Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pinwheel Parade

Okay, so I don't really have a literal "parade" of pinwheels to show you yet, but I do have a tutorial that I hope will be handy for you. You can see other finished samples of pinwheels on page 67 of the Spring/Summer Collection catalog--just click on that link over in the right sidebar to view that catalog.

My tutorial will contain two parts, as I have made these pinwheels both with straws and with pinwheel kits. The straw pinwheels are more decorative than functional, though you can get them to spin a little if you construct them carefully. The kit pinwheels work like a charm! Click here for ordering information on the pinwheel kits, currently you get enough supplies to make 24 pinwheels, for $4.95. I don't like the shape of the card stock in the pinwheel kit, so I use this PINWHEEL PATTERN instead. This is actually the same pattern I'll be using for both types of pinwheels. You'll see that with this pattern you can make your pinwheels either 6" x 6" or 3" x 3", but my tutorials will be made only with the 6" x 6" pattern.

[As you go through the tutorial, remember that you can click on any picture to see it enlarged.]

You'll start out by cutting two coordinating sheets of double-sided stamped or patterned paper to 6" x 6" squares (I have used our new Western Sky Designer Series Paper), and trimming two patterns to the same size, as you see below in the picture on the left. Then you will place a pattern on the top of each of the patterned paper squares, with a temporary adhesive, such as Dotto®. For the best results and the least amount of slippage, I put a bit of Dotto® in the center, then under each of the "hole" marks on the corners, and also right under the curvy tip on each corner. Just a little dab of Dotto® works wonderfully--and you are then ready to trim out the pattern for each square, by following the solid lines with your Paper Snips. Note: make sure that the side of each patterned of paper you want to use is facing up before putting the pattern over it to cut it out.

After you have cut the pattern out of both squares, you'll need your Crop-a-Dile (CAD) to punch out all 5 of the marked holes. Orient your CAD with the marking for the 3/16" hole punch facing up towards you, as shown in the picture below. Loosen the dial that the white arrow is pointing at in the picture, and then move the measuring slide all the way to your right, and tighten the dial back up again. This will ensure that your hole punch has the maximum reach, which you will need for the middle hole.

After punching all 5 holes on each square, take ONE of the squares, and begin pulling each of the punched ends towards the middle of the pattern. These 4 "arms" will ONLY be adhered to each other, they will NOT be adhered to the center of the pinwheel pattern. You will want to put some sort of adhesive on the TOP of each of these "arms", so that there is something for the next "arm" to stick to. I used Mini Glue Dots® because they were the most convenient. Check out the picture below on the left for placement of the Mini Glue Dots®. The picture on the right, below, shows what it should look like when you are finished. Notice that all the holes in the "arms" are perfectly centered over one another. This alignment is critical to allowing your pinwheel to spin freely.

This next part may get just a tad confusing, but bear with me. You will take your 4-point pinwheel that you just glued together, and place that ON TOP of the second 6" square you have trimmed out from the pattern. In the picture below on the left, the white diamond shows the orientation you will want between the square on bottom, and the 4-point pinwheel on top. You will then pull the "arms" of the second pinwheel up one at a time, and line each up with the punched hole in the middle and adhere, just like you did with the arms of the first pinwheel. Each "arm" of the second pinwheel will come up between two "blades" of your first pinwheel. In the picture below on the right, you can see the pattern starting, as two of the "arms" of the second pinwheel have been adhered. Note the altered placement of the Mini Glue Dot® for adhering the "arms" of the second pinwheel...use the placement you feel works best, and which will prevent the Mini Glue Dots® from entering the area of the punched hole. The third picture below shows the completed 8-point pinwheel.

Now that the paper portion of your pinwheel is complete, you will need some pieces from your pinwheel kit--you'll need one straw, one elbow joint and one washer. (I have no idea what the names are for each of these pieces, but that's what I'm calling them!) Because of the thickness of the paper I used, and the added thickness of the Mini Glue Dots® between each of the "arms", I found that I needed to cut the washer in half. I simply took my Hobby Blade and sliced carefully through the middle of the washer, then trimmed as necessary to make the cut end flush and flat. You can see the before and after in the photo on the bottom right.

For the next step, you will place the elbow joint on one end of the straw. The end of the elbow joint will then be inserted through the pinwheel from the back, as shown on the right, below. Be sure that the back of your pinwheel slides back until it stops at the little "bump" that's about 1/4" from the straw. Turn the pinwheel over, and you should see the tip of the elbow joint sticking out there.

