Directions to make a PVC whirligig

Updated November 21, 2016

Whirligigs, or wind spinners, offer your garden a splash of colour and movement. They draw the eye from one part of the garden to another, pulling it together as a whole. You can, of course, purchase a variety of wind spinners from garden speciality stores. However, commercial spinners are often expensive. A cheaper and greener way to go is to make your own wind spinner from scrap PVC pipe. Not only does this reduce your household waste, it allows you to assemble an original piece of garden art.

Mark your pipe off in 150 mm (6 inch) sections with a red or yellow grease pencil. Wrap painter's tape around the pipe just below these marks, keeping it perfectly straight. Draw a hacksaw slowly through the pipe using the tape as guidelines. Cut 12 pieces of pipe this way.

Gather 12, PVC connectors of 90 degrees, or elbows. Slip one pipe section into both holes of one elbow. Turn the elbow so it looks like the top of a triangle. Make five more structures like this one.

Slide an elbow onto the bottom of the left arm of one of your triangle tops. Turn the elbow so the open hole points horizontally away from you. Fit the right arm of another triangle top into this hole. The left arm should point down and slightly to the right. Fit another elbow onto this arm, pointing the empty hole down and to the left.

Slip the right arm of a third triangle top into the empty connector hole. The left arm should point horizontally toward you. Slip a connector on this arm, pointing the empty hole down and to the right. Turn one of your triangle tops upside-down and slip the left arm into the empty connector hole.

Turn the structure over so the unfinished left side is now on the right. Construct the right side of your spinner just as you did the left. Draw lines around all of your pipes with a grease pencil where they meet with the connecting elbows.Wiggle the pipes to make sure they're snug and seated in the elbows.

Take your spinner apart and swab glue around the end of each pipe above your pencil lines. Put more glue inside the holes of each connecting elbow. Reassemble your spinner and let the glue cure for about 24 hours. Tie a length of fishing line around one of your connectors. When the spinner spins, it should look like a star.


Make a faux metal wind spinner by spray painting your PVC pipe copper, gold, bronze or silver. You may also paint it satin black to mimic rod iron. You may spray paint your pieces before or after you glue them. Create a more involved design by drawing repeating geometric patterns, vines or stripes on your pipe in grease pencil. Paint the designs by hand with acrylic paint. Let the paint dry for at least 48 hours before gluing the pipe.

Things You'll Need

  • 25 mm (1 inch) diameter PVC pipe
  • Painter's tape
  • Hacksaw
  • Red or yellow grease pencil
  • PVC cement
  • 90 degree PVC angle connectors
  • Cotton swabs
  • Fishing line
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