How to Make Outdoor Pinwheels

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Pinwheels can be made in all shapes.
Pinwheels can be made in all shapes. (Image: colorful windmill image by leafy from Fotolia.com)

Make an outdoor pinwheel that catches the wind and emits natural or bright colors as it twirls. The concept is the same as making a paper pinwheel that is held on a pencil only on a larger scale and by using materials that can withstand the weather. Dress up your garden or walkway with an assortment of whirligigs that are delightful to watch and add a touch of color in motion. Pinwheels are easy to make and fun to watch as they work with the wind in unison. This is also a great way to put recyclables to work.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 empty aluminum can
  • 1 plastic bottle cap
  • Razor scissors
  • Razor in razor holder
  • 1 nail
  • 12 to 20 inches heavy string
  • Hammer
  • 1, 1/2-inch square wooden post, 24 inches long

Make a Sunburst Pinwheel from Recyclable Material

Use your razor blade and carefully cut off the top of an aluminum can. Slice down the entire side of the can without and stopping when you are 1/2 inch from the bottom using your razor scissors.

Use a razor blade in a sturdy holder
Use a razor blade in a sturdy holder (Image: cutter image by PASQ from Fotolia.com)

Position your scissors about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from your cut at the top of the can and make an identical cut that leaves a narrow strip. Continue all the way around the can using this method. When finished, lay your strips out flat with the bottom. You will have a sunburst look.

Remove the top of an aluminum can
Remove the top of an aluminum can (Image: pop top image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com)

Use your hammer and one nail to make a hole in the center of the can's bottom. Also make a hole in the center of the bottle cap.

Use a hammer and nail to make a hole
Use a hammer and nail to make a hole (Image: hammer and nails image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com)

Weave one end of your string through the hole in your aluminum can and tie a large knot so the string cannot slide through. Weave your string through the bottle cap so it lies loose against the aluminum can. Position your wooden stick so the bottle cap rests against the top edge. Secure your string to the wooden stick by wrapping around several times and tie.

Any type of long wooden stick will work
Any type of long wooden stick will work (Image: wooden utensils image by angelo.gi from Fotolia.com)

Tips & Warnings

  • Get as creative as you like in making shapes instead of strips or spray paint your sunburst pinwheel and wooden stick with spray paint.

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