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Pinwheel Art Tutorial

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?

Me neither.

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.


Double-sided cardstock
Hot glue
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.
downton abbey crafts

I always knew that Countess Grantham knows how to party.

Step 2: Fold and cut each square

Fold each square diagonally and crease.

Someday I will learn that bloggers should get regular manicures.

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.

How else is a girl supposed to justify buying a new ottoman around here?

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.
Pinwheel Art Installation
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.

DIY whimsical pinwheel wall that actually spins! Such a fun idea for kids spaces, and it's SO inexpensive to make!

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.)

Let's connect


  1. i adore this! i pinned that picture a while back of your pinwheels because it might be the cutest wall i have ever seen in my whole life. and i am old, so that is saying something.

  2. SO SO SO cute! I adore the finished look. It’s so fun and whimsical.

  3. So pretty! Mila’s nursery is one of my very favorites I’ve seen. 🙂 Also, I think we have the same ottoman.

  4. So fun, Kelly! Thanks for the tutorial, I am filing this one away for the next time a group of girls need a crafty activity at my house! They look adorable on Mila Jane’s wall!!

  5. The pinwheels look so nifty- I love the bright colors, patterns, etc. Thanks for breaking down the project step by step! And also for reminding me to (finally) check out Downtown Abbey! I keep forgetting about it.

  6. Beyond adorable! I love how easy this is too.

  7. I LOVE the pinwheels! What a great idea and they are so cute!

  8. Um, pretty sure you forgot to post the 2nd half of Mila’s birth story…I know I’m not the only one holding my breath around here and you can only distract us so long with your crafty (dual-purpose word) posts…Anyway, get on it. 🙂

  9. I was JUST THINKING ABOUT THESE! YOU ARE PSYCHIC!! (now you need to run and buy two lottery tickets and we will share.) I am making some for a garland—hopefully, they will ‘float.’ And can I have your baby? 😉

    • Yessss on the lottery tickets! And probably a no on the baby – I’m getting kind of attached to her 🙂 Excited to see the garland!

  10. What a fresh take on fun (and functional!) nursery art. So cute!

  11. LOVE IT!! It seems so easy. It might be worth doing on Matea’s wall….hmmm…..

  12. Those turned out cute…… cute & fun and bright and happy. Perfect environment for snuggling a baby in.


  13. This is so adorable and unique. Love. And we just started watching season 1 of Downton Abbey over the weekend (I know; we’re late to Lady Grantham’s party) and we can already tell that sparks are flying between Anna and Mr. Bates, haha.

  14. Stunning! I love making paper origami. This is right up my alley. Thanks for the great tip.

  15. LOVE! I don’t even know where I would do this, but I so am doing this!

  16. this is adorable!!! i really love it, and the pattern on the paper too, which i know was free, but it’s perfect!

  17. We interrupt this birth story for a rockin’ pinwheel wall art installation tutorial… you are my hero. 🙂 This is amazing.
    xo Heidi

  18. amazing. pinning this. loving this. totally thinking you should send this to mrs. limestone, if you haven’t already for her “steal this idea” series. You did an amazing job, and the paper you used is perfect. oh, and PS – a manicure would never last.

  19. Love these! They make such a great focal point in the nursey room. I have yet to watch Downtown Abbey, I heard some great things though : )

  20. I love the pinwheels! And I love Downton Abbey, how long until next season? I can hardly wait!!!

    Oh right, back to blog comment.This seems surprisingly doable for a craft-challenged person like me, and I love anything that takes up A LOT of space without costing a fortune (hence my total love of decals).

    Kiss that tiny baby for me. Mine is already 6 months old and it’s just not the same as the scrunchy-sleep-on-you stage.


  21. I just found your blog while googling hanging ikea frames, and I have to tell you I love everything about it! Including this project, it’s amazing. I’m a huge fan!

