How to Make Paddle Fans

Updated February 21, 2017

Paddle fans are a traditional form of nonfolding hand fans shaped with a round (or off-round) head attached to a stick handle. While paddle fans are functional for personal cooling, they're at least as popular as a decoration, functioning as a type of canvas for calming and beautiful prints of outdoor and nature-related scenes. Use a homemade paddle fan as a means of personalising your home decor or showcasing your own artistic works.

Draw or print out a design image for the fan on paper. Choose any image you like, but consider some traditional fan designs, such as flowers or other nature scenes. For best results, choose an image of an object on a white background. Make two copies, one for each side (or choose two complementary images).

Use the scroll saw to cut a circle of balsa wood with a 6-inch diameter.

Glue the paper images to the balsa wood circle. Coat the wood lightly, but completely, with wood glue. Center the picture on the middle of the circle on each side. Trim away any excess paper on each side.

Cut an 8-inch length of dowel.

Carve a notch in the end of the dowel using the oscillating cutter. Use a thin, cylindrical cutting attachment, start the cut at the end of the dowel, positioning the cutting end perpendicular to the dowel. Make the cut by moving the tool slowly but smoothly through the wood.

Test the notch to make sure it fits by sliding the wooden circle into the notch. If it doesn't fit, make the notch larger as needed.

Paint the handle with black acrylic paint. Let it dry.

Fill the notch in the dowel with wood glue.

Attach the paddle to the notch in the dowel. Center the image on the paddle circle above the dowel. Let the glue dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer printer or drawing paper
  • Balsa wood
  • Wood glue
  • Ruler
  • Scroll saw
  • Craft dowel, ½ to 1 inch diameter
  • Oscillating cutter
  • Black acrylic paint
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About the Author

Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.