How to Make Simple Whirligigs

A whirligig is a conical toy that can be made to spin. These toys are often seen on decks or patios where they can catch a breeze. Usually they are highly decorative and create a shifting pattern or design when the wind blows them around. Some whirligigs are made to look like aeroplanes or people spinning their arms. Larger, wooden whirligigs are often found in folk art designs.

Select a sturdy, white paper plate.

Colour both sides of the paper plate with crayons.

Cut the paper plate from the rim toward the centre in a spiral that gets smaller as you near the centre.

Lift up the paper plate at the centre-cut end of the spiral. Punch a hole in the small circle of plate that still remains.

Cut 3 feet of string. Thread the string through the hole. Bring the end of the string back to the long string at about 1 inch from the hole, then tie the strings together in a knot. Lift the whirligig by the long string and watch it spin.


This is a fun summer project for kids, particularly if they are making decorations for an outdoor summer party. These fun spirals of colour can be hung from tree limbs and anywhere plants are hung.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper plate
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • String
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About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.