Make the sail

This first step is making the sail. In 20 steps we'll show you one of the ways to make a sail for a trick kite. There are many ways how to build a kite, here we stick with the easiest way. Later, when you get skilled in building kites, you will no doubt develop your own style of working and building. :-)

Step 1: Putting the plan and the templates together

1. Print out the plan and the templates on plain print paper and tape all pages according to their number, using the short lines as guides.

2. Cut out all the templates. The straight parts can be done easily with a cutter and metal ruler.

3. Tape the plan to the soft side of the hardboard.

Watch Out: Make sure the plan is evened out and flat. Air bubbles under the paper will cause problems when glueing the sail parts together.

Step 2: Cutting the sail, Mylar, Dacron and the fortification for the nose

1. Turn the hardboard with the hard side up.

2. Lay down the Icarex or Chikara on the hardboard and prevent air bubbles or folds.

Watch Out: the fabric can't be tensioned, we don't want problems with deforming the sail.

3. Put the mould on the fabric and check if the lines on the fabric are lined-out well.

- Fix the mould on the fabric with two pieces of paper tape and cut the fabric with a soldering iron sliding against the side of the mould. Rest assured that a soldering iron of 40 watts will not set the place on fire as long as you don't hold it steady in one spot.

- First cut the sides of the mould where there is no paper tape.

Extra: By holding a metal ruler at 2mm of the paper's border, you prevent the mould from deforming or bending during the cutting.

Watch Out: pay attention to the fact that all cuts from the same mould need to have the same line-out of the lines in the fabric. The little squares need to be in the same orientation.

4. Cut a small ribbon of 800 mm long en 25 mm wide out of Mylar for the fortification of the spine. If you don't want to use Mylar, you can also use Ripstop.

5. Cut the two pieces out of Mylar for the fortification of the sail under the stand-offs. Instead of Mylar you can also use two pieces of Icarex/Chicara glued together or Dacron.

6. From a length of Dacron, cut out the fortification for the spine underneath the central-T, behind the upper spreader and the nose bag.

Step 3: Putting together and glueing the sail parts

1. Turn the hardboard with the plan on top to glue the sail together.

2. Fix the sail part that is closest to the spine at the left side of the plan.

Watch Out: Check that the sail parts align perfectly with the outside border of the kite.

3. Then fix the sail part that comes below the first part.

4. Apply a small line of glue in the middle of the seam on the sail part with the brightest color.

Watch Out: The darkest color sail part is always glued on top of a brighter color, that makes the seam invisible from the front side of the kite. The part we are working on now is the front side of the right side of the kite.

5. Put the sail parts on each other and press them together with your fingertips. You may keep them on their spot with a piece of paper tape.

Watch Out: Make sure that the sail parts are glued together nice and flat without deforming the fabric.

6. Repeat the steps above until you have completed the half sail that is on the plan. The last part to glue is always the part that includes the tip.

7. Now put together and glue the left half of the kite.

Watch Out: With the left half, you must reverse the order of the parts and glue brighter parts on top of the darker ones. Also work your way from the spine towards the tip. Best is to use paper tape and tape the parts on top of the right side of the kite.

Step 4: Sewing the two halves of the sail

The sewing of the sail is best done with a "three step zigzag seam" or a "waved seam" and a "needle number 80".

Watch Out: Tune your sewing machine to have the width and the length of the zigzag seam the same.

1. Put down the right half of the sail with the front side up.

2. First we sew the seams that aren't completely across the sail. To do this we start at the outside of the sail. We stop the "three step zigzag seam" or the "waved seam" at the outside of the seam we cross.

Watch Out: Make sure the needle is still in the sail when you lift the foot of the machine.

3. While the needle stays in the sail we change the machine from three step zigzag seam mode to a "straight seam".

4. Turn the sail to get the front side of the foot in alignment of the last part of the zigzag seam you just finished.

5. Put the foot down and sew by hand (turn on the wheel of the machine with your hand to sew) three stitches back in the holes you made with the three step zigzag seam.

6. Turn the sail upside down and pull out the last stitch.

7. Knot together both thread ends and cut these 1mm away from the knot.

8. If all those seams that stop in another seam are done, you can sew the seams that run completely over the sail, starting from the outside.

