How to Make a Victorian Fan for Your Dress

Written by melissa j. bell | 13/05/2017
How to Make a Victorian Fan for Your Dress
Victorian fans are similar to wooden Japanese fans. (fan image by windzepher from

Fancy accessories were extremely popular in the Victorian era and often had practical applications along with fitting a fashion aesthetic. Attractive lace parasols, or sun umbrellas, were used to keep the sun off exposed skin, silk and suede gloves served to keep the hands protected and decorative hand-held fans kept women cool in the age before central air-conditioning. You can make your own Victorian fan accessory to match a Victorian dress or costume outfit.

Take a piece of 1/4-inch thick wood of any desired type. Draw out rectangles on the wood that section the wood into 10 pieces that are 10 inches long and 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, depending on the style you would like for your fan.

Cut along the drawn lines with a saw to get the 10 separate wood pieces. Wear safety goggles and follow all safety precautions for using a saw.

Sand all rough edges of the wood pieces until smooth.

Drill a hole through one end of each wooden stick that is large enough to fit the head pin. Stack the wooden sticks together, lining up the holes.

Push the head pin through the holes in the wooden sticks. Close the end of the head pin with the needle-nosed pliers, so that it does not slip out of the holes.

Pull the fan "skeleton" into the open position, so that all of the wooden sticks are spread out.

Lay a piece of lace fabric over the top of the open fan. Cut the fabric to fit the fan, using any shape you like. For example, you can cut the lace to fit only the top of the fan or you can make it long enough to reach the handle.

Lay a thin line of hot glue on top of the first wooden stick and press the edge of the lace on top of it. Make sure you do not burn your fingers.

Continue laying down lines of glue on top of each of the wooden sticks, pressing the lace against each one, until you are finished. Let the glue dry completely.

Things you need

  • Wood, 1/4" to 1/8" thick
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Table or hand saw
  • Safety goggles
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Head pin
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Lace fabric
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun

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