How to Build a Basic Miniature Windmill

Written by louise harding
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How to Build a Basic Miniature Windmill
Making a basic miniature windmill for a school project can be accomplished with cardboard. (windmill image by Bruce Allinson from

Windmills were first used around A.D. 500 in Persia. According to TelosNet of Colorado, the first windmills were used to grind grain and pump water. You can build a basic miniature windmill for a school or child's craft project in about thirty minutes. Making a basic windmill is an excellent classroom project for science or English class. Basic windmills can be constructed from cardboard or cardstock and with other common office supplies. Decorate your windmill however you see fit.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2 thin pieces of cardboard (or heavy cardstock), 8 ½-by-11 inches
  • Transparent tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 1 brad
  • 1 brown piece of construction paper, 8 ½-by-11 inches

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  1. 1

    Fold one piece of cardboard in half, aligning the ends for a straight fold. Fold the cardboard in half again and crease by pressing down with your fingernail onto the fold. Unfold the cardboard.

  2. 2

    Stand the cardboard upright. Tape the ends together to form a basic, vertical, rectangular "tower".

  3. 3

    Use a ruler to measure two 1-by-8½-inch rectangles of cardboard. Cut out the two rectangles. These are the windmill fan blades.

  4. 4

    Measure 2 inches down from the centre, top tower edge with your ruler. Mark a dot with your pencil.

  5. 5

    Place one 1-by-8 ½-inch fan blade on top of the other, forming an X. Poke the brad through the centre of both blades. Don't open the brad prongs. Keep the brad closed.

  6. 6

    Hold the fan blades by the brad and poke the prongs through the dot made on the windmill tower in Step 4. Open the prongs and spread them apart to hold the miniature windmill fan blades onto the basic windmill tower.

  7. 7

    Fold a piece of brown construction paper in half. Open the paper. Grasp the two corners along the top 8 ½-inch-wide edge of a piece of brown construction paper. Move the left corner over the top of the right corner about 1 inch. Tape together to form a cone.

  8. 8

    Cut around the cone in a straight line, approximately 4 to 5 inches from the creased fold, forming a very basic windmill roof. Tape the roof to the windmill tower.

Tips and warnings

  • Students and children can decorate the cardboard or roof before constructing the basic windmill if desired. If your tower tips forward once the windmill fan blades are attached, tape or glue a craft stick under the tower for extra support.

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