Make: All American Birthday Pinwheels and Wreath


This weekend we celebrated Phil’s Birthday! I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me telling you that this year he is the grand old age of 26. In truth, Phil’s actual birthday was during the week, but fate so had it that he had an exam both the day before and day after his actual birthday, so instead we decided to pop the celebrations on hold until the weekend when we could celebrate in style.

…and celebrate we did! Phil decided for this year’s birthday he would like to pay homage to his favorite continent: North America, by spending the evening with our good friends, making delicious sticky ribs and having our very own red, white and blue themed shindig.  So, being the crafty thing that I am,  I couldn’t resist the opportunity to whip up a couple of simple surprise decorations to make our sitting room a little more birthday festive!

As this post is a bit of a two-fer, I’ll cut the waffle and get down to business!

Birthday Pinwheel Garland 

Before I start these I should say, that I looked and looked for double side printed card  in a red white a blue theme to make these a little less DIY, but could only find a whole set of card-stock which cost a whopping £25! Which is about £24 more than I had hoped to spend on this project, so I made things a little more involved by painting my card myself. This step is totally optional though and any card with a pattern on both sides would work fine if you are in a hurry! 😀

You will need:

12″ by 12″ squares of white card (each square of card makes 4 pinwheels)

Red, White and Blue Paint (I used watercolour for the blue and acrylic for the red and white, but any poster paint or paint which wasn’t oil paint would work fine).

A Paintbrush

A Potato and a knife

Ruler, Pencil and Scissors

Double sided tape

Something small and round such as a cotton reel to draw around

Paper fasteners (1 per pin wheel)

Brown garden twine.

1) Get Painting – As our party had an American theme I decided it would be cute to have one side of my card with a red and white stripe pattern and the other side with a blue and white stars pattern. So, I decided to do my blue side first. This just involved me painting a light wash of blue watercolour paint over the whole side of card. Simple. 😀

While these were drying I went into the kitchen, got myself a potato and a kitchen knife and carefully! (I prefer my fingers attached to my hand so this bit takes a little care) cut the potato in half and then cut a star shape in the cut face to make my very own potato stamp! The star didn’t need to be perfect because I was going for a pretty rustic theme so I didn’t use a template (but you could if you wanted a very tidy star).

Once my blue paint was dry I painted the white paint onto the stamp and then randomly stamped white stars all over the blue. Then I left my stars to dry again.

After the blue side of the card was totally dry, I flipped it over and using my red paint, painted some really broad red stripes across the back of the card. I didn’t need to paint the white as the card was white to start with. Easy 😀

2) Measure and cut –  Once my card was dry on both sides I got ready to cut my pinwheels out. First, the pinwheels are each made of a 6″ x 6″ square, so I quartered each of my big  12″ pieces of card to make 4 smaller 6″ squares.

Then, on my 6″ square I drew a cross in pencil from corner to corner, diagonally across the card.

I then cut 2/3rds of the way along each of these lines from the corner towards the middle (but not all the way into the middle of the square). I have marked on the card in the picture above where you need to cut, so hopefully that will make it clear! 😀

3) Bend and Stick –  The pinwheel shape is formed by bending alternate points of the piece of card into the center, so 4 points are bent into the middle and 4 are still sticking out. I stuck the middle points down onto the center of the pinwheel with double sided tape (I had tried using glue but I was spending a looooong time holding the points down while the glue dried so tape was much, much quicker :D!)

4)  Center circle and pin – Next I cut a small circle of white card to stick over the points in the middle of the pinwheel to keep things looking cute and tidy (I just stuck this down with tape again, as I was on a taping roll and it was working really well!)

Then finally, I pushed a little gold paper fastener through the middle and used this to attach my wheel to the string, ready to stick up around our room. Using the paper fastener means that if we had strung them up outside they would have twirled round and round in the wind. Pretty!

Ta dah! Finished and very easy!

American Flag Wreath

This has to be the simplest project ever! I also can’t take total credit for the finished product as my lovely friend Clair helped me to finish it up in my last minute birthday preparations. But I think it came out very cute! Also, I totally neglected to get any in progress shots for this project! Consider me to have thoroughly reprimanded myself 😛

You will need:

Red, white and blue wool (You could also use ribbon but wool was cheaper at my local craft store on the day I was picking up materials).

A polystyrene ring

A wool needle.

1) Blue Wool Wrap –  As I was trying to keep in mind our american flag theme for the party I started by wrapping 1/4 of the polystyrene ring with the blue wool.  To stop the while ring peeking through under the wool I kept my wrapping nice and tight. To start the wool on the ring I simply tied it and then tucked the little knot under the other wool wraps.

2) Red and White Wool Wrap – Next I did exactly the same thing for the red and white wool for the remaining 3/4 of the hoop, alternating around every inch or so (although  in the spirit of keeping things loose and rustic I eyeballed the distances rather than measuring them, which worked out fine :D)

3) Sew in the end – Finally I used my wool needle to thread and sew in the loose ends from tying the wool all the way around the hoop.

Done! The nice thing about the hoop being polystyrene is that it could also be used to pin cards to, just like our Christmas card wreath which you can find here, so its is even a pretty functional decoration!

So there you have it, two simple pretty and quick decorating projects for any occasion! The awesome thing about these projects is that, if your not planning on having your own American celebration soon you can totally customize them to just about any other theme by changing the colours and patterns. They would also make very cute July 4th decorations, so I think we might hold on to ours!

So, have you had any fun celebrations recently? These decorations were also not the only birthday craft project which went on this year! Phil got his very own custom made camera lens case which we will be back posting about sometime soon (exams permitting :S), so stay tuned!

Hope you all have a lovely evening,

About Cook Quilt Make and Bake

Hi, I'm Sam, he's Phil. Welcome to our blog where we share our fun down time projects. We're just a young couple, happily cooking, making, quilting and baking our way through life and love. You're welcome to stop by and share the good times!
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6 Responses to Make: All American Birthday Pinwheels and Wreath

  1. k.m. says:

    Martha would be proud! Looks like a fun party, and happy belated birthday!

  2. Pingback: Tutorial | All American Pinwheel Garland · Scrapbooking | CraftGossip.com

  3. Pingback: How-To: Pinwheel Garland @Craftzine.com blog

  4. Jaime says:

    Just wanted to let you know that the blog Honestly, Dyea has been copying blog posts and tutorials and presenting them as if they were her own. She did it to me and has copied your pinwheel along with all your pictures. Just a heads up!
    http://www.honestlydyea.blogspot.com/2012/05/pinwheel-garland-in-3-steps.html

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