Paper Pinwheels For Place Cards and More!

When I first read a blurb in Do It Yourself magazine about creating paper pinwheels from old book pages, I was inspired.  Since I enjoy making fun place cards as a hobby, I set about to transform a few paper pinwheels into place cards and other home accents.  Here are a few pinwheel variations I came up with:

Paper Pinwheels

This crafting idea is adapted from the project entitled “Cupcake-topper Pinwheels” in the Summer 2011 Edition of Do It Yourself Magazine.  More information on the original article is available on the Resources page.

¤ Craft paper and/or card stock
¤ Pencil
¤ Ruler
¤ Scissors
¤ Glue stick
¤ Brads**
¤ Hole punch**
¤ Super glue**
¤ Buttons**
¤ Embroidery thread and needle**

** I made a couple of different types of pinwheels, because I was experimenting with the look of them.  These supplies are optional, depending on the pinwheel version you create.  One has a button center sewn on with embroidery thread and a needle, the other has a brad center with an optional button super-glued on.  The original article used a pin to secure the pinwheel in a lollipop stick.


Measure 4″ squares out of craft paper and/or card stock with a ruler and pencil and cut them out with scissors.  One square will make one pinwheel, unless you want to create a contrasting-color pinwheel, then you will need two squares of different patterns or colors.

Cut the squares out from the paper.

To make a contrasting-color pinwheel, use one square of patterned paper and one square of plain paper, two squares of different colors, or two different patterns and glue the wrong sides together using a glue stick.  The patterns or colors should face outward.  Be sure to allow the glue to dry.  You can vary which kind of paper you use for the front and which paper gets folded in to the center.  See below.

These are two different contrasting-color pinwheels.

Then draw diagonal lines lightly in pencil on the back side of each square using a ruler to make a diagonal “X.”  This will allow you to find the center of the square.  Put a mark in the center of the square with a pencil.

Here is an example of a square when it has been marked up.

Next make cuts in the square along the pencil lines from the outer edges in towards the center of the square.  I cut about 3/4 of the way to the middle.  The original article called for cuts to be made 1/2 of the way, but going a bit farther in towards the middle makes it easier to punch a hole in the center or string embroidery thread through.

Fold every other corner in towards the center to make the pinwheel shape.

This is what the pinwheel looks like when the corners are folded inwards.

If you plan to make place cards with a brad center, pull back the folds and use a hole punch to punch a hole in the center of the finished square.

Punch a hole in the center of the pinwheel.

Secure the pinwheel.  There are three options:

1.  With a needle, embroidery thread, and a button…

Thread the needle with embroidery thread and knot it. Put the needle through the center mark on the pinwheel while holding the corners in the center to keep the folded pinwheel shape. Thread on a button and stitch through the paper as if stitching through fabric. The stitches should hold the folded corners firmly in the middle under the button. Tie off when the button is secure.

Thread an extra piece of embroidery thread through the pinwheel and tuck the threads in the slits cut into the paper.

Thread the embroidery thread through the holes of the pinwheel, tucking the ends in between the slits cut into the paper.

Then cut out a small paper circle and glue it to the back of the pinwheel to camouflage the stitches.  It is best to stitch as cleanly as possible so there are less thread lines visible on the back to cover up.

I traced around the bottom of my glue stick for a quick circle.

Glue the paper circle to the back to cover up the stitches.

Use the tails to secure the pinwheel to a napkin, tie to a flatware bundle, or accent a cup.

A finished pinwheel napkin ring.

2.  Or with a brad and a dab of glue…

Once you have punched the hole in the center and folded the corners back in, put a dab of glue in the center with the glue stick and put the brad through the hole to secure it.

Then fasten the brad to a ready-made place card or gift…

What a cute place card!

3.  You can also top the brad off with a button…

Choose a button for the center and secure it to the brad with a drop of super glue.

The button center is a charming touch.

Fun With Pinwheels!

Use the pinwheels to adorn place cards, napkins, garlands, cards, gifts, centerpieces, floral arrangements or potted plants, or decorate your yard for an outdoor celebration with a whimsical touch.