Instructions to Make a Small Windmill Fan

To demonstrate the effect of wind on windmill blades or just to or occupy bored children with a paper craft project, teach them how to make their own windmill fan or pinwheel. With only one sheet of paper, a drinking straw and a few other basic materials, kids can make this art project within an hour. In addition, they will then have a toy that they made themselves that they can play with. The paper windmill can be used indoors or out, which adds to the fun.

Punch a hole through the sides of one end of the drinking straw with a knitting needle or sharp pencil. Make the hole about a 1/2 inch from the end of the straw.

Fold the square sheet of paper in half diagonally, corner to corner, to create a triangle. Line up the sides evenly. Crease the fold and unfold the paper. Fold it again on the other diagonal using the other two corners, crease and unfold. Now, you should have a square sheet of paper with an X pattern creased from each of the four corners.

Cut from one corner along the crease. Make the cut just a little more than halfway to the middle intersection of the creases. Do not cut all the way to the middle or the windmill will not work. Repeat, cutting from the other three corners in turn a little more than halfway to the middle.

Place the paper on a flat table. Bend one cut corner to the middle, overlapping the middle point a little. Be careful not to crease this bend. It should stick up from the paper in an arc shape. Hold this in place with your finger.

Skip the cut corner that was next to the one you just bent. Grab the next cut corner and bend it to the middle, also overlapping it on top of the first one. Repeat two more times, so that you are holding four alternating corners that are bent and overlap the middle point.

Use a knitting needle or sharp pencil to punch a hole through all four bent-in corners and the middle of the paper square.

Insert the brass paper fastener through all the layers of paper. Insert the bead onto the paper fastener behind the paper.

Insert the paper fastener into the hole in the end of the drinking straw and bend the ends in opposite directions, to hold the windmill fan in place on the end of the straw. Now, your pinwheel is ready for fun.


Decorate the paper with markers or crayons before beginning this project to add to the appearance of your windmill. Blow on the windmill from the side to see it spin, or take it outside on a breezy day to let the wind make it spin. Tie ribbons to the ends of the paper fastener on the opposite side of the straw from the windmill for a more festive look.


Be careful using scissors or sharp objects such as pencils and knitting needles. These can cause injury to eyes and other body parts.

Things You'll Need

  • Square piece of construction paper
  • Plastic drinking straw
  • Brass paper fastener
  • Bead with hole large enough for the paper fastener to fit through
  • Scissors
  • Sharp pencil or knitting needle
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About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.