How to Make a Pinwheel

Updated March 23, 2017

A pinwheels is a fun and inexpensive toy that can bring hours of delight to a young child. They're very simple to make, too. With just a few simple supplies and a little time, you and your child can be exploring the wind with your homemade, brightly decorated pinwheels.

Begin with an 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet of paper. Construction paper is more durable, but it's not as lightweight as copy paper which can make it a little harder to spin.

Make the paper into a square. Take one edge of the paper and fold it meet the top, so that you have a large triangle and a small rectangular strip of paper. Cut off the rectangular strip.

Open up the folded square. There should be a crease in the middle. Fold the paper in half the other way so that when you open the square it has two creases making an "X." The square should essentially be divided into 4 triangles.

Make a mark about 3/4 inch of the way up each line.

Cut along each fold until you reach the mark. The paper will now have four distinct triangles attached to the centre of the paper.

Colour or decorate each triangle.

Take every other point and bring it to the centre of the pinwheel. Try not to fold it on the way up, since a fold will interfere with the pinwheel's ability to spin. Fasten the points with a brass fastener, making sure to enlarge the hole enough that the pinwheel head can spin freely.

Locate a spot on the straw about 1 to 2 inches from the top. Cut a small slit on either side in this space, taking care not to cut all the way through. Stick the pinwheel head onto the straw by sliding the brass fastener through the slits.

Allow for a little space between the head of the pinwheel and the straw and then close the fastener. You may need to play around with it a little to get the pinwheel to spin with ease.


A good compromise between construction paper and copy paper is to use lightweight oaktag, the material with which manila file folders are made. You can substitute a straight pin for the brass fastener. It will make the pinwheel spin easier but presents more danger of children being hurt.

Things You'll Need

  • 8 1/2 x 11-inch piece of paper
  • Brass fastener
  • Drinking straw
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
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About the Author

Amanda Morin served as a kindergarten teacher and early intervention specialist for 10 years, working with special-needs children and teaching parenting classes. Since becoming a freelance writer, she has written for a number of publications, including, the Maine Department of Education, ModernMom and others. Morin holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Maine, Orono.