Watercolor Paper Pinwheels

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

I’m pretty much in love with this new technique. I was just playing around with making these cool pinwheels and I wanted to make it a little bit more enticing for my tween and teen. So I made them out of watercolor paper, and then I let them paint. We added a few beads and, voila. Now they are hanging in their rooms. I will admit that folding these takes some practice, and my kids did not enjoy this part as much as I did. But the painting part was a huge success, and kind of addicting. When do kids ever get to paint on folded paper? It became somewhat of a process art experience for them, which was cool because crafts don’t usually lend themselves well to process art.

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

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Supplies:

~ Watercolor paper (lightweight) or sulphite paper (a nicer version of construction paper and easier to fold)

~ Rubber cement

~ Scissors and a hole punch

~ Liquid watercolors (I used turquoise, red, orange, pink and violet…and buy gold if you can for the finishing touch!)

~ Beads (we used wooden and pony beads)

~ Yarn

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

Process:

1. Cut paper so that you have four 9″ X 6″ pieces (paper can be any size, but in sets of four and it needs to be a rectangle). Fold in half, widthwise.

2. Fold in half again, lengthwise.

3. Fold the halves in half, folding up to the middle.

4 + 5. Fold in half again, and then again, creating evenly sized accordion folds.

6. Now use the very first fold as a guide to fold the accordion in half. This gets tricky when the paper is thick, you may have to adjust the folds slightly. They might look a little off, but that’s ok. It won’t matter in the end.

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

7. This is what your accordion folds should look like.

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

8. Do this four times so that you have identical parts.

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

9. Spread rubber cement on both inner folds. Wait for glue to dry, then press together.

10. Do this four times so that you have four fans.

11. Now use the same rubber cement technique for the outer folds. Put glue on all side and wait for it to dry.

12 + 13. Press all sides of the fans together, one by one. Make sure that the ends match up so that they are both going in the same direction (making a “W”).

14. When all four fans have been glue together to form a pinwheel, turn it over and just put some extra glue in the middle so that it doesn’t pop out. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you make one.

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

I missed taking photos of the whole painting process because I had flipped the switch on my camera to “record”. But you can watch this short video to see how my twelve-year old painted her pinwheel!

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

Pretty cool, right? Don’t you want to make, like, hundreds of these and cover a whole wall?

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

Oh, one more thing. I punched a hole in the back to add the string and beads!

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

make paper pinwheels and paint them with watercolors

We also made tons of solid colored ones to mix in with the painted. Because you can’t make just one!

Hope you try!

xo, Bar

FOOTNOTE: I loved this process so much, I decided to make 20 paper pinwheels from sulphite paper (thinner paper that folds easier and works better with palette watercolor) and bring them to a birthday party I was hired to host for 20 ten-year old girls. They LOVED them so much, everyone wanted to make more than one!

paper pinwheels made to be painted as a birthday party craft

paper pinwheels made to be painted as a birthday party craft

paper pinwheels made to be painted as a birthday party craft

paper pinwheels made to be painted as a birthday party craft

paper pinwheels made to be painted as a birthday party craft

I was so excited with the way these turned out. I also put out a little bit of gold liquid watercolor, just to add a touch of glam!