How to make whirligigs & garden pinwheels

Written by jessica cook
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How to make whirligigs & garden pinwheels
A pinwheel in your garden will provide colour even during the dormant season. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you want to give your garden some year-round colour and add a bit of pizazz to your patio decor, consider making your own whirligigs and garden pinwheels for decoration. This craft project is simple to do and suitable for children who are old enough to handle scissors on their own. Let these projects blow in the wind and bring a smile to the faces of the guests who enter your garden any time of the year.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Plastic-coated colourful paper
  • Ruler
  • Pen or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Thumb tack
  • Dowel rod
  • Fishing line

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  1. 1

    Cut a square out of plastic-coated or heavy duty paper with a waxy or metallic surface to it. Find these types of paper in the scrap booking, gift wrap and origami sections of a craft store. The idea is to use paper that can hold up to the elements better than traditional paper.

  2. 2

    Use a ruler and a pen or pencil to draw a straight line diagonally across the square from upper left to lower right, then another one going in the opposite direction from upper right to lower left. Cut along these lines, working from the outside corners and stopping approximately one inch from the centre of the square.

  3. 3

    Take a corner of the paper and bend it to the centre. Repeat this all the way around with every other section of the corners; in other words, because you have cut each corner in half, bend only one half of each corner in until the point reaches the centre of the pinwheel. Overlap the points as you do this, and hold them in place with your finger. Do not crease or fold the paper at all.

  4. 4

    Poke a thumb tack through the centre of the paper from the front to the back, securing all of the bent-in corners as you go. Push the point of the push pin, now sticking out of the back of your pinwheel, into the top of a small wooden dowel. Push it far enough in to secure the pinwheel but not so far that it can't move with the breeze. Test it by blowing on the pinwheel.

  5. 5

    Push the other end of the dowel into the dirt of your garden.


  1. 1

    Cut a large circle, using the same type of paper you used for the pinwheels. The size of your circle doesn't matter, but it will determine the circumference of your finished whirlygig at its widest point.

  2. 2

    Cut in toward the centre in a spiral formation, starting at the outer edge of the circle. Try to keep the width of the spiral even throughout, and stop when you reach the centre of the circle.

  3. 3

    Pick up the centre of the spiral with your hand, and poke a small hole in it with your scissors. Thread fishing line or light thread through this hole, and use the fishing line or thread to hang the whirlygig from your porch roof. The paper whirlygig will spiral and spin in the breeze.

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