A Box Kite! (that's Almost Bigger Than My Wife!)




My wife had a sad little kite, a super grover kite, and she needed a new one. So, I made her a new one. (obviously).

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials

Things you need:

Scissors (or hot-cutter)
Needle and Thread

8 1/4"x36" Wood Dowel rods
4 1/4"x18" Wood Dowel rods
2 yards .075 oz Ripstop Nylon
3/8" Plastic tubing
(the ID of the tubing is a bit bigger than 1/4")
1" wide nylon webbing.

I obtained my materials from kitebuilder.com. I'm sure you can get all this stuff at a hobby store or kite building shop.

Step 2: Prepare the Dowels!

I ordered four 48" dowel rods so that I could saw them and have eight that are exactly 18", because if I used the 36" ones, they would have been 18" minus the kerf of my saw blade. Little did I know that I needed them a bit shorter than 18". So, if you can help it, don't get rods bigger than you need.

So you should have eight 17 and 3/8" dowel rods.

Step 3: Prepare the Connections!

The connections will be made of 3/8" plastic tubing. Cut it into 1.5" pieces, and then make another cut halfway through each piece in the middle. Careful not to cut all the way through them, because they will be used as elbow connectors for the frame.

Step 4: Prepare the Sails!

Unroll the ripstop nylon, and then cut it into four panels, each being 12"x41".

Put the first panel on top of the second panel, and sew them together at the ends, 1/4" in from the edge. Then hem the top and bottom edge 1/4" in from the edge. Do this on the third and fourth panels as well.

After the sewing and hemming, you should have 2 loops, and when laid flat they should each measure 11"x40.5".

These will be the top and bottom sails of the kite.

Step 5: Prepare the Frame! Assemble the Kite!

Now, remember how the dowel rods had to be slightly less than 18"? That's because we are going to butt it against another dowel rod and we need the kite to be about 18" wide, and 36" long.

Because of my awesome sewing abilities, the sails didn't end up exactly 40.5" long, so I didn't need to cut my 36" dowel rods to adjust them.

Enough. Now assemble the kite, using the 18" and 36" ones to make four crosses, and then use the remaining 36" dowels for the edges.

Now, put the sails on. (this isn't the final kite product, so don't worry.)

If the sails are too tight, you may have to cut off a bit of length on the dowel rods. if they are too loose, you may have to restitch them to make them tighter.

Try to get them snug enough to stay put without sagging, but loose enough to be able to slip on the frame.

Step 6: Prepare the Loops and Pockets!

Now, get the Nylon webbing.

Cut it (hotcut if you can) into eight 1" pieces, and eight 1.5" pieces.

fold the 1.5" pieces in half, and then sew it into a little pocket. Sew these little pockets on the top of the sail (on the inside) at even intervals, so that they match up with the vertical dowel rods. Sew two sides of the 1" pieces on directly 11" under the pockets, so that the vertical dowel will slide through it.

Do this for both sails.

Step 7: Assemble the Kite!!!

Now assemble the kite.

slip the Dowels through the loops and pockets we just made, and then attach the cross-spars and longerons (technical name for the horizontal pieces of the frame that form the cross).

The kite should be in the shape of a Rhombus. After your kite is assembled, turn it to where you are looking at two sides (the front of the kite.)

At the top, attach a 30" line of 50 lb. test line. Sew it through and attach to the sail and around the longeron. Do this on the bottom, as well, but at the top of the bottom sail, using a 39" line. this will make the sail the proper angle. Tie these two lines together at the ends, and attach a key ring.

Attach the kite line and fly it!

Step 8: Notes on Safety, Design, and Credits.

Standard kite safety applies with this and all other kites.
Don't fly near power lines, trees, or in thunderstorms. Or near airports. Or in highways, places with obstacles, cliffs, lions, tigers and bears.

Wear gloves so the kite string doesn't cut up your fingers, and don't stare into the sun.


You'll probably be most concerned with min. wind speed required.

the handy equation I used was 7xsqrt(weight/area). weight in oz, area in sq feet. the area is the effective area presented to the wind, which in our case is 36"x11"x4sails. divide by 144 to get square feet, and we have 11sq feet. quite a bit, that's why you should wear gloves.

7 is a coeffecient, .075 oz ripstop nylon weighs .075 oz per square yard, and these dowels probably weight around 60 pcf. after a bit of math, I came up with a wind speed of around 6 mph.


Design taken from The Magnificent Book of Kites: Explorations in Design, Construction, Enjoyment and Flight by Maxwell Eden.

You may have noticed it in the background of some of the pictures.

And to my friend spencer, who let me borrow his apartment so i could hide the thing from my wife until christmas, and for letting me borrow his digital camera to document and create this instructable.

Hopefully I'll get some pictures of the kite in action soon.

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Skateboard Contest

      Skateboard Contest

    14 Discussions

    this kind of box kite will fly with a single bridle point. Your instructions on this seemed a bit confusing to me. could you clarify how you attatched and trimmed your bridle? I love box kites! thanks for sharing.

    1 reply

    ok, sure. I had two pieces of string, and I attached it at the top (looking at the kite from the wide side) of the top sail and at the top of the bottom sail. I just used a needle and thread to sew it to one of the little black things that holds the frame to the sail. So one longer string, one shorter string, and then pull them out as far as they'll reach and you can see the angle the kite will fly at. Tie the two ends together, and attach your kite string there. I used a fishing lure device that allows for quick lure changes, don't know what its called. You could use a key ring, or something like that. Hope this helps!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    wow, major over engineering. 4 long sticks. 2 X's (one top, one bottom). Newspaper skin. Tie on the string and go have fun. I built one like that when I was 9. The thing you're doing is heavy and a lot of work for the payoff. AND when you lose it in the wind from a broken string you've lost 10 hours of work. Lighten up. Fly a kite.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Well, yeah, it could have been simple. Sometimes that's not the point. Since it was a gift for my wife (she's an artist, btw), it meant a lot to her that I did put so much work into it. You may have noticed her happy face in the pictures! And yes, it could have been super simple, but...I had fun making it and we both had lots of fun flying it.

    And, in heavy winds, it does make this awesome resonating sound that travels down the string. A newspaper kite won't do that.

    I still need to dig out some old pics of the kite in action.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Reference the rip stop nylon for the sail, is there a certain weight or thickness of material that is needed?

    1 reply

    12 years ago

    My wife's bigger than your kite.


    12 years ago

    If you change the length of the cross-spars to make a more lozenge-shape cross-section (make the vertical ones shorter and the horizontal spars longer), you will achieve significantly more lift from the kite. If you have stability problems, make the longerons (the end-to-end spars) about 20% longer (any more, and you'll need thicker spars to prevent bending).


    12 years ago

    Nice looking wife.


    12 years ago

    Great job! I might take a break from my power kite obesssion to try buuilding one of these! How much do you think the parts cost you?

    1 reply

    12 years ago

    Nice work, well documented too. I thought that kite looked familiar, then you mentioned the book which I have also, good book with lots of cool kites.