You know that feeling of having a giant empty wall to decorate and tons of room in the budget to just go buy something that would be perfect for that wall?
Plus, I thought it would be fun to try to create some kind of mobile or art installation to hang above Mila’s changing table and therefore guarantee that every time she gets a diaper changed, she will happily coo and smile and never ever hate it. #wishfulthinking
I thought about creating something out of tissue paper pom-poms like this stunning nursery from Life in the Fun Lane:
And I thought about making some kind of mobile like Presley’s beautiful room at Me Oh My:
And then I thought I might just do some kind of garland, like this pretty paper starburst garland at Project Wedding:
…but those were all projects I had personally done in the past, and I wanted to try something I’d never done. Enter the whimsy of pinwheels!
I found a few tutorials on how to make pinwheels, like this one from Poofy Cheeks and this one from Illuminate Every Moment, but none of those tutorials resulted in pinwheels that would spin when pinned to the wall, so I used them as a starting point and came up with my own system which looked like this.
Some sort of hole-punching device that is not a hole punch
Step 1: Cut out squares of cardstock
I bought one of those $20 books of cardstock from Michaels for this project, but then seconds before I started cutting it up, I found this pretty book of leftover paper I had from my friend’s baby shower. SCORE! It was perfect. And free.
Most of the tutorials I found suggested cutting 6-inch squares for your pinwheels, but I wanted a bunch of different sizes, so I cut out 8-inch, 7-inch, 6-inch, 5-inch, 4-inch and 3-inch squares. I just cut all of my leftover paper without counting how many squares I was making…
…because I may have been slightly distracted by the season finale of Downton Abbey and I was content to play with pretty paper in front of the TV for a while.
Step 2: Fold and cut each square
Unfold, then refold diagonally the other way and crease. Unfold again, so your square looks like this:
Now cut down each crease until about an inch or so away from the center. I didn’t measure and I wasn’t consistent with how far down I cut, because omg why is everyone at Downton getting sick and what is Sybil going to do and can Anna and Mr. Bates please just get married already?!
Step 3: Fold in the corners to shape your pinwheels
Fold every other corner in toward the center of your square and hot glue it.
Some pinwheel tutorials recommend skipping the hot glue and folding in the corners, then just sticking a pin through them all, but when I tried this method, the pinwheels didn’t spin. I needed them to be stuck permanently in the center, which is why my buddy the hot glue gun made its appearance.
Step 4: Punch a hole in the center
I tried to just stick my pin in the center of the pinwheel and into the wall, but the pinwheel was so tight around the pin that it didn’t spin, so I had to make a larger hole that allowed it to be looser and spin more easily. I tried a hole punch but it was too small to reach the center of some of my pinwheels.
Enter this bad boy:That is a scratching awl, according to Andy, who knows these things. I just needed something that would impale the pinwheels to within an inch of their life. Wow, why did this have to get gross? Sorry.
I stuck the awl through the center of each pinwheel so I got a good, wide hole that was larger than the pins.
You’re also punching through hot glue, so make sure you do this on a hard, safe surface. And not on the ottoman. Which is what I may have been doing before Andy caught me and acted like it might not be a good idea to make holes in our ottoman.
Step 5: Display.
I found these cute pins at walmart, but you could also use more simple pins and even cover them in buttons or something cute.
Then I just stuck the pin through the hole in the pinwheel and into the wall.
I didn’t lay out my arrangement in advance or even really know what I was going to do until I did it, but I started with the larger pinwheels in the center, and scattered the smaller ones toward the outside to get kind of a floating-away effect. (You can see Mila’s full nursery reveal here.)
At this point, you could attach your pinwheels to anything. Stick them in a pencil eraser for a traditional pinwheel-on-a-stick…
or attach them to ribbon for a sweet little pinwheel garland, or tape them to your face or something. Not recommended.
And that’s how you make an art installation for almost no cost, in the space of time it takes to learn whether the entire Downton house is going to survive Spanish Flu. (Did you miss the full nursery reveal? Check out the whole room here.)