Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • one aluminum handle (aluminum flat bar ~8")
  • one foam sheet
  • one 1 1⁄2” bolