Fans aren’t just a Victorian-era tool for flirting (although maybe we should bring back this secret language). They’re also pretty handy to have around when you’re stuck on a sweaty bus ride or cutting shapes on the dancefloor. Learn how to make a funky paper fan for yourself below.
30cm x 30cm lightweight card or paper (or two pieces 15cm x 30cm each)
Two large icy pole sticks or thin wooden craft sticks (approximately 15cm long by 1.8cm wide)
Pom pom trim (you’ll need a total of 10 small pom poms cut from the trim)
Extra-strong, double-sided tape (a glue gun would also work really well)
Needle (as small as possible, but big enough to take your fine yarn)
1. Start by cutting your card into two 15cm (h) x 30cm (w) pieces. If your card has a directional pattern, make sure you cut it so the pattern is in landscape orientation.
2. With one of your pieces of card face-down in landscape position, mark points in pencil every 2cm along the top and bottom (long) edges. Using a ruler and the point of your bradawl, score a line from top to bottom (long edges), every 2cm along your card, using the points you marked. Repeat for the other piece of card.
3. Fold each of your pieces of card like a concertina.
4. If you look at one of your pieces of card it will have one end with the last strip folding upwards and the other end with the last strip folding downwards. On the end strip folding downwards, stick on some double-sided tape. Take your other piece of card and find the end that has a strip sticking up, lay this last strip on top of the strip with the double-sided tape to stick your two pieces of card together.
5. Cut one strip off the end of your long concertina of card so that both ends finish with a strip folding upwards (this ensures the wooden sticks will be on the back).
6. Turn your card face down so you’re working on the back. From your pom pom trim, cut 10 pom poms (5 for each side of the fan). Try to cut your pom poms leaving attached as much as possible of the thread that joins them to the trim. At one end of your card, stick double-sided tape to the last strip. Starting about 1cm from the top of your card stick the ‘tails’ of 5 of your pom poms to the tape so that the pom poms are spaced about 2cm apart and the pom poms themselves overlap the edge of the card. Repeat this whole step at the other end of your card.
7. Carefully make a small hole about 5mm up from one end of each of your icy-pole sticks using your bradawl. Do this by twisting the bradawl gently into the wood rather than forcing or you’ll split the wood. (If using a heavier craft stick, you could use a fine drill bit to drill a small hole). The hole only needs to be big enough for your needle and yarn to go through.
8. Cut a piece of your yarn about 20cm long and tie the loose ends together in a knot to create a roughly 5cm long loop. At the top of your card, at one edge, stick the ends of the loop to the double sided tape, as you did with the pom poms, but so the loop is facing in towards the card. Now stick down one of your popsicle sticks on top, covering the ends of the pom poms and loop. Make sure the end of the stick with the hole is towards the bottom.
9. Thread your needle with a length of yarn and tie a knot in one end. Use your bradawl to make a hole through the card where the hole in one of your sticks is and pass the needle through that hole.
Taking about three folds of your fan at a time, use your bradawl to make a small hole 5mm up from the bottom of the strips. Pass your needle through as you go until your thread is all the way through all the folds of your fan and the stick at either end.
10. Use the loop at the top of your fan to hold the fan closed. At the bottom of your fan, pull the two ends of the yarn together and tie tightly in a double knot so that end of the fan is held tightly together.
11. Now we just need to make the tassel! Cut several lengths of yarn about 12cm long, and lay in a bundle. Take another longer length of yarn and tie this around the middle of the bundle. Thread one end of the tie to your needle.
12. Pass your needle and yarn through the loop of yard holding your fan together at the base and tie in place.
13. Fold the bundle of threads together to form a tassel. Take the loose ends of the length that tied the bundle and wrap these around the base of the tassel several times. Finally, stitch the loose ends through the wrapped part a couple of times to hold it all in place. Trim the end of your tassel and you’re done! Use the yarn loop at the top of your fan to hold it closed when not in use.
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