How to Make a Hand Fan

Things You'll Need

  • String
  • Ribbon
  • Paper
  • Wood
  • Saw
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Wooden board
  • Cardboard
  • Tongue depressor
  • Glue

There are two basic hand fan designs: folding and paddle. Folding fans are more portable and easier to carry with you. Paddle fans are a bit easier to make and seem to move more air. Either design should keep you cool when the weather turns hot.

Folding Fan

Fold a rectangular piece of paper back and forth in an accordion fold. Each fold should be about 1 inch in length, and the folds should all be even.

Measure the length and with of an individual fold. Since all the folds will be about the same size, you can just measure one at the end.

Draw a rectangle on a piece of flat board that is about 1.5 inches longer and half an inch wider than the fold you just measured. For example, if your folds are 1 inch wide by 6 inches long, trace out a rectangle about 1.5 inches by 7.5 inches

Cut out the rectangle with a saw. Then, draw and cut out a second identical rectangle. Drill two small holes in each rectangular piece, about half an inch away from either end.

Glue the pieces to the end folds of the fan, one on each end. Tie the two bottom holes together.

Loop a ribbon through the two top holes. Tie it in a bow to fasten the fan closed. To open it, simply untie the ribbon.

Paddle Fan

Cut a rectangular section out of stiff cardboard. It should be about 5 inches by 5 inches and have rounded edges.

Glue a tongue depressor to one side to make a handle. Flip the cardboard piece over and glue another tongue depressor parallel to the first.

Glue a piece of cardboard between the two depressors as a brace. Cut it down so that it is exactly the same size.

Cut a small hole in the edge of the fan. Thread a piece of string through it and tie a knot at the end. Tie the string onto your belt to carry the fan around with you.


  • A paper fan will work without the wooden endpieces. They make the fan a little more stable and let you easily fold it up and carry it with you.