How to make (patriotic) paper pinwheels

The following is a guest post from my sweet and oh-so-crafty sister-in-law, Angelina Pavone. Happy Memorial Day!

You should know that I love paper. Paper crafting is my favorite kind of crafting. I love that it’s cheap, easy to find, and versatile. Win, win, win!

When Nicole told me that this post would go up on Memorial Day and suggested that I share a patriotic craft with you, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I made these paper pinwheels last Fourth of July, and I had been wanting to add a few more to my collection to use this year for Memorial Day.

This is a super simple project that can be done quickly and you probably have most of the supplies around the house.


Cardstock or double sided patterned paper
paper cutter (optional)
bone folder (optional)
glue gun
½”-1” paper punch
wooden dowels (mine are 3/16”)

Make your pinwheels

Start by deciding how big you want your largest pinwheel. I’ve found it’s easiest to determine sizes if you start with the biggest one (I chose to start with a 5” square). Take your paper and cut it into a perfect square (with a paper cutter as shown above, or with scissors).

Fold the sqare in half on the diagonal. If you have one, use a bone folder to crease your paper. Fold again on the opposite diagonal and crease. Cut your paper on each crease starting at a corner and continue about halfway up the crease. Repeat on all four creased lines.

Take one of the points and bring it towards the center. Try to use your finger to gently bend the paper towards the center while being careful not to make an actual crease. You’re getting your paper ready to bend how you want it to before you glue it.

Using your glue gun, glue one tip to the center of the square. Repeat with every other corner. Look at the picture above to see what I mean.

When all the appropriate corners are glued, use your circle punch (or trace a small circle and cut with scissors) to cut a circle out of a contrasting color. Glue the small circle that you just cut to the center of your pinwheel.

Then, all that’s left is to glue your dowel onto the back of your pinwheel . Depending on the size of the jar you’re putting it into, you may need to cut the dowel down. I used regular scissors to cut mine, and it was not a problem at all.

Once you finish one, you could make more, or put a single pinwheel into a narrow vase. The possibilities are endless! I like mine in a bouquet in a mason jar wrapped with twine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the same patriotic paper that I used the first time I made them, but I actually like the way the solid paper balances the patterned paper.

I have used this basic pinwheel for centerpieces at a large church event, as decor for a baby shower, and around my home for various holidays. The possibilities are endless with all of the beautiful paper out there. I hope you enjoy your pinwheels!

What’s your favorite paper craft?


Nicole lives near the beach in Southern California with her husband and three young kiddos. She writes a a lifestyle blog about creativity, family life, community, and all sorts of other fun stuff, and also keeps a homeschool journal called The Bennettar Academy. Her most recent (free!) ebook is about why and how to make more time for reading.

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  1. Oh. My. Goodness!!! These look so EASY! Why have I not done them before? I too love paper crafting! Thanks for the simple visual tut!
    Wishing you an extraordinary day!

  2. My favorite way of making pinwheels is with thumbtacks and pencils; same as your (very clear!) directions, but instead of using glue, the front circle of paper is replaced by a flat-headed thumbtack, which you then push through each of the four points and the center of the paper, forming the body of the pinwheel. Then, instead of gluing the pinwheel to the dowel, you stick the thumbtack partly into the side of a pencil’s eraser. Then they can twirl! 🙂

    Yours are prettier, though. 🙂

    • I’m a fan of the twirly pin wheels too! And so much easier that firing up a glue gun…

      I do love that paper. It makes me wish Australian’s were a bit more demonstratively patriotic – our idea of a national holiday is a BBQ and a swim, no bunting required! But it’s a shame, I do so love bunting….

  3. These look terrific–thank you! I was hoping to make pinwheels with my preschooler this summer. We want twirly ones, so extra thanks to MC for the thumbtack advice.

  4. Great idea. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Simple and easy, love this. I’ve admired pinwheels from afar but never actually made them. This will help! =)

  6. Wow! These take me back to my childhood 🙂 I haven’t made pinwheels in years. Now that summer vacation is here, I think I’ll pull out some supplies and make a few – just in time for July 4th. Thanks for the inspiration!

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