Spinning Aluminum Can Wind Crafts

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George Washington was reported to having brought "whirligigs" home from the war.
George Washington was reported to having brought "whirligigs" home from the war.

Aluminum wind spinners are also referred to as whirligigs. Being wind powered, wind spinners are one of three different types of whirligigs -- friction and string being the second and button the third. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first mention of the word whirligig in a 1400s reference to a child's game. However, the actual origin of the contraption is unknown but believed to have been around for many centuries in some form or another.

  1. Premise

    • Spinning aluminum can crafts work on the same principle as an unplugged fan. The propellers can be of any shape and are connected to a central circle. The circle is pierced with a small rod mechanism. The circle is held in place by a stopping device that does not interfere with its movement. When the wind blows, the propellers catch the wind and turn. Windmills and wind turbines also work on this same principle of wind energy and motion.

    In Depth

    • Spinning aluminum can wind crafts can be made of any type of aluminum can such as soda cans and come in a variety of shapes. Some spinners are tall and twisted while other resemble the well-known pinwheel shape. Aluminum can wind spinners have become very popular in the South to the point that some states such as North Carolina hosts a whirligig festival every year.

    Make Your Own

    • Making your own spinning aluminum can wind craft is easy and inexpensive. However, it does require adult supervision. The materials needed are one aluminum drinking can, a utility knife, a wooden dowel rod, a small nail and a hammer. Cut the top of the can off, slice the sides into six to eight petals, leaving the bottom of each petal attached to the bottom of the soda can. Nail the bottom of the can to the dowel with petals flaring out like a flower, leaving enough space for the can bottom to rotate.

    Their Influence

    • The influence of spinning aluminum can wind crafts has resulted in two types of markets. A larger market where you can purchase wind spinners made from a can of your favorite drink. Another market is the larger commercial market that has adapted the idea of lightweight aluminum into the whirligig lawn and garden ornaments. They spin easy at the lightest breeze and are rust resistant. Some aluminum wind spinners are very sharp and require extra care and caution when being handled.

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