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How to Make a Killer Windspinner From Popsicle Sticks

Updated on July 1, 2015

My Finished Spiral Windspinner Made From Craft Sticks

Garden windspinner made from popsicle sticks-the jumbo size.
Garden windspinner made from popsicle sticks-the jumbo size.

Save Some Green and Make Your Own Garden Décor!

Don't you just love the eclectic look of a spiral-design windspinner? As they gently spin around in the breeze they have a pleasing optical-illusion effect on the eye. I have always wanted a unique windspinner in this design, but since I usually hate to take the cheap mass-produced shortcut, I decided to construct one for my home garden area. There are several ways to make a bang-up looking spiral ornament that will last a long time and hold up to outdoor weather conditions. Ideally this project should be created from light wood.

Many professional crafters have used balsa wood to construct their projects…You can’t beat it in terms of appearance, usability, and versatility in such activities as model airplanes, houses, etc. Having used balsa wood, it also requires the use of an X-acto knife, a measuring tape, and some low-grit sandpaper for best results. It comes in different thicknesses and lengths to suit a wide variety of projects. However, it is delicate, and may split or splinter easily. You want to use utmost care when trimming pieces of it and then sand the ends smoothly. It can be a time-consuming medium for younger crafters, which leads me to another great article of craft construction: Popsicle sticks.


Popsicle Sticks are a Versatile Crafting Essential

Popsicle stick crafts are very well suited to kids who enjoy making things, as they are the familiar receptacle for which ice cream is enjoyed-but they are also ideal for smaller hands, and do not require cutting, sawing, or sanding. All that is needed is a good idea, and then some paints and adhesive for projects that will last long-term. Acrylic paints are best (tempera paints are not waterproof.) and Elmer’s Carpenter’s glue is a good brand for staying power. I use E6000 adhesive for almost all of my crafts. It is the strongest glue money can buy, and it’s water proof as well. (Children may need adult supervision when working with strong adhesive.)

You can certainly save your own popsicle sticks…Who doesn’t love ice cream and other frozen treats? Depending on how much is consumed in your household it should not be difficult to acquire sticks, but it may take time to accumulate enough for more elaborate projects. Plus, they will need to be washed, and as some frozen goodies (especially flavors like grape or strawberry) may leave behind a stain that may be hard to remove. So it may be a far better bet to purchase sticks from your local craft retailer. They come in bulk packages of 75 or more per bag, plus they will be clean and brand-new. Now, on to the directions for making a nifty looking windspinner!


Step 1: Paint It!

I would recommend between 80 and 100 sticks for this project for best results. Spread out your sticks over your workspace in single rows. Be sure to protect your workspace with wax paper (newspaper will stick) First I painted the sticks as they were all spread out, in the picture. I love gradient designs and I especially love vibrant neon colors, especially the pinks and oranges together. Then upon drying I took the colored sticks and put them in batches arranged by color or shade since I also used yellow and green in my gradient, and I wanted the finished appearance to be a nice gradual color fade. Go wild! Your spinner can be any color combo you want.

Question for Artists and Gardeners

What kind of décor graces your outdoor garden or patio?

See results

Step 2: Build It!

After the sticks were dry I glued them in little sets of 3 at a time and each stick I carefully arranged in a fanlike pattern so they’d be a little spread out and not right on top of each other. Then I let the stick batches dry. For optimum results allow your projects at least 72 hours drying time. Next I would use glue to attach the batches of 3 on top of each other each time spreading out the pattern a little more so the spiral would develop. If you decide to do this don’t be discouraged if you don’t notice it taking shape right away. Also, as the batches overlap, you may want to prop them up with something as they are drying (like a book) This can be the trickiest step; keeping the pattern retained as you glue the pieces one by one. It may take as many as 75 sticks before you really see the desired shape take place. Your resulting shape may be a tad delicate. It may be like handling a paper plate. For this issue I suggest a little reinforcement. I used 20 gauge wire to make this happen. In my developing project I wrapped a 3-yard roll of wire around the spiral to give it extra support.

Step 3: Shellac It!

If you plan to hang your masterpiece outdoors where it will be subjected to the elements, you definitely want to give your windspinner a protective glaze finish. Use a product like Mod Podge to make it stronger and give it a nicer appearance. You can choose from matte (flat, no shine) satin (moderate gloss) or gloss finish depending on the type of appearance desired. I prefer satin for my projects. It makes my work look much more finished, but I never have gone for that super-shiny look. Apply it to both sides. If your work has a tacky feel to it afterward (sometimes this happens with the best intentions) try applying a sealer adhesive to the finished piece. It will provide an extra layer of protection and also minimize that “sticky” feeling when handled. You can purchase this in a spray can and it too has different finishes as well to choose from.

Step 4: Hang It!

There are a few ways to accomplish this part. One method is by using eyehooks (same thing picture framers use to thread wire). You’ll want to insert an eyehook to a separate popsicle stick batch of 3 but NOT on your already finished piece because that will put too much pressure on your work (and this late in the game the last thing you want is for all your hard work to collapse and break!) If you used 20-gauge wire as I did previously, some wire gently wrapped around the base can be bent into a c-shape (like a coat hanger) which will look nice if you are using crafting wire. You can now hang your finished work of art outside on the patio where it will really set off your garden area splendidly, or you can also hang it in your interior area, like from a beam, an air vent, or strategically placed hook from the ceiling. Bravo!! Is that awesome, or what? Later on I plan to make a few more of these to give as gifts. Next time I am definitely going to use the “standard” size popsicle sticks, though. The large, tongue-depressor size sticks have made my spiral look a tad like a fortune cookie, which I was not expecting. OK, not bad, but I was hoping the result would be a little taller or longer.

Tips For Crafters

  • You can use the standard-size popsicle sticks (these are “ice cream” sized) OR the larger ones that resemble tongue depressors used at the doctor’s office.
  • You can also purchase popsicle stick crafting batches that are brightly colored as well, if you’d prefer to skip the painting step.

  • Be sure to allow at least 72 hours (3 days) of drying time during the gluing step. The clamping (or bonding) period may take about an hour, but for crafts to achieve optimum dryness a full 72 hours is recommended.

  • A sealer finish can be brushed on, like a glaze, or you can use the kind that comes in a spray can.

  • You can also move the painting step (#1) until after Step 2 and you can also use spray paint in place of the brush-on type and get the same gradient effect.

DIYer On Youtube Makes an Amazing Windspinner!

Suggested Reading and Resources

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Chinese-Spiral

http://www.buildeazy.com/workshop/spiral-wind-spinner.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_4422414_make-wind-spinners.html


Materials Needed

 
 
 
Acrylic paints
$1.24 for each 2 oz bottle
 
Popsicle stick bundles made for crafts
$5.41 (bag contains 150 ct)
 
Adhesive
$6.67, 2 oz tube of E6000
 
Depending on how many paint colors you would need, you would probably spend around $20 for this project! Not too shabby.

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