Giant Pinwheel

So, I had this idea to make a pinwheel, but not an everyday ordinary pinwheel (as cute as those may be). No. I wanted to make a really big pinwheel. Just for fun, and for the challenge of it (assuming there's a front-end reason most pinwheels are the sizes they are). And it was a challenge. But the end result was as fun. With the challenge part of it overcome, making them is a snap.

Don't be daunted! It's a lot but you probably have most of it on hand.

  • Two pieces of 12" x 12" cardstock (only one piece actually needs to be that large; the other can be as much as 1/4 that size)
  • Wood dowel
  • One 18-gauge 5/8" nail (make sure it has a nice head on it)
  • Two pencils, one for marking and one with an eraser you can cut off
  • Small knife
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Tacky glue
  • One-sixteenth inch hole punch
  • Drill and 1/16" drill bit
If you like, cut your dowel down to about half its original length or about 24" (I used the full 48" length). Drill a hole about 1/2" from one end. Set aside.

Cut the eraser off of a pencil (the eraser should be new or only very slightly worn). Set aside.

Fold a piece of cardstock in half diagonally (corner-to-corner) in both directions to create 4 triangles on the surface.

On the fold lines, make a pencil mark about 1/3 of the way from the center. Cut paper along fold lines up to the pencil marks.

Punch a hole in the left corner of each triangle.

Get your nail. Pull the first triangle corner toward the center of the paper and insert the nail point-first from the top.

Pull the second corner toward the center and position below the first corner and over the point of the nail. Repeat until all four corners are on the nail. Push the nail through the center of the paper.

Hold the pinwheel by the nail from the back and gently flatten the triangles a bit. This will make it easier to work with going forward.

Lay the pinwheel face-down so the end of the nail is pointing up.

Fold the other piece of the cardstock in quarters. Cut along fold lines. Take one square and cut the corners off. Apply glue stick to one side and then push it sticky-side down over the point of the nail. Press into place on the back of the pinwheel. (I would actually cut the paper down a bit more than pictured.)

Flip the pinwheel over while holding everything in place. Insert the pointy end of the nail into the hole in the dowel.

Lay the pinwheel face-down again so the dowel is on top with the nail poking through it. Push the cut-off pencil eraser onto the end of the nail. Adjust its position to allow the pinwheel to spin. Set into place with a dab of tacky glue.

Allow to dry, then gently un-flatten the triangles. You may have to bend them forward from their base a bit too. Stick the whole thing into a planter or a vase filled with stones, or affix to anything tall and free-standing (like a lamp) and wait for a light summer breeze to blow by and spin it.

Until next time --