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How to Paint a Fan for a Useful Gift

Updated on March 12, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Since school, Bronwen has been interested in art, has joined Artists' groups where she has lived, and occasionally has even won prizes.

The Purchased Fans
The Purchased Fans | Source

The Fans

Ready to paint hand fans are inexpensive to purchase and easy to find in most handcraft shops. The two in the above illustration came in the one package for less than $6.

These authentic Chinese folding fans are claimed to be made from all natural products. The components appear to include bamboo slats and possibly handmade paper. They are quite strong and very useful in hot weather. However, they will be so much more attractive when, with a few watercolours, they are decorated attractively.

A hand fan could be painted quite easily by adults or by children. As a kid's craft, the hand painted fan would make a great gift for Auntie or Grandma. Ideas for kid's crafts are often in demand.

Of course, it's wonderful if you can make your own design, but instructions are given here for a simple floral picture and this may give you ideas of other designs you could create.

Paint the Twigs and Petals
Paint the Twigs and Petals | Source

How to Paint the Fan

  • The Design: Firstly, choose or sketch on a pad a simple design with not too much painting needed. I used a Chinese watercolour style. This means that the design is not drawn onto the fan, but painted straight onto the paper.
  • The Stem and Leaves: Mix black and yellow watercolours together. I used Chinese tube watercolours that are inexpensive and readily available. Holding the brush vertically, firstly draw the main stem, then add the leaves. You may find that it is not easy to keep the fan flat, so it is best to paint one section at a time, moving across the fan gradually while holding firmly the part that you are working on.
  • The Petals: Mix a red watercolour, such Rouge, with a little white to make a pleasant pink. Charge the brush with white near the handle and with the pink from there to the tip of the brush. Place the brush, tip facing outward from the flower centre and roll it gently across to make the shape of each petal. Make five petals for each flower. Using a slightly darker pink, form the buds in the same way.

Add the Leaves and Anthers
Add the Leaves and Anthers | Source

Finishing the Fan

  • The Veins and Sepals: For the leaf veins use a slightly darker green colour. Then add the sepals to the flowers and buds using the same darker green colour.
  • The Anthers: Charging your smaller brush with yellow, add the anthers to the flowers, making tiny dots near the centre of each flower.

Finish with your Signature
Finish with your Signature | Source

Add a Final Touch

It would be lovely to finish your fan with a personal touch, such as your signature, your 'chop' (a stamp with your Chinese name) if you are lucky enough to have one, or even a brief message or poem.

The fan could also be adorned with stickers or with coloured feathers. These trimmings can also be easily purchased at most craft shops and there seems to be a vast variety of choice.

  • Note: Fans can be decorated as gifts, favours or mementoes for many occasions, such as an outdoor party or wedding and will be greatly appreciated. The decorations could include lace or ribbons of the theme colour of the occasion.

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    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 18 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Frustrated, angry, and looking for advice on a problem: As long as the paper or other material on the fan is suitable, you can use most kinds of paints. If using oils I would dilute them with oil and turps quite a bit, so it gets that slightly ethereal character.

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      Frustrated, angry, and looking for advice on a problem 18 months ago

      Is there any type of paint that you can use to paint OVER a fan? I don't want to use watercolor because watercolor will not do solid colors, wouldn't cover over the design, and frankly looks shitty

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      PaoloJpm: What are you studying? I hope you enjoy the course and learning. Having fun after class is important, too.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      yeah, I am enjoying it so much. Both my studies and my other staff in school. Always lough trip going anywhere we want, but of course after class. I will have fun making the awesome fan I am certain of that.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      PaoloJpm: So graduation will be next year. Enjoy your study and learn all you can. Have fun painting the fan, too.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      ahm,, she celebrate her birthday maybe a week ago I think, then my gift will be given next year on the day of our graduation. So, I can prepare so much out creating my cool painted art fan you shared! thanks

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      PaoloJpm: Ha! This year or next year? However, study is definitely more important. Now you've done the planning, just 'put it on the back burner' until you have time.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      No, I was actually just planning to do one. ANd since, I was very busy that day, I told her to accumulate my gifts till our graduation ahhaha

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I'd love to see the result.

    • barbat79 profile image

      B A Tobin 4 years ago from Connnecticut

      Thanks BlossomSB ! I don't think I will have a problem finding them.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      barbaat79: Yes, it is great to share. Hope you are able to obtain the fans easily and that it works well for you. I'm sure your daughter will be delighted.

      PaoloJpm: Were you able to get one and paint it all in one day? Wow! If you did, that was a great effort. I hope it was appreciated.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      Cool staff! I think my friend would love this one as a gift for her birthday tomorrow. Glad I saw it today! thanks for sharin and voted up!

    • barbat79 profile image

      B A Tobin 4 years ago from Connnecticut

      How lovely to share that activity with her. She will remember that always! Enjoy your visit and once I find the blank fans (going to a local store to see if they have them) I want to create one for my daughter and send it to her. The idea is so precious. Thank you for your response!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      barbat79: Thank you. In a few minutes I'm off to visit a granddaughter to introduce her to the joys of creating a pretty and useful gift, although I rather think she'll keep it for herself. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • barbat79 profile image

      B A Tobin 4 years ago from Connnecticut

      Wow, I never knew this could be done. It was wonderful the way you gave full details on your work along with the pictures! So interesting and helpful!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Glimmer Twin Fan: The ones for sale can be very beautiful, but for a gift there's nothing like something you've made yourself. Thank you for your comment.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      What a great idea! I've never seen this. I have seen beautiful fans for sale.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Eiddwen: Thank you, dear Eddy. Hope you're having a great weekend.

      Genna East: That's lovely. I'm writing a general article about fans, too, and in it I'll have a photo of one of my Grandmother's fans. I love your poetic comment.

      Vellur: It makes a useful gift and will be more appreciated because it has been painted by the giver. Thank you for your comments.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Never thought of decorating a Japanese fan, creative and useful. As you say these will make great gifts, voted up.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What a lovely, creative idea. My grandmother loved fans, and passed that affection down to me. I love your fan in the photo. The flowers are beautiful; they open with the fan is if coming into bloom. Thank you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful hub Blossom and thank you for sharing.

      Eddy.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      always exploring: It is a fun project. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about it.

      Mhatter99: I wonder if you'll try it. Thank you for your comment.

      Michael-Milec: Thank you. It's both creative and useful, as the fan is a practical gift - especially as we've been having a heatwave here in Melbourne.

      MsDora: It really isn't difficult. It wasn't difficult to share as I enjoyed doing it; it was fun, especially on a hot day. Thank you for your vote.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Beautiful job, and you make it sound so easy! Thanks for sharing. Voted Up!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Hi blossomsB.

      Amazing !

      Seems as wonderful idea for relaxation while being creative.

      Voted Awesome

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Great idea. thank you

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You are so talented. I love this idea and it would be a fun project. Thank you for sharing...

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      dghbrh: Thank you for your lovely comments. It's true that it's a good thing for kids, too. I'm going to do it this weekend with a granddaughter.

      joanveronica: Your artist friends would have lots of fun painting fans and their efforts would probably be much better than mine! Enjoy and you have a good day, too.

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      What a good idea! This I had never seen before! I must show it to my handy artist friends! Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting. Have a good day!

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Very wonderful idea with a personal touch for gift. Simple and easy way to design as per various mood and occasion to suit with and even a terrific item for decoration also. Kids will be delighted to make it as well. Thanks for this one. Voted up useful and shared.