Watch Out: Sew the sail always with the front side up. Don't forget to regularly check out the seam. Don't forget to remove left over thread immediately.

Step 5 : Glueing the two halves (at the spine)

1. Line the right half (front side) with the outside border of the plan and fix the sail with paper tape.

2. Glue the left half onto the right half, using the printed seam from the plan.

Watch Out: Because the spine side isn't straight we glue the part from nose to the Central-T first. The bottom part (from Central-T to tail) we'll glue when the top-part glue is dry and hard.

3. Leave the sail front side up on the plan for the next step.

Step 6: Glueing the fortification for the stand-offs

Most of the time we use Mylar. You can also replace the Mylar by glueing two pieces of Icarex/Chikara on top of each other. Or you could use Dacron.

1. Because the sail is still front side up, we'll start with the fortification of the right half of the kite. Glue the fortification for the standoffs and slide it under the sail to get in line with the marks on the plan.

2. Turn the sail with the back side of the left half pointing up, put it down in line with the outside of the plan and fix it with paper tape.

3. Glue the fortification for the standoffs to the left side of the kite.

4. Release the sail from the plan.

Step 7 : Glueing Mylar or Ripstop as fortification

1. Turn the sail with the back side up in a position whereby you can easily mark the width of the Mylar/Ripstop in the middle of the kite.

2. From the middle of the seam where left and right half sail are glued together, you may mark left and right at 12.5 mm from the axis. Do this 4 times over the length of the sail.

3. Glue the Mylar/Ripstop ribbon in the middle of the kite.

Step 8: Sewing the fortification for the spine and stand-offs

1. Turn the sail with the front side up and sew the seam of the two sail halves with a three steps zigzag seam.

2. Turn the sail with the back side up and sew the Mylar/Ripstop at 1 to 1,5mm from the border with a straight seam. Repeat this for the other side of the fortification.

3. Sew the fortification for the stand-offs at 1 to 1,5mm from the border with a straight seam.

EXTRA: Tune the seam distance between two holes to be 3 mm, to get a nice result.

Step 9: Glueing and sewing of the fortification for the upper spreader

1. Put the sail with the front side up align with the plan and fix with paper tape.

2. Take the fortification for the upper spreader (trapezium shaped piece of Dacron) and glue this on the marked spot of the plan.

3. Sew the fortification for the upper spreader at 1 to 1,5mm from the border with a straight seam.

Step 10: Glueing and sewing the Ripstop for the trailing edges

1. Fold the Ripstop in the middle over the full length in two. The easiest method is to take the Ripstop together between your fingers over a distance of about 10 cm and rub that segment across the hard side of the hardboard, then the next segment of 10 cm and so on.

2. Put the sail with the front side up and the tail close to you.

3. At 4 mm from the back side of the Ripstop, apply some glue over a length of 10 cm.

4. Slide the Ripstop under the sail and press it against the curve of the trailing edge. Make sure that the last part of the Ripstop ribbon comes beyond the sail.

Watch Out: this job has be done very strict: the Ripstop must be following the curves of the trailing edge perfectly.

5. Repeat this over lengths of 10 cm until you reach the tip.

6. Glue the front side of the Ripstop against the sail, applying pressure with your fingers. Again, do this in segments. Pay attention that you don't glue all the way, just on the outside of the Ripstop (the bottom part needs to stay open for the leechline)

7. Sew the Ripstop with a "three steps zigzag seam". We start sewing at the tip.

Watch Out: stay away as far as possible from the bottom side, that's where the leechline is running through, so don't sew it there.

8. At the tail we sew the Ripstop from the second Trailing edge with a smooth passing and stay away from the bottom side!

Step 11: Glueing of the nose bag

The nose bag is the piece of Dacron that is glued to the nose, under the leading edges. On the back side of the sail we will use the nose bag to put the top end of the spine in.

Watch Out: The middle part of the nose bag may NOT be glued at the backside!

1. Mark the centre of the nose bag. On the side that will be used for the back of the kite, mark two lines at 12 mm from the border.

