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Create Classic Carousel Horse Fans

Updated on July 29, 2021
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Denise homeschooled her 4 children and has stories. She provided art lessons for many children in the homeschool community for many years.


Retro Air-Conditioning Method

How many times have you been out at a ball game, cheering for your team but baking in the sun and wishing for a cool breeze or a lemonade stand? A fan would have been just the thing. A hundred years ago before air conditioning, what people relied on for hot summer days were fans. Fans are the classic, old-fashioned air conditioning method. Sometimes companies like funeral homes and county fairs would print fans with their logo and address and give them away as advertising. The classic fans were decorated with all sorts of things, from flowers to animals. In this project, you will draw a classic carousel horse design on one side and anything you want on the other. Then you cut out the circles and glue them together to make your sturdy fan. I suggest using colored pencils because of their versatility. You could use watercolors but if you do, you will have to keep your fan away from water or spilling drinks that would make your picture run. Ready for the fun?

“It does not matter how badly you paint, so long as you don’t paint badly like other people.”

— --George Moore: Confessions of a Young Man

Materials Need

2 pieces white Cover paper or Watercolor paper (8.5x11)

Colored pencils

White glue

2 Tongue depressors or Popcycle sticks or bamboo chopsticks for the handle. Those free paint stir sticks they give away at hardware stores work really well for handles too.

Drawing the Carousel Horse


Use a large plate or compass to draw the circles onto both pieces of paper. Use a #2 pencil to draw the carousel horse onto one of the circles. You don't want to use a colored pencil for this because you can erase a regular pencil but colored pencil lines are almost impossible to erase. Start by drawing a rectangle in the middle of the circle as in the diagram. This is your horse head.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

— --Pablo Ruiz Y Picasso


Add a half circle drawn from one corner of your rectangle to the middle of one side. This is the curved jawline of the horse’s head.

Horse's Neck

Add a semi-circle from one corner of the rectangle out of the circle and another semi-circle from the middle of the box out of the circle. This is the horse’s neck.

Horse's Eye

Draw a triangle and a half circle in the box for the horse’s eye.

Draw two curved triangles above the box for ears.


Nose and mouth

Draw an upside-down six for the nose and large nine for the mouth.

Main and Harness

There are half circles down the back of the neck for the horse’s main and colorful straps for the reins and harness.

“Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see.”

— --Paul Klee

Erase Extra Lines

Erase all the unwanted extra lines now, as shown in the diagram.

Old Fashioned Fans

Do you think fans are outmoded? Not of any real use today?

See results

Coloring the Carousel Horse.


You are now ready to color the horse. You can shade in the muscles in the horse's neck or color him all one color like brown or black.

Horse's Eyes

The eye should be all colored in brown or black except for one small light spot. This is because you cannot see the white of a horse's eye like a human's eye unless they are terrified or angry.

Coloring the Back Side

The second circle should also be decorated with anything you like. You can create another carousel horse or draw flowers or whatever suits you. Now color your creation any colors that suit you. Flowers are nice. Another horse would be good. How about a cat? Or a dog? Or a lovely landscape for your horse to run through? The possibilities are endless.

“Any art communicates what you’re in the mood to receive.”

— --Larry Rivers

Gluing the Fan Together

Finally, you are ready to cut out the circles and glue the fan. First, you should get your two tongue depressors or popsicle sticks and staple them together end-to-end so that they make an extra long handle. You could substitute this with an old long-handled paintbrush or with bamboo chopsticks that are still connected. Actually, any long wooden handle will work well. Sometimes I use the free paint sticks that they give away at hardware stores.

Glue the Two Circles

Next, take the two circles you have cut out and place them face down onto a table. Swirl the two circles with lots of glue. Also, put glue on both sides of the stick just to the staple. Put the stick onto one of the circle so that the staples are just inside the paper and sandwich the other paper over it. Press for a few minutes so the glue is evenly spread inside. Try it out. It works great!

Testing the Fan

You are now ready for a heat wave to test your fan. All your friends will want one, so be prepared. You could create several ahead of time and rent them for 50 cents a game. Better than a lemonade stand!

“When I sit down to make a sketch from nature, the first thing I try to do is to forget I have ever seen a picture.”

— --John Constable

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