Kids Crafts: How to Make a Pinwheel - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

Kids Crafts: How to Make a Pinwheel

| May 11, 2011 | 48 Comments

Welcome back to Kids Get Crafty! With the “Weather Get Crafty” carnival almost upon us, I thought it was a good time to have a “how to make a pinwheel” post. It has been on my “to do” list for ages, as it is of those “key childhood crafts” that every child should have a go at one point! They are super duper easy and quick to make!

The other reason we made them, is that we have a windmill near our house and Red Ted LOVES the windmill. So they idea *was* to make a windmill pinwheel….  I totally failed at the windmill house (it was going to be a washing up bottle filled with coloured water). I had a vision of 3 differently sized bottles in different colours. It was going to be a mini fairy village. But we failed. The wheel just kept falling off… so an “ordinary” wheel on a stick it is! Red Ted still adored it though!

The Book

Katjie the Windmill CatKatje the Windmill Cat, by Gretchen Woelfle

I recently went on a short break to Holland, by myself… and Red Ted was told that I was visiting friends and that I would see lots of windmills… whilst I was there, he went to see the local windmill too.. so a lovely windmill book from Holland was all we needed to tie it all together.

This is indeed a lovely little book about a heroic cat, that is first cast aside by his newly married owner, but then comes to the rescue a bad storm and… saves the baby! A happy ending all round  – amazingly this is based on a true story. The book is wonderfully illustrated by Nicola Bayley – really bringing the story to life and there are wonderful “delft” like decoration on every page. I love books that tell you stories but also give you a little feel about the country it is set in.. so hopefully Red Ted got a taste of Holland (without worrying too much about storms and floods of course).

I think I maybe enjoyed reading it more than Red Ted and I think it is suitable for slightly older age range – maybe 4-5yrs+or maybe we just need to try again in 2-3months time! He does love cats though and that certainly provided a talking point!

The Craft

We decided to make our pinwheels out of plastic sheets – salvaged from the office, they were being thrown out. But of course you can make it out of anything. What I like about the plastic sheets, is that they are a little more “weather proof”. Also Red Ted REALLY enjoyed using coloured markers on them.

Materials: Plastic sheet & permanent marker pens (or coloured paper), a pin (preferrably with a big head, I added a little bead to the end to keep it in place) – or an earring stud with back piece or try a thumbtack, a stick/ dowel.

Here is a clever way of securing the pinwheel from Skip To My Lou – use a pencil rubber! OR try this wire and bead method from Craft Ideas.

To make your pinwheel:

1) Cut out a square, I usually do this by folding a corner of paper over and cutting along the edges, this gives you a perfect square.

2) Crease both diagonals, you will be cutting 2/3s along these later

3) Colour in your square – we chose to colour in triangles – which reflect the final pinwheel shape, but have a play and see what you like! (See below, I did the yellow, Red Ted did the red)

4) As mention in 2) cut along the diagonals approx 2/3s of the way

5) Take your pin and prick it through one corner. Take the “next corner” and prick a hole. Keep going round until you have done all 4, then pin it through the middle. The above shows  a pinwheel template – cut along the solid lines and pin through the little holes.

6) Pin through a stick – you may want to secure the back with a small cork. We didn’t, but it does mean they sometimes fly off and I have to retrieve them. A cork also protects your children from any point bits, ours are just decorative in the garden, so it doesn’t matter. The alternative, is not push the pin right through, but only a little way, or use a thumbtack, as they are not as long. I also like the idea to use an earring stud – no pointy bits and you can use the back of the earring to help secure the stud to a stick.


We had a go of doing these with a wire instead of a pin first. It didn’t work very well, as it was too stiff to go round… but the reason I mention it, is that Red Ted said the most adorable thing: “mummy, don’t worry… we wait until the rain comes and then it will push through and make it turn“. Oh my,you really are my clever little boy. Proud Mama Moment indeed. When I replace the wire with a pin and it started spinning in the wind Red Ted was simply too excited and he kept running in and out of the house to report on progress!

For more Kid’s Craft ideas, click here for a full list.

