How to Make Outdoor Pinwheels

colorful windmill image by leafy from

Things You'll Need

  • 1 empty aluminum can
  • 1 plastic bottle cap
  • Razor scissors
  • Razor in razor holder
  • 1 nail
  • 12 to 20 inches heavy string
  • Hammer
  • 1, 1/2-inch square wooden post, 24 inches long

Make an outdoor pinwheel that catches the wind and emits natural or bright colors as it twirls. The concept is the same as making a paper pinwheel that is held on a pencil only on a larger scale and by using materials that can withstand the weather. Dress up your garden or walkway with an assortment of whirligigs that are delightful to watch and add a touch of color in motion. Pinwheels are easy to make and fun to watch as they work with the wind in unison. This is also a great way to put recyclables to work.

Make a Sunburst Pinwheel from Recyclable Material

Use a razor blade in a sturdy holder
cutter image by PASQ from

Use your razor blade and carefully cut off the top of an aluminum can. Slice down the entire side of the can without and stopping when you are 1/2 inch from the bottom using your razor scissors.

Remove the top of an aluminum can
pop top image by Tammy Mobley from

Position your scissors about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from your cut at the top of the can and make an identical cut that leaves a narrow strip. Continue all the way around the can using this method. When finished, lay your strips out flat with the bottom. You will have a sunburst look.

Use a hammer and nail to make a hole
hammer and nails image by Horticulture from

Use your hammer and one nail to make a hole in the center of the can's bottom. Also make a hole in the center of the bottle cap.

Any type of long wooden stick will work
wooden utensils image by from

Weave one end of your string through the hole in your aluminum can and tie a large knot so the string cannot slide through. Weave your string through the bottle cap so it lies loose against the aluminum can. Position your wooden stick so the bottle cap rests against the top edge. Secure your string to the wooden stick by wrapping around several times and tie.


  • Get as creative as you like in making shapes instead of strips or spray paint your sunburst pinwheel and wooden stick with spray paint.


About the Author

Kate Eglan-Garton is a professional writer, literary agent and editor. Writing since 1985, she is a past business owner, interior decorator and magazine editor that has used her knowledge to write interesting pamphlets and magazine articles. Her education includes certification in writing, a degree in interior design and an associates degree in business.

Photo Credits