Whirlygigs, or wind spinners, add movement and interest to your landscape. They also discourage rodents and birds from nesting in your fruit trees. Though you can make these spiral decorations from almost anything, wood is a relatively easy medium to work with. Plus, you can make whirlygigs from household items.
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Things you need
- 24 15 cm (6 inch) wooden ice lolly sticks
- Pruning snips
- Electric hand drill
- 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick drill bit
- 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick steel wire
- Wire nips
- Round nosed pliers
- Quick-set craft glue
- Fishing line
Divide your ice lolly sticks into 12 pairs. Set one pair aside, leaving them 15 cm (6 inches) long. Nip ¼6 mm (1/4 inch) from each end of on pair of ice lolly sticks, 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) from the next set, 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the next and so on. Your stick measurements should end up as follows: 15 cm, 13.7 cm, 12.5 cm, 11.2 cm, 10 cm, 8.7 cm, 7.5 cm, 6.2 cm, 5 cm, 3.7 cm, 2.5 cm ans 1.2 cm (6 inches, 5 1/2, 5, 4 1/2 , 4, 3 1/2, 3, 2 1/2, 2, 1 1/2, 1, 1/2 inch).
Drill 3 mm (1/8 inch) holes through the centre of each ice lolly stick. Nip a 30 cm (12 inch) piece of steel wire and use round-nosed pliers to grip and turn one end of the wire up into a spiral. Slide your ice lolly sticks down to the spiral. Slide one of each size down to the spiral, starting with a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) piece and proceeding in ascending order.
Slide the other stick in each pair down on top of the first 15 cm (6 inch) piece, starting with the second 15 cm (6 inch) piece and ordering them by descending size. Use your pliers to bend the wire into a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) fold right above the top ice lolly stick. Wrap some of the wire around the fold in a coil and bend the remaining wire into a hook.
Turn the top piece so it's perfectly straight. Turn the second piece so the ends of the piece above it bisect the second piece, so it looks like a step. Apply some quickset glue to the second piece to secure it. Continue turning each subsequent piece so the ends of the piece above it bisect the next piece. This creates your spiral pattern. Glue everything securely and let the piece dry overnight.
Tie a piece of fishing line to the hook at the top of your spinner. Tie the spinner to a tree branch so it can turn freely in the wind.
Tips and warnings
- Protect your wind-spinners from the weather with a layer of varnish. You may also stain them before varnishing.
- If you have scrap wood leftover from other projects, you may use it instead of ice lolly sticks. Simply cut the wood into pieces with a handsaw the same lengths as above. You may choose to mitre the ends for a smoother look.
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