How to Make a Pinwheel

Written by amanda morin
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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.

Skill level:

Things you need

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

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  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

    How to Make a Pinwheel
  3. 3

    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.

    How to Make a Pinwheel
  4. 4

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

    How to Make a Pinwheel
  5. 5

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

    How to Make a Pinwheel
  6. 6

    Colour or decorate each triangle.

    How to Make a Pinwheel
  7. 7

    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.

    How to Make a Pinwheel
  8. 8

    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.

    How to Make a Pinwheel
  9. 9

    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.

    How to Make a Pinwheel

Tips and warnings

  • 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.

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