Monday, May 23, 2011

Let's Get Ready to Pinwheel ( also an OPAM finish for May)

Saturday the make and take project at the quilt shop was fabric pinwheels. Easy, quick and fun. I've made these out of
paper before, as you may have, but the fabric ones are fun and longer lasting. And hey, we're fabric people, right? I've had a few people ask me how to make them, so here you go.

I started with 1 yard of Heat n Bond Ultra Hold and four fat quarters, which I cut in half. I cut the fusible into 4 pieces and ironed it to one piece of each fat quarter.

Then I peeled back the paper and fused a coordinated piece of fat quarter to one that had been fused.

 Now I've got 4 pieces of double sided fabric.

Which I then cut into various sized squares. For each pinwheel you need two squares of the same double-sided fabric. I wound up with 19 pairs of squares ranging in size from 6" down to 2.5". Anything over 6" is going to be rather 'floppy', so I'd suggest you stay under that. In fact, I think 5" was an ideal size (as was 2.5").

Before you go any further, take a minute to check the fusing on your squares. If youv'e got any edges or sides that you can peel back, hit them with the iron for 2 seconds to fuse them.

At this time, sort out all you squares by size, keeping the pairs of matching squares together. Grab your pencil and ruler and measure the width of the square, divide it in half and add 1/8". Take a ruler corner to corner and draw a line from the corner to the center as long as the measurement you calculated above. For instance, if you're using a 4" square, you would measure in 2-1/8" from the corner and draw a pencil line from the corner to this point. Do this for each corner. Then carefully cut on each of those lines. (Use your scissors, it's a simple one-snip process). You can snip a couple at a time, but be sure you adjust between cuts to line those corners up. The bottom one will tend to slip during cutting.)

Lay two matching squares side by side and flip one over. Starting with the upper right hand corner,  apply a small dab of hot glue from your glue gun and fold the corner to the center of the square and hold for a second until it sticks. Note: it is very important that you are turning in the same corners of each piece.

Do the same with every other corner, bringing it to the center and gluing it down.

Now you've got two contrasting pinwheels. 

Place one on top of the other, arranging so the blades of the top wheel are placed over the spaces on the bottom wheel. Use a bead of hot glue in the center of the bottom wheel to stick them both together. If it's a bit off, as long as you're quick, and the glue hasn't dried, you can simply give one of the wheels a twist to line them up properly.

Once I had them lined up how I wanted, I just folded down the top one and applied the glue, holding the two firmly together with my thumb and forefinger.

I like to work 'production line' style, so I did all my cuts at one time, and made all my pinwheel tops before moving on.

You can use lollopop sticks, straws, or bamboo skewers, which you can usually find in the grocery store.  Apply a generous line of hot glue to the back of the pinwheel and hold the non-pointed end of the skewer in it until the glue is set.  

I saved the scraps I had left from cutting squares and cut them into appropriately sized strips to use them to cover the stick (apply a little hot glue to the edges and place it over the stick and smooth it down). Don't worry about lining up your fabric pattern, it's not critical--it's the back, and really, we aren't trying to win any contests with these, it just looks nicer to have the stick and glue covered should someone happen to inspect your backside :).

To finish them off, hot glue a button or two (stacked) to the center of the pinwheel, and you're done.

In a couple hours, you too can have a pile of fabric pinwheels. Stick them in plants, fill a vase, use the little ones on cupcakes. Make them in Christmas fabrics and use them as ornaments (omit the stick), decorate packages with them, glue one to your straw hat, glue one to a hair clip....yada, yada, get the point.

 Have fun!


  1. Adorable! I see table decorations for an upcoming 4th of July party I've started to plan. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. great tutorial... directions make it look so easy and they are really cute

  3. What a great make and take project. Thanks for sharing. You did a good job with the tutorial. I want to make some of these for 4th of July.

  4. LOVE THIS!!! Want to make them for our guild! Thanks for the tutorial!! I'll let you know how it goes!


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