Fire fans are metal fans with Kevlar wicks that light up, and they are used for fire dancing. Many styles exist, some small and agile for technical tricks, others large and elegant for showy performances. Traditionally, fire fans are often used by belly dancers.
When making fire fans, the welds must be done properly and Kevlar attached securely. Always spin off excess oil before lighting your fans on fire, and have someone on hand to help put out the flame. Familiarize yourself with the North American Fire Arts Association regulations and guidelines, which are linked in the Resources section.
Making the Body of the Fans
Pick a design based on your skill level as a metal worker and desired function of the fan. A large fan is used for slow dancing and a small and agile fan for quick technical moves. Look at websites that sell fire fans for design ideas.
Prepare steel rods for welding. Measure and cut thin, non-coated steel rods with an electric saw. Sand rough edges with an electric sander.
Weld steel rods and steel circles together to match your design.
Sand excess metal and rough edges with the electric sander.
Drill two small holes with an electric drill about 1 1/2 inch apart in each rod's end where Kevlar will attach.
Sand rough edges with the electric sander.
Attaching the Kevlar Wicks
Cut Kevlar to the proper length. Determine the amount of Kevlar needed for each wick by wrapping the Kevlar around a rod until you reach the desired thickness. Cut a piece of Kevlar that length for each wick with a pair of scissors.
Attach the Kevlar to the rods. Wrap the Kevlar around each rod and stick non-coated metal wire through the Kevlar and drilled holes. Cut the wire so it extends 1cm beyond the Kevlar in each direction. Use pliers to fold the wire back into the Kevlar, securing the wick.
Sew down the end of the Kevlar for extra security. Use Kevlar thread and a needle for for this task.
Buy appropriate metal. You probably will use thin steel rods and small circles for gripping and spinning the fans. Do not buy coated steel that will produce dangerous fumes when welded. Cold rolled steel is commonly used.
To make fire fans this way, knowing how to operate heavy-duty metal equipment is necessary. Specific training is needed to use a welder, electric saw and drill. The appropriate protection must be worn: leather gloves, jacket and face-mask. The American Welding Society website, linked in the Resources section, has more information on welding.