This homemade fan fits perfectly in your own hand bag, but it is also a beautiful, USEFUL, personal gift that shows you care. This one will not be a “pretty now, soon forgotten” gift like so many other trinkets that are usually given this time of the year. I know it is the thought that counts, but the gift shows whether you thought or not!

I first came up with this idea as a little girl playing with my great grandmother’s old fan. It was made of thin red paper folded together with a metal rib at each end for sturdiness. I wanted my own fan, and so I made my own fan! My idea has been developed from a simple folded paper to something a litte more sturdy and beautiful. This fan takes some time, effort, and care to make, but it only requires simple things you probably already have, and the satisfaction of having done it will be your reward!

You Will Need . . .

  • colored cardboard paper (I used black)
  • pencil and eraser
  • math compass
  • ruler and protractor
  • scissors
  • hole puncher
  • satin ribbon (I used red)
  • small press stud
  • small ribbon flower (I used pink), optional
  • needle and thread (I used red)
  • super glue, if needed
  • pens, or poster paint/acrylic and brush (I used both)

Cut Out the Circle

Using the compass, draw as big a circle on the cardboard as will fit. Remember that the radius (same as the span of the compass) will be half the width of the paper. Also, the center of the circle can be found by measuring half of the width and half of the length of the paper.

Cut out the circle with the scissors and discard the scraps.

I used A4 paper, which resulted in a relatively small fan. For a bigger fan, you could use A3 paper.

Fold the Fan

Using the protractor, from the center of the circle (there will be a hole from the compass), measure out 18 wedges, each 20 degrees. Make only small marks with the pencil.

Now, place the ruler along the marks. You will need some object with a rounded point (like an empty pen). Scratch up the lines along the ruler so that the cardboard will be easy to fold. The circle should look like a cut-up cake with 18 equal pieces. Erase the pencil marks.

When all the lines are drawn up, cut one slit along one of the lines up to the center only. Start folding each “cake slice,” up and down, till you have a fan.

Trim the Edges

Holding the fan folded up with one hand, cut the wide end in a nice rounded arch. Cut the tip straight over to remove the uneven, worn part that results from all the folding.

Punch the Holes

If you want, you can make holes inside each “arch” with a hole puncher. On my hole puncher, I could remove the cover on the bottom to expose the punching hole. I then used the pointed tip from the compass to pierce all the way through the centers of the archs. These pierce holes acted as a guide when I punched the holes, allowing all the holes to be on top of each other when the fan was closed.

Paint and Decorate

Now, decorating time! You can decorate the fan however you like. I chose to paint a flower motif with acrylic and then trace around each punched hole with a gold pen.

Remember to decorate the side that will be totally hidden when the fan is closed (otherwise the coser will be glued onto the decorated side!).

Make the Closer

To make the fan stay closed in you bag, you need to make a closer.

First, fold the end of the ribbon like shown in the diagram. Sew on the flower (if using) and bulky part of the press stud. Add some super glue if needed. Super glue will help keep everything in place while making the end of the ribbon stiff, which makes it easier to open/close the fan.

Lastly, holding the ribbon around the fan, cut off the ribbon a little longer than the circumference of the closed fan and fold the free end like the flower end. Glue the free end directly onto the fan with the other part of the press stud on top. You really need to be careful here to get the length of the ribbon right before gluing.

Now, test to see that the ribbon keeps the fan tightly closed.


Now, you have a beautiful handcrafted fan to use yourself or give to a friend!

Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel

Image credit: PinchOfChili

Read More