  22. Kelly I am so so impressed; this is just darling!! The pinwheels in different sizes and patterns!!

    I cannot wait for Downton Abbey to be back!

    To see more Artistic Beauty…….2012 Artist Series featuring Designer and Paper Artist; Anita Rivera ( of Castles Crowns and Cottages)is in on my site! I hope you will visit…

    Art by Karena

  23. These are absolutely gorgeous and I love all the fun colors and patterns. Thank you for sharing !

  24. Whimsical is the PERFECT word to describe this wall art. It looks amazing and is such a fun touch for your nursery 🙂

    Visiting from Home Stories A to Z!

  25. Brittany says:

    Found your blog after searching for a pinwheel tutorial for our nursery I’ve been working on. Your pinwheels turned out GREAT, and I loved reading your blog along the way. Hilarious! Nice work! 🙂

  26. I love your pinwheel installation! You’re so creative & original. Also, I’m terrible at following instructions but your photos & explanation actually got through to me! I think I might just be able to do it. Thank you! 🙂

  27. Found you through One Project Closer’s Before and After Series. These guys are seriously easy! Thanks for sharing such a simple tutorial!

  28. Shweta Cadha says:

    Such a simple and cute, innovative idea…would love to try it out!!!
    Please keep sharing…your site is one of the awesomest!!

  29. That’s lovely! i wish i were a baby living in this room! Thank you!

  30. I love this idea! I am a gram and this is going in my bedroom :-). It is so happy looking. 🙂

  31. I’m pretty sure you are the best blogger, EVER. I literally “lol” at your posts and am totally in love with everything you do! I just want you to know you are greatly appreciated and to keep up the good work! Bravo!

  32. Can you tell me where you got the paper for the pinwheels? I love it!!

    • Thanks! It’s a scrapbook paper pack I got from Michaels. It’s been a couple years now so I’m not sure if they’d still carry it, but it’s worth a shot!

  33. Thanks! You are soo talented… Now I got all the ideas i needed for my sister’s newborn’s welcome party. Yay!

  34. Just stopping by to let you know I included this post in my favorite craft projects for February. These were the most popular posts on my Facebook page during February as well, so thank you for such a great project! You can see the round up here 🙂

  35. You can also find books of card stock like this at Marshall’s or TJ Max for about 6 bucks. Not always, but often.

  36. I just came across this on Pinterest and I love it! It’s so unique and looks amazing! Great job. I love the turquoise pom poms from life in the fun lane too

  37. I’m loving this! So creative!

  38. I love that these spin! What a fabulous idea.

    Should I mention it… but… does Andy know you stuck pins straight into the wall? (I guess he does now.)

  39. clarissa says:

    omg this is amazing
    loved it!

  40. I’ve been reading your blog since I started mine. I gave you a shout out my latest post
    Actually 2 because I included the link to this specific post because I LOVE these pinwheels!

  41. Looks great! I love how you positioned them on the wall too. So, how hard was it to push through all the hot glue? I don’t have a scratching awl so I’m trying to think of an alternative. Maybe a thin screwdriver?

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  43. This is perfect and want to do it this week. I am getting my baby nursery ready this month and I get so much inspiration from your nursery (and I am also a Dave Ramsey’s follower so I love your debt-free story too!). My only concern is are they pins strong enough to stay on the wall if a baby tried to pull them? I don’t want to risk for these pins to fall in the wrong place…

  44. I’m just glad I’m not the only crazy woman who thinks a night of British dramas and paper crafting is the height of entertainment!

  45. Annette Turrentine says:

    My age is mid-seventies, no babies or other excuse, but I love whimsy, SO … your pinwheels will be on my craft room wall. Heck, maybe later, they’ll make my guests play with my living room wall! Love this idea! Maybe they will migrate to my family gallery of photos & memorabilia in the hall after lighting in the other rooms. Love it, LOVE IT!

  46. What a cute idea! Perfect for any girls room or could be made boy with blue shades. I am sharing this on Pinterest


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