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Giant Pin Wheels

Giant Pin Wheel

Just wow! These giant pin wheels turned out better than I could have hoped for. I did try and use everyday straws for this one, but they just didn’t hold up to the weight. Perhaps for a smaller version they would work well. Instead I used some cake dowels that I had already. You can easily get hold of these, or use wooden dowels if you have these to hand.

You will need:

  • A wooden or plastic dowel 6mm in diameter and about 20cm long.
  • A hollow plastic tube approximately 12mm in diameter, and about 40cm long.
  • 7 sheets of A4 lightweight card in your choice of colours. use double sided card, or choose white card and decorate both sides. Printer paper will work fine, but a heavier weight paper will result in a better pin wheel.
  • 2 small elastic bands
  • A hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Glue (standard school glue is fine here, but if you have a hi-tac or quick drying version, that will save you a lot of time)

Let’s get making

Print the shape template onto your card. You could save your printer and print one out, then trace it onto the other sheets of card. Or you could use white paper and decorate both sides of the shapes instead. Either way, you will end up with seven slightly odd looking shapes.

Use the hole punch to make holes where the small circles are marked. Depending on the diameter of your dowel, you may need to make these bigger, but we can fix this later.

cut out the shapes for your pin wheel

Arrange the sheets on top of each other in a fan shape. The order you choose to put your colours is completely up to you. Play around with different options until you are happy with your pin wheel.

Glue each shape on top of each other, making sure the hole matches up. You may want to use a peg or similar to hold these together whilst the glue dries.

arrange the arms of your pin wheel
glue your pin wheel together

When these are dry, pull the other ends over and glue in order in a similar manner. Wait for these to dry before continuing. Your pin wheel is starting to take shape.

Glue your pin wheel together

Insert the 6mm dowel through the holes in your pin wheel. You may need to make your holes bigger. It is important the the pin wheel moves freely around the dowel. If you need to make it bigger, carefully insert a pair of scissors into the hole, and twist gently to enlarge. Be careful not to rip your card.

Secure either side of your pin wheel with an elastic band, wrapped around the dowel a few times. Make sure you pin wheel still spins freely. If not, move your bands a bit further out and check again.

Carefully make a hole in the hollow dowel using your scissors. Don’t make the hole too big here. We need it to be a snug fit. Gently push the back of the solid dowel through the hole until it is secure. The pin wheel itself needs to be as close to this upright dowel as possible without it catching. If it is too far away, the weight will weaken the joint and your pin wheel could fall.

Find a garden stake or similar to put your pinwheel.

Switch it up!

Make a few of these and use them to decorate a garden party.

Or go big and print the template on a3 paper. Remember to scale up the length of your dowels so that they are strong enough to hold the extra paper.

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