Things You'll Need
- Aluminum cans
- Card stock
- Permanent marker
- Dowel rods
- Spray paint
- Polyurethane spray
Toy windmills can add a whimsical touch to any backyard. Before you toss out your aluminum cans, consider recycling them for this special project. Make it an educational activity for your children, and teach them one way to reduce the amount of waste in landfills. With a few simple tools you can make your own toy windmill in the space of a lazy summer afternoon. Create multiple windmills for your backyard or share these unique treasures with friends.
Collect one aluminum can for every windmill that you want to make.
Rinse and clean out the can thoroughly, allowing it to dry before your begin your project.
Measure the length of the can from top to bottom.
Outline a windmill blade on your card stock no longer than the height of the can in the shape of a wide propeller or flower petal. Start wider at the bottom end of the can, and end just below the top lip of the can in a narrower point.
Use your card stock pattern to trace as many blades as you can around the outside of the can in permanent marker.
Insert your knife at the top of the can just under the outer lip. Carefully slice around the perimeter of the top of the can and remove the top. Leave the bottom of the can intact. Cut out your windmill blades, starting at the top point and moving down one side and then the other, stopping at the base of the can. Do not cut the blades out completely; they will stay connected to the bottom of the can. You should have about four to six blades.
Bend each of the blades out and gently flatten out the bottom of the can using a hammer.
Spray paint the windmill the color of your choice.
Use three coats of polyurethane spray to finish, letting it dry between each one.
Cut your dowel rod to the height you want your windmill.
Attach the windmill to the dowel with a nail through the center. Make sure that the hole is slightly larger than the nail so that the blades can turn freely.
Hammer the dowel rod securely into the ground.
Lynn Holmgren is a freelance writer based in York, Penn. She has published articles about writing, international exchange, travel and outdoor recreation in ShowcasePA! magazine and Bootsnall.com. Homgren also enjoys writing and reviewing short stories on her blog Long Story Short.