How to Make Windmills Out of Milk Jugs

Written by caprice castano
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How to Make Windmills Out of Milk Jugs
The milk carton windmill uses recycling and crafting for a great project. (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Recycling and making a craft at the same time gets double the positive results. Windmills or pinwheels are a hit with kids, and making them out of recycled milk containers means the main supplies are already at hand. These crafts can be proudly displayed and even used in the garden. Kids will have a great time making them and playing with them after they are finished, and it's a great craft for a group. If every child brings two milk containers, they can take home a windmill.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Empty, washed milk carton and plastic jug, one each per windmill
  • Pencil
  • 3 corks, sized 1 inch, or 1-inch squares of styrofoam
  • Scissors
  • Wood skewers
  • Construction paper, paint and crayons: optional
  • Tape: optional

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  1. 1

    Wash and dry the milk containers if they are not already clean. Milk residue will smell very bad when sour, so be sure the materials you are working with are clean.

  2. 2

    Draw the windmill fan with a pencil on one of the plastic milk containers. This can be done freehand with creative touches for the fan blades, such as rounded, squared or even scalloped ends, as long as there are four blades spaced evenly and a centre for the mount. This should be made in one piece, not separate blades.

  3. 3

    Cut the fan out carefully. An adult should do this step for younger children.

  4. 4

    Decorate the other milk container if desired. The windmill can be plain, or the container can be covered with decorative paper that is taped in place. Themed containers such as a flying pig windmill with the fan for a tail are whimsical and fun ideas for decorating.

  5. 5

    Poke the wood skewer through the carton so it enters on one side and exits out the back. Now slide it back out, and place a cork or piece of one-inch styrofoam on the front end about two inches from the end. Now slide the skewer back through the container so the cork or block stops it from going further. If the skewer is not poking out the back of the container at least an inch, adjust the front block to make more room.

  6. 6

    Slide another cork or styrofoam block over the back of the skewer to hold it in place.

  7. 7

    Place the fan on the front of the skewer, and put another cork or block in front of it to keep it on. Don't sandwich the blades too tightly between the blocks or it won't spin. Now place the windmill in the wind or blow on it to make it move.

Tips and warnings

  • For a flying pig windmill, use the carton or 1/2 gallon milk jug on its side and a longer wood skewer to go all the way through. Make the tail end the cap, and punch a hole in the cap for the skewer. Decorate the cap end as the pig snout, and put the windmill on the wide end for the tail.

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