48" Rokkaku Kite Workshop Tips and Suggestions

Follow these basic guidelines to ensure a successful workshop. And, have fun!

Things to do before the kite building session:

  • CHECK YOUR INVENTORY OF PARTS - See the inventory sheet
    • Your parts are sorted in groups of ten (10) kites. The bags are labeled with the Group Number, Contents, Number of Pieces needed for each kite, and the Step Number and Page Number that corresponds to the Assembly Instructions.
  • Be sure to have on hand enough small wire cutters or scissors, Sharpie markers and tape measures or short rulers, 6 to 12 inches. We suggest one set per kite. At a minimum for large groups, have one set for 3 to 4 kites. Assign a Tool Master to keep track of them.
  • Print one copy of pages 2 and 13 of the Assembly Instructions for each kite being assembled.
    • A copy of page thirteen should be packed with each assembled kite. This is the Field Guide used when flying and adjusting the kite.
  • Print out enough Some Useful Knots and Tyvek Painting Tips so that each team can have their own copy. These are found on the mini CD that is included with the materials.
  • Identify your team leaders. These should be people that follow written instructions well. They may be artists or craftsmen. To help with the knot tying, find former Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls and the fishermen in the group.
    • Very Important: Take the time to make sure that all of your team leaders understand the description of the parts, the assembly steps, and are familiar with knot construction. Most people are Knot Deficient and may need additional help with this part of the assembly process.
    • Work in small teams with one team leader. We suggest 2 to 3 people per team. Large groups may vary.
  • DO NOT hand out all of the parts at one time. We suggest that you set up tables and sort out the parts by group and the construction steps. Pass out the parts as needed. People like to fiddle with the pieces. This leads to confusion and lost parts. Assign a Keeper of the Parts.
    • Leave the labels on the bridle lines until they are needed.

Decorate and paint the kites after assembly. Painting preparation steps:

  • Refer to the Tyvek Painting Tips sheet.
  • Purchase an assortment of Sharpie markers and bottles of inexpensive artist's acrylic paint.
  • Have lots of containers with water for clean up. Use clean yogurt containers or plastic beverage cups for mixing the paints. Buy inexpensive foam brushes, small sponges and lots of paper towels.
  • Find your artists and get them involved in this process.

Things to do once you have your teams assembled:

  • Identify and describe all of the parts with the group. Have the teams follow along with their copy of page 2 of the assembly instructions. Summarize the construction steps.
  • Let the workshop participants know they will be given parts as needed.

Kite assembly steps - Follow the Assembly Instructions:

Use parts labeled STEP 1

The initial step in the kite building process involves picking the colored Corner Pocket pieces and Reinforcing Dots (1-set per kite), (1) Spoon, (9) Zip ties and (1) Kite Sail.

It is easier for large groups (30 or more) to set these parts out on the worktables prior to start of the workshop. Remember: Hand out only the parts for this step.

  • Following page 3 of the instructions:
    • Demonstrate how to handle the adhesive-backed pieces.
    • Apply the dots. Insert zip ties. Trim zip tie ends.
  • Following page 4 of the instructions:
    • Demonstrate how to make up the Nose/Tail and Corner tab sets.
  • Following pages 5 & 6 of the instructions:
    • Apply Nose/Tail and Corner tab sets. Use the technique learned in applying the reinforcing dots. Be sure to apply all of the sets to one side of the kite sail first and then turn the sail over to finish the process.
  • Following page 7 of the instructions:
    • Hand out (1) Wooden Spine and (2) Wooden Cross Spars
    • Build the Tail/Nose and Corner spar pockets. Make sure the zip ties are not too tight; the wooden spars and spine need to easily slide in and out.

Use parts labeled STEP 2

  • Following pages 8, 9 & 10 of the instructions:
    • Hand out the parts in this order
      1. Bag A Wire Loops. Top Bridle (second-longest line)
      2. Bag B Bottom Bridle (longest line)
      3. Bag C Flight Angle Adjustment and Connecting Loops line
    • Keep the labels on the bridle lines until needed.
      • Use the Some Useful Knots page as a reference for knot tying. Double and triple check your knot construction.

Use parts labeled STEP 3

  • Following pages 11 & 12 of the instructions:
    • Hand out the Tensioning Buttons and Tensioning Lines (packaged together).
      • The most important point in this step of construction is to make sure that the Top and Bottom Bridle Lines DO NOT wrap around the Tensioning Line.
      • Remember: Pay attention to knot construction.

Well done!! The kite is now assembled and ready to decorate.