I wanted to cover up the overlapping of the "arms" at the front of my pinwheel, so I stamped a coordinating image from the Wanted stamp set, and punched it out with the Scallop Circle punch, then adhered that to the front of the pinwheel (again, using Mini Glue Dots®). I then placed the washer over the end of the elbow joint, to complete my pinwheel!

The method of making a pinwheel using a flexible drinking straw involves the same steps used above, all the way up until you use the pieces from the pinwheel making kit, so I'm just going to start at that point. You should have an 8-point pinwheel completed, as you'll see below. If you want something to cover the area where the arms go together in the front of the pinwheel, go ahead and create and adhere that now, too. (Any stamped image or patterned paper used with the Scallop Circle Punch is ideal, though you could also use the new Large Star punch if it coordinates with your design.]

The next step is to take your flexible drinking straw and create a 90 degree angle, as you'll see in the photo below on the left. You'll be using a Rhinestone Brad to connect the pinwheel to the drinking straw, so you'll need to poke a small vertical slit on each side of the end of the drinking straw, as pictured below on the right. This will allow the "legs" of the brad to be fastened to the straw. The exact placement of the slit will depend on the length of the "legs" on the brad you use, and the thickness of the stacked and adhered pinwheel "arms". I used the largest of the Rhinestone Circle Brads, and made the slits approximately 1/8" from the end of the straw.

After making the slits in the straw, and checking that they are large enough for the legs of the brad to go through, you will place the straw through the back of the pinwheel, as shown below. The straw should not go through the hole in the front of the pinwheel, but should sit just behind the hole.

At this point, you will need to modify your brad slightly. As you can see in the first of the pictures below, the Rhinestone Brad's "legs" are not flush with the back of the brad. Take the round-tipped pliers from your Crafter's Tool Kit and squeeze the "legs" together and down towards the back of the brad. The last picture in the series below will show how the brad looks from the side angle, after the "legs" have been set flush to the back of the brad.

Pick up the pinwheel with the drinking straw in it, and insert the brad through the hole in the front of the pinwheel, into the drinking straw. Work each "leg" of the brad through its respective hole in the straw. Check out the white arrows in the picture below to see how the legs of the brad should stick out from the straw.

To complete your drinking straw pinwheel, you will carefully insert your round-tipped pliers through to the middle of the pinwheel, and bend each leg of the brad towards the front of the pinwheel, to secure the pinwheel front onto the straw. Though it was hard to photograph, I think you can get the general idea from the picture below--the arrows are pointing at the bent ends of the brad "legs" coming out of the straw. [Click the picture to enlarge it, and you'll be able to see it better!]

Congratulations, you've just learned two ways to make pinwheels for your next party or special occasion. If you don't like the color of the straws you are using, you might consider taking strips of coordinating paper, or lengths of ribbon, and wrapping them around to cover the straw. Or, you can use any other color of vinyl or cloth tape...the advantage of the latter is that you could sponge ink onto white cloth tape for color (though you'll want to use ink that will not bleed onto hands).

Stampin' Supplies: Wanted stamp set, Ruby Red ink pad, Western Sky Designer Series Paper, Dotto® temporary adhesive, Crop-a-Dile®, Paper Snips, Mini Glue Dots®, Scallop Circle Punch, Hobby Blade, Rhinestone Circle brad.


  1. Kimberley

    This is awesome. I love the paper you used. Thanks for sharing!

    Amy B

  2. Your talent amazes me. How do you figure out all those minute details? Thank you so much for sharing your vast knowledge with all of us in a way we can understand.


  3. WOW!! This is great!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I love the Stampin Up DS paper you chose to make the pinwheel with.
    You are a saint for putting this entire tutorial together for us using both the pinwheel kit & the straw & brad ways to make it.All the little details & pics really help!!
    I'm off to look at the rest of your blog. Thanks again.


  4. Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! I was looking for some display ideas for my next stamping party and these will be perfect :)

  5. I love it too much. Thanks for sharing ^_^


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Comments are moderated and may take a while to show up...please be patient!

NOTE: If you would like to read any replies to your comment, please be sure you check the Notify Me box. If you would prefer an email response from me, please contact me at procrastistamper@gmail.com, as I do NOT receive an email address in association with your comment. Thank you!