Today I’m going to show you how to make pinwheels – they are so pretty and they really spin! These are a simple, summertime craft project you can make with household materials.
Since I wanted to make these for my kids, I really needed to find a way to make sure the pinwheel wouldn’t break apart and send pieces flying everywhere! This method works beautifully!
I had posted another pinwheel project before, but I just wasn’t happy with the results. You can check out my other paper pinwheels tutorial here, but keep in mind that I much prefer this new method (below) of securely attaching the pinwheel to the wood skewer.
Paper Pinwheels Supplies:
Here’s what you’ll need:
- paper cut into 6″ x 6″ squares
- wood skewers
- a glue gun
- small beads
- sewing pins
- a thumb tack
- needle nose pliers
I used thick paper with a texture on one side, but you can use whatever type of paper you want. Plain, patterned, thick, or thin – The thinner the paper, the faster your pinwheel will spin!
Any small beads will work – as long as they are round and smooth. The bead is what will push the paper away from the wood skewer and help make the pinwheel spin.
How to Make Pinwheels:
Step 1: Cut your paper
Cut your paper to 6″ x 6″ squares. Use a pencil to lightly mark an “X” from corner to corner on the paper.
Poke the holes and cut according to the template below. The dots are where you need to poke the holes, and the “cut here” lines are where you’ll need to cut.
I used a thumbtack to poke the holes. The sewing pin would probably work too, but I found it easier to press down with the end of the tack. Just make sure you have a stack of papers or a magazine under it.
You can estimate the distance you cut towards the center as you go. You really don’t need to be exact as long as each of the cuts is close to the same length as all the others.
Step 2: Make the pinwheel shape
Use needle nose pliers to bend the sewing pin (it bends really easily). I bent mine so there was about 1/2″ from the ball to the bend.
You need to be able to fit the paper, the bead and the skewer in this space, so it will depend on the thickness of all the supplies you’re using.
Poke the pin through a hole in one of the corners. Then poke it through the second, third and fourth corners.
Finally, poke the pin through the hole in the middle of the paper. Maneuver the papers around the bend in the pin so the entire pin is poking out the back:
Step 3: Make the part that let’s it spin
Slide the bead onto the pin:
Use the thumbtack to poke a hole through the skewer about 1/4″ from the end.
You are likely going to split the wood of skewer, but that’s okay, as long as you make an opening for the pin to go through.
Poke the pin through the hole in the skewer:
Rotate the pin so that it is lying flat against the skewer:
Step 4: Glue it all in place
Use your thumb to hold the bottom of the pin flat against the skewer and then use hot glue to cover the top part of the pin.
Fill in the crack in the skewer where it split. You’ll have to keep your thumb on the bottom of the pin while the glue dries or it will pop up away from the skewer.
Once the top part of the glue is dry, hot glue the bottom part of the pin, being careful to completely cover the end of the pin (you don’t want it poking anyone!).
As long as you put a generous amount of hot glue on, the sharp part of the pin will be completely buried. You want the pin to be completely secure so it won’t pop off while people are blowing the pinwheel.
The photo below shows the other method I tried, but I just wasn’t happy with it. Instead of using a sewing pin, I just used a thumbtack, but the thumbtack wasn’t long enough to securely stay in place. So within two or three turns of the pinwheel, everything would pop apart and the thumbtack would go flying – no one wants a thumbtack somewhere lost on the floor!
Step 5: Play with them!
With all the hot glue, these things are REALLY secure. I feel confident that you can give these to your kids to play with. Obviously you’ll need to use your own judgement here, but as long as your kids aren’t completely vicious with them, they should safely stay in one piece.
And this is what they look from the front. Aren’t they pretty?!
I used thick paper, so we had to blow a little harder to spin them around, but they still worked beautifully! My 5 year old had no trouble getting them to spin around!
Aren’t they gorgeous? They’d make great favours to give out at a party or barbecue! Make them from your favourite coloured paper, or use patterned paper. They turn out perfectly every time!
You have no idea how much it pains me in the photo above that that silly green pinwheel is crooked. lol Holding 6 pinwheels with one hand is SO NOT EASY! (Just another behind the scenes blogger moment for you…) haha
These make beautiful party decorations, or even party favours! They are really easy to make and look wonderful when they are finished. You can make them from any colour paper to match your decor. And best of all, they really spin!
This post was originally published on July 12, 2015.