A Paper Fan Summer Craft for Kids

how to make paper fans
Katherine Lee
Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 fan
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly

Completing a summer craft with your kids brings back the nostalgia of carefree days spent on the lake or at the beach. And a paper fan craft is both artful and functional. All you need are a few supplies, such as sheets of decorative paper and ice pop sticks that can both be found at craft stores. The same supplies will make hand-held fans in two different styles: a triangular Asian fan or a simple circle fan.

Elementary-aged children will love the more involved triangular Asian fan, while preschoolers will have an easier time with the simple circle fan. And the best part about these fans is that when you're done, you can use them on a hot summer day. They also make adorable gift bag items for a birthday party or another celebration. 

how to make paper fans
The Spruce / Katherine Lee

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors (regular or serrated)
  • Pencil

Materials

  • Patterned paper (variety of colors and styles)
  • Washi tape for circle fans (solid color or patterned, at craft stores)
  • Paper adhesive tape
  • School glue
  • Bowls in a couple of sizes for circle fans (4 1/2-inch diameter and 6 1/2-inch diameter bowls work well)
  • Wooden ice pop sticks

Instructions

  1. For the Asian Fan, Glue the Wood Sticks

    Begin by using school glue to glue four wooden ice pop sticks into a fan formation.

    1. First place a small dot of glue on the bottom of each stick.
    2. Press the bottoms together.
    3. Then fan the sticks out into a "V" shape, spaced about 2 inches apart at the top.
    4. Let the glue dry completely.
    5. Then, add two more in the same fashion to create the fan's frame, allowing each glue application to dry before proceeding. 
    how to make paper fans
    The Spruce / Katherine Lee
  2. Trace the Sticks Onto the Paper

    1. Next, place the decorative paper wrong side up on a table.
    2. Place the fanned-out wooden stick frame onto the paper, taking care to leave a small bit hanging off at the bottom to form a handle.
    3. Trace the top of frame onto the paper with a pencil to create a half-circle.
    how to make paper fans
    The Spruce / Katherine Lee
  3. Cut the Paper Into a Fan

    1. Cut the paper along the half-circle outline of your fan.
    2. Then, use the cutout to trace a second fan template for the other side.
    3. Cut that one out, as well. Now, you have two pieces of decorative paper fan shapes.
    how to make paper fans
    The Spruce / Katherine Lee
  4. Glue the Paper Onto the Sticks

    1. To complete the fan, use your adhesive tape to glue each cutout onto either side of the fan frame, right sides facing out.
    2. Make sure to line up your cutouts exactly so that you have a perfect match.
    3. Then clean up any stray edges.  

    Best Way to Glue Paper

    Using school glue or another type of liquid glue may warp the paper. Paper-specific adhesive tape is the better way to go.

    how to make paper fans
    The Spruce / Katherine Lee
  5. For the Circle Fan, First Trace a Bowl

    To make the less-involved circle fans, do this:

    1. Start by placing the patterned paper on the table with the wrong side down.
    2. Using two of the same-sized bowls, place them right-side up on paper.
    3. Trace two circles onto the paper. 
    how to make paper fans
    The Spruce / Katherine Lee
  6. Cut Out the Circles

    Cut the circles out of the paper.

    Make Some Waves

    For a customized look, use your serrated scissors to cut out the circles, making a wavy-edge.

    how to make paper fans
    The Spruce / Katherine Lee
  7. Tape the Sticks

    1. For a smaller fan, take one stick and wrap the bottom (handle) in colored washi tape to cover 2/3 of the stick.
    2. For a larger fan, tape two sticks together using the same process. 

    Washi Tape Substitute

    If you don't have washi tape, you can dip the ends of your sticks into acrylic craft paint. Just make sure they are completely dry before assembling the fan. 

    how to make paper fans
    The Spruce / Katherine Lee
  8. Glue the Stick to the Circle

    1. Place adhesive paper tape on the wrong side of both circles, making sure to cover the edges thoroughly.
    2. At the same time, place glue on either side of the top of the wooden sticks.
    3. Place one side of your stick onto the wrong side of the paper circle, making sure to leave enough room hanging off for the handle.
    4. Press the other paper circle on top, matching the edges as best you can.
    5. Allow any glue to dry completely.
    6. Once the entire fan is dry, trim off any stray edges. 
    how to make paper fans
    The Spruce / Katherine Lee