plus a little more. Cut it in half, in the length-wise direction, so its width is halved. It's the red tape in the photo.
  • Attach the tape at the spar-crossing point which is already marked on the dowel at 0.14DL from the tip, not far from where you made the bridle mark. The red tape is on the bottom. It wraps around the dowel, attaching the longer folded tape to the dowel.

Make a diamond kite - spar taped down

  • Prepare 6 lengths of electrical insulation tape, each one about 4 times longer than it is wide. Stick them by a corner onto something handy like a table edge. You can remove them one at a time as needed.
  • Lay down the vertical spar, lining it up with the top and bottom corners of the diamond. Also, the long tape tie needs to be on the bottom, against the plastic sail.
  • Cap the top end of the spar with tape, as in the top photo, by sticking it down over the dowel and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other side - a bit tricky, take your time!
  • For added strength, put another piece of tape across the cap, folding the corners around and under the sail plastic.
  • Do the bottom end of the spar similarly, using 2 more pieces of tape.
  • Finally, add the last 2 pieces of tape just above and below the tape tie, as in the bottom photo. Actually, place them a little further apart - I had trouble feeding the tie between the dowel and the plastic, and had to make slits in the plastic!

Now there's a little work to be done on the horizontal spar. Use 50 pound flying line, either nylon or polyester (Dacron) for the bow line.

While waiting for those drops of glue to dry on the knots, it's time to add corner straps to the left and right wing-tips of the sail.

How To Make A Diamond Kite - Bridle

Make a diamond kite - bridle knots

  • Turn the plastic over so the vertical spar lies against the floor.
  • Look for the mark near the top of the spar, and poke 2 small holes in the plastic, one on either side of the mark.
  • Look for the mark near the bottom of the spar, and poke another 2 small holes in the plastic in the same way.
  • Cut off 2DL of 50 pound flying line.
  • Tie a Simple Overhand Loop into each end. Make them as small as possible, since the loops aren't being used, just the knots!
  • Pass one end through a hole near the top of the spar, around the spar, and out through the other near-by hole in the plastic. Tuck the loop knot through and pull tight against the plastic to form a Single Wrap Slip Knot. There it is in the photo.
  • Do similarly with the other end of the line at the bottom end of the dowel. You now have a bridle loop attached to the kite. I have added black dots to show where the holes are.

Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.2DL long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small Double Overhand Loop into the other end, just to get a large knot. There's a photo of this further down, in the section titled Before The First Flight.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the Dowel Diamond! However, there is a short Setup procedure to go through before it will fly...


How To Make A Diamond Kite - Setting Up

Make a diamond kite - setting up

  1. Flex the horizontal spar just enough to slip the bow-line toggle through its loop on the other line. I find it handy to pin the middle of the spar to the ground with a foot.
  2. Spread out the plastic sail, with the vertical spar on top.
  3. Lay down the bowed horizontal spar, so its tips are near the wing-tips of the sail. Fasten it to the vertical spar with the tie. Weave the tie over and under the spars, all the way around the cross-over point. You should have enough length over to tie it off with a Granny Knot. Bear in mind that you have to be able to un-pick this knot after flying! Hence don't pull it too tight. See the top photo, which also shows the toggled bow-line.
  4. Take one corner strap, locate the spar tip in it and pull just a little tension into the sail plastic. Feed the strap around the bow-line, and then wrap it around itself, back towards the tip of the spar. See the bottom photo.
  5. Go to the other tip and do the same thing, pulling in about the same amount of tension into the sail.

How To Make A Diamond Kite - Before The First Flight

Make a diamond kite - first flight

Make up a flying line and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot. See the photo over there, where the Lark's Head has been left loose.

Suspend the kite from the Double Loop Knot. Shift the Prusik Knot along the bridle line until the kite hangs at around a 20 degree angle from the horizontal. To lock the Prusik in place, take the 2 bridle lines in one hand, the flying line in the other, and pull tight. To unlock it, you just pull the bridle line straight, with the knot in the middle.

Check the bridle slip knots on the vertical spar. Re-tighten if necessary, and put a small drop of wood glue on each so they can never come loose. Turn the kite over and also put a small drop of glue on the wood to ensure the knots don't slip up or down the spar.


How To Make A Diamond Kite - Flying!

Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-wind kite and won't like being launched in a gale. If the wind is too strong, it might not even be stable enough to fly.

Make a diamond kite - launching

The Prusik knot on the bridle line can loosen off a little over time. If necessary, pull on all the lines to tighten the knot up before a flying session.

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 taking loop after loop off the winder. Be cautious about letting line slip through your fingers. If a big gust hits the kite, the line could burn you! For any kite this big or bigger, it's a good idea to wear a glove of some sort.

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

In the launch picture over there, there's a distant Magpie near the wingtip and a White Cockatoo much nearer, center left.

The Dowel Diamond Kite eBook is a neat compilation of all the info on this page and much more.

Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Diamond kite.


How To Make A Diamond Kite - Breaking Down

I don't mean breaking down in grief because your flying session has come to an end - I mean getting the kite packed up ready for transport or storage!

Make a diamond kite - breaking down

  1. Lay the kite on the ground with the spars on top, and flying line removed.
  2. Flex a little more bow into the horizontal spar with one hand, and slip the toggle out of its loop with your other hand.
  3. Unwind the corner straps and loosen them off so the sail corners drop to the ground.
  4. Un-pick and loosen the tie where the spars cross.
  5. Lay the horizontal spar beside the vertical spar, on the sail.
  6. Pull the sail wing-tips together, then roll up the sail, starting with the spars.
  7. Finally, wrap the bridle line around the kite a few times to prevent it un-rolling. There it is in the photo, taking up no more space than a Sled kite. A good way to make a Diamond kite if you ask me!


Last updated: 15 Jan 2009

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