DIY: Pinwheel Party!

A few weeks ago, I had the honor to attend the wedding of two of my favorite people: Marissa and Chris. While every wedding is special in it’s own way, theirs was especially fun. On a perfect late-summer day in Northern California underneath a giant magnolia tree, a group of people celebrated the love of two especially awesome, fun-loving people. And what perfectly simple and adorable way to convey their happiness than pinwheels? Srsly.

There were pinwheels EVERYWHERE at this wedding. The cake topper, on the boutonnieres, in the bridesmaids’ bouquets. Tons of pinwheels, everywhere you looked, just silently spinning in the summer air. It was awesome. And the most impressive part? The bride Marissa and our good friend, graphic designer [and overall boss at life] Stephanie Laursen MADE all of them by hand.

And the best part? Marissa and Stephanie agreed to show me how they made them. Yup, even after making several hundred thousand pinwheels, they were still down to make more. So here’s how you can DIY some pinwheels, so you too can have a pinwheel party!

 What You’ll Need

 For the Pinwheels

  • Assorted Paper Construction paper at least, but I’d opt for some nice craft paper, possibly with a pattern and bit of texture to it)
  • Teensy tiny glass beads 
  • Decorative Pins The ones shown here are pearl-tipped
  • Wooden Dowels or get creative with some of those old Panda Express Chopsticks I know you’ve been hoarding.
For Assembly
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Wire Cutters
  • Scissors and optionally, a paper trimmer
  • Ruler
  • 1 Thumbtack
  • Pencil

Make it

First start by using your wire-cutters to trim the sharp points off the end of your decorative pins. Don’t want anyone putting an eye out now.

Then, use your blunt pin (or a thumbtack) to depress a hole into your wooden dowel.

After that’s done, set your dowel aside and get out your paper. You need to trim your paper into a square. The square can be any size, depending on how big you want your pinwheel to be. Marissa made 12×12 pinwheels, 8×8, 4×4, etc. Follow your heart, make the pinwheel you want.

After that’s done, draw diagonally across your paper from corner to corner–this is going to mark where you’re going to make your cuts.

Now using your marked lines as a guide, cut partially (BUT NOT ALL THE WAY TO THE CENTER) into your pinwheel paper. See the picture below for about how far you should go:


After that’s done, cut some little teensy squares out of a different paper. I like how Marissa’s pinwheels had contrast, so I’d say mix it up use a different paper than your pinwheel body.

Go big and use a glitter paper, if you’re feeling fancy, but remember:

That’s some real-talk, Boromir. That stuff gets everywhere.

Anyways, use your thumb-tack to push a hole through the center of your tiny paper squares. They are going to be the front piece of your pinwheel (you’ll see what I mean).

Then on your large pinwheel paper, poke holes carefully in 1 of the flaps on each of the triangles, always on the same side. Basically, you want to alternate as you go around your square, you want to poke a hole, then skip one, poke a hole, then skip one. One point of your triangle will be attached to the center of the pin, and the other will be pointing outwards, to create the “spokes” of your pinwheel.

Remember that decorative pin and dowel from way-back when? Now you’re gonna need it.

First, put your little tiny paper square (aka Boromir’s Bane) onto the pin first. Then, start gently folding (but not creasing!) each of the paper spokes inward, and thread them onto the pin.

Oh wow, I just got it: There’s a pin in the center of this wheel. PIN. WHEEL. PINWHEEL. Seriously guys, I just got that. Don’t hate.

Anyways, keep going until all of the the spokes are threaded onto the pin, and then gently push the pin through the back of the paper, like so:

Then, place a single little bead onto the pin. That’s the very thing that will make the pinwheel spin! It’s so so teeny in this pic, but I swear it’s there!

Then apply a bit of hot glue gun to the pin, and (before it dries!) quickly push the pin into the dowel.

Let it dry for a bit, and voila!! Pinwheels!

I love these ladies. Awesome work Steph and Marissa!!! Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome project.

P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m not in any of the photos, it’s because I was too busy taking pictures of cats.


10 Comments on "DIY: Pinwheel Party!"

  1. Marissa says:

    That’s awesome! You really broke it down easy peasy. Just make sure you don’t punch holes in every corner, stick to the upper right OR left corner on all four sides – whichever side it is you want to fold down. I feel so honored to have our wedding mentioned in such a brilliant blog!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Awesome post Kate! Even after making hundreds of these bad boys, reading this gets me all excited to make more!

  3. Kathy says:

    That Boromir quote may srlsy become my life motto!

  4. Ohhh, this post is so cute and I love pinwheels… I mean LOVE!!!
    I am surely making these for some spring party next year! 🙂

    • readmakedo says:

      Glad you liked them! Good luck with your new blog, I read your RE6 review 🙂 we’re still obsessed with Skyrim over here.

  5. Megan says:

    Do you push the pin all the way through the Dowel? And if so did you snip the extra that sticks out off?

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