2. Put glue on both sides of the nose bag WITHOUT glueing the space for the spine.

3. Slide the back part of the nose bag under the sail and bring it in line with the top of the sail.

4. Fold the nose bag over and apply enough pressure.

Step 12: Sewing of the spine tunnel

The spine tunnel is the piece of Velcro that is sewn to the back of the kite to connect the spine at the bottom part of the sail.

1. Put the sail with the back side up and the tail close to you.

2. Cut some Velcro from the hard side of 40mm long en 25mm wide.

3. Fix the piece of Velcro just above the trailing edge on the Mylar/Ripstop that strengthens the spine. Use paper tape to do this.

Watch Out: Make sure the tape is not wider than 19 mm, so you have room to sew next to the tape.

4. Sew the Velcro with a straight seam at about 1 mm from the border. At the start and at the end you sew 3 steps forward and 3 steps backwards.

Step 13: Glueing and sewing of the fortification for the central-T

1. Put the sail down with the front side up, fix the top part with paper tape.

2. Mark the point of the fortification for the Central-T.

3. Glue the fortification on the front side. Align the top of the Dacron with the marked point.

4. Turn the sail and check if the Dacron is glued in the centre. If it is needed, the Dacron can be moved for some time before it hardens.

5. Cut a piece of Velcro from the soft side (the part of hard Velcro that serves as a the spine tunnel is already there) with a length of 120mm and 25mm wide.

6. Glue the piece of Velcro between the Dacron and the sail. It is positioned against the bottom of the spine tunnel.

7. Mark the sewing line on the fortification.

Watch Out: On the bottom mark the sewing line at 5 mm from the bottom of the trailing edge by which the leechline can pass freely (red lines). The rest of the sewing line is drawn at 1 to 1,5 mm from the border of the fortification (yellow lines).

8. Mark the bottom of the fortification at 1 to 1,5 mm from the bottom of the trailing edge and from the border of the fortification.

Watch Out: Make sure you don't put marks on the trailing edge.

9. Sew the fortification and the Velcro with a straight seam. Start at the bottom point (between the red lines). The bottom part is sewn in a triangular shape, double.

10. Sew the bottom part.

11. Take the mould for the fortification for the Central-T and tape this to the Dacron.

12. Cut the hole for the Central-T with a fine cutter.

Step 14: Glueing of the leading edges

1. Cut two pieces of Dacron, 50mm wide and a length of 1500mm.

2. Fold the Dacron double over the full length. The easiest method is to take the Dacron together between your fingers over a distance of about 10cm and rub that segment across the hard side of the hardboard, then the next segment of 10 cm and so on (look at step 10 for some pictures).

3. On one end you mark 60 mm from the end. Here we will make a fortification for the tensioning of the leading edge. Fold over the 60mm part and glue tight.

Watch Out: put a weight on this glued part, or the stiffness of the Dacron will tear the glue apart and make it let go unfold.

4. Tape the leading edge from the right sail aligned with the bottom border, tape the upper side. The fortification is at the bottom part.

5. Put the sail down with the front side up and glue the sail onto the leading edge, starting from the bottom. This is a difficult job, use papertape to help holding everything according to the bend in the leading edge.

6. At the transverse lines on the plan you must make two cuts. This is where we will place the APA connector. We use this method to prevent our flying lines to get stuck behind the connectors.

Watch Out: The cuts in the right sail start at the fold and are 17 mm long. The rest is 8mm from the top of the leading edge. Do this step for the upper and the lower spreader.

7. Glue the front side of the leading edge. Put glue only at the inner side, allowing free space in the leading edge to get the spars in.

8. Cut the top of the leading edge according to the shape of the left sail.

9. Tape the leading edge for the left sail alligned with the bottom border, tape the upper side. The fortification is at the bottom part.

10. Before glueing the sail onto the leading edge, the cuts for the connectors have to be made.

Watch Out: The cuts for the connectors of the left sail start UNDER the fold and end at 8 mm from the bottom side of the leading edge.

Step 15: Marking the leading edges and the nose bag

1. Put the sail down with the front side upwards and the nose close to you.

2. Draw a vertical line in the centre of the seam from the spine to the top where the two leading edges meet (green arrow). Slide the ruler down until the top of both leading edges is visible for 15 mm. At that spot, draw a horizontal line.

3. Connect both ends of that horizontal line with the sewing of the Mylar/Ripstop that fortifies the spine (yellow lines).

Step 16: Sewing of the leading edges and the nose bag

1. Place the heavier thread (100% polyester) and the number 100 needle on your sewing machine.

2. Put the sail down with the front side up and the tip under the foot of the sewing machine.

3. Set the sewing machine on a zigzag seam with the highest possible step (interval).

4. Follow the steps outlined here to start the sewing. The first hole is at 2 mm from the end of the tip and at 1 to 1,5 mm from the border of the leading edge.

Watch Out: It is important that you use the same 4 holes. At the end of "step 6" in the picture, set the sewing machine to a three steps zigzag seam or a wave seam.

5. Sew the three steps zigzag seam up to the mark you made on the nose bag and the leading edges. (look at step 15)

6. Change the three steps zigzag seam or the wave seam to a straight seam and the interval at 4 mm.

7. Sew the nose bag at 1 to 1,5 mm from the border and end this sewing against the seam on the leading edge.

8. Pull the front thread from the tip backwards and knot it to the back thread.

Step 17: Inserting the leech line

The leech line is a piece of line that is inserted in the trailing edge to keep an even tension to the sail at the bottom towards the stand-offs, doing so prevents the sail from making an annoying noise. Tension can be tuned, so we can change to some extend the way the air washes over the trailing edge.

1. Take a fine strong line of about 3m long and a long thick stopper needle (one without a sharp end).

2. Put the leech line through the seam of the tip between the Ripstop of the trailing edge. Keep sliding the needle sideways towards the spine.

3. At the tail, pull out the needle and leech line. Pull the line out for about 1,5 m long.

4. Insert the needle and the leech line in the trailing edge from the other side of the kite.

5. Keep sliding the needle and leech line away from the tail until they appear at the other tip.

Step 18: Glueing and sewing of the fortification of the nose

1. Cut off the excessive parts of the leading edges with a soldering iron.

Watch Out: Don't cut into the nose bag.

2. Cut the fortification out of an old sports bag or car safety belt.

3. Mark the axis of the fortification over the whole length and also the centre. Mark the centre of the nose bag.

4. Glue the fortification on the sail and apply enough pressure. Check if the marks are aligned.

5. We use paper tape as a reference for the sewing. The first piece of tape is aligned with the sewing of the nose bag. The second piece marks the sewing of the leading edges.

6. The sewing is in 4 steps, always with a straight seam. To stay clear about this, we marked steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the nose. It's meant to be sewed 4 steps at one side at a time :-)

A. Start at the last three steps zigzag seam on the leading edge and sew up to the piece of tape you put over the nose bag.

B. Turn the sail and sew to just over the edge of the fortification following the paper tape.

C. Turn the sail 180° and sew again the last piece you just did. Remove the paper tape that aligns with the leading edge and continue your sewing right at the top of the fortification.

D. Turn the sail and sew the fortification at 1 mm from the border of the leading edge.

It is best to return 3 steps of the sewing at the end of the seam, that will make the sewing stronger.

7. Repeat the above for the other side of the nose.

8. Cut the excessive parts of the fortification with a soldering iron, without cutting into the leading edges!

Step 19: Cutting out the space for the yoyo stoppers

1. Tape the sail to the plan. At page 5 of the plan you will find a circle that marks the place for the yoyo stopper.

2. Mark the centre of that spot. From that mark, draw a short line of 10 mm long at 8mm left and right of the centreline. Cut the rectangle out with a soldering iron.

3. Using a sharp cutter, cut open the molten pieces Dacron.

Step 20: The holes for tensioning the leading edges and placing the stand-offs

The Leading edges

1. Draw a small line at the inside of the leading edge at 45mm from the tip.

2. Make a small hole with a puncher grip.

Watch Out: Make sure NOT to punch through the thread.

The stand-offs

1. Put the sail on the plan, front side up.

2. Mark the holes for the stand-offs according to the lines that transverse the bottom line of the plan.

3. Put the sail on the plan, back side up.

4. Mark the holes for the stand-offs according to the lines that transverse the bottom line of the plan.

5. Using the puncher grip, make the holes at 6 mm from the border of the trailing edge. The size of the holes depends on the sail connectors you use.

The sail is ready ! You can now make the kite's frame.