If you have been crafty with your kid’s be it at home, in the kitchen or outdoors, I would love for you to link up:


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Category: Kids Craft, Nature

Comments (48)

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  1. Liz Burton says:


    Thanks Maggy. I’m so glad you’ve shown a tutorial for this. Ruby loves them and with so many in the shops I’ve been wanting to have a go at making our own x

  2. Red Ted Art says:

    Oh Perfect!!! So pleased! :-)

  3. We love pinwheels too Maggy. I’ve linked up an old post of ours showing a pinwheel variation using a split pin to fasten the windmill together, which holds it together nicely.

  4. Red Ted Art says:

    Ooh did the split pin still spin ok? I thought of doing that, but thought it wouldn’t rotate…

  5. Lovely! And I’ve seen them in the flesh and can attest to how beautiful they are :-)
    Yes a split pin works brilliantly for all things “spinny”! Especially with card and paper crafts, not sure about in this context as would be hard to push it into the stick.

  6. Nicole says:

    We love pinwheels too! The tutorial is so helpful – I know we’ll be making some this summer!

  7. Esther says:

    We love pinwheels and that’s a good idea to use plastic sheets!

  8. MyKidsMake says:

    they look wonderful! I have been wanting to make pinwheels with my kids for ages. I really should give it a try. Love that your son colored/decorated them too! looks great

  9. B Fryman says:

    Love how you colored with him and how excited he was about it!

  10. These are Lovely! All children would Love this! (including me!)

  11. Julia says:

    What a marvelous idea to use a plastic sheet! We really should make pinwheels again.

    The first craft I ever posted on my blog was a pinwheel wreath. You can see it here:

  12. Ally says:

    Hi there – I accidentally posted the flower garden twice – sorry about that. The Linky Tool was having some issues and it didn’t look like it worked the first time! I don’t know how to delete it, so please feel free to delete one of them.
    Thank you! Love your site!

  13. Ally says:

    I had no idea that you could make your own pinwheels – so neat. Will be doing this over the weekend for sure!

  14. Louise says:

    That sounds like a lovely story, we love cats! I always wondered how you made a windmill (thats what we call them here in the UK) i’ll be doing this next weekend :-)

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Hehehe though UK based I obviously hang out “Too much” with my crafty American friends 😉

  15. Janelle says:

    Oh, my kitty loving daughter would love to read that story.

    And, a child can never make too many pinwheels! Fantastic summer craft.

  16. se7en says:

    Finally we had a craft up and ready and timeously enough to join the link up!!! I love your transparent pinwheels, my kids love making pinwheels… but usually just out of paper (… we will have to rethink materials now!!!

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Oooh lovely to hvae you stop by… can’t wait to check your craft out! And will have a look at your pinwheel too :-) they are such fun, aren’t they? BTW you are always welcome to post old links too!! 😉

  17. Great tutorial! I especially like the earring stud suggestion!

  18. mermaid says:

    Lovely! Should make one as well! Would look nice in our flower garden.. or between veggies :)

  19. kewkew says:

    Love the pinwheels, so colorful. Wish I could get ahold of that book, it looks great. Oh well

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Thank you – and maybe your library has it? No idea… guess as a book from Europe, maybe not? :-(

  20. Tracey M says:

    Saw your post on WMCIR … I love true stories and the cat story sounds like a gem. The pinwheels are adorable!

  21. Isil says:

    Sounds like a lovely book. Thanks for your support and joining in :)

  22. Julia says:

    Brilliant choice to link! Really great idea with a super book! Thank you for linking thisw one Maggy!

  23. Aimee says:

    Now it’s my turn to thank you for linking up! That is an awesome craft and we will have to give it a whirl sometime!

  24. Emily Wright says:

    My kids would LOVE to make these. Thanks for the tutorial! I saw you on ABC and 123.

  25. Nicely done Maggy! Like the colors when it spins! :)

    Thanks for participating in High paw linky. Always a pleasure to check on your ideas! :)

  26. Using clear material is genius!

  27. I love these! We’ll definitely be making these this summer!

  28. bridgette says:

    Great idea! Made these with the kids I care for (I’m a nanny) and they really enjoyed it. Ours didn’t spin at all though….anyone else have this “problem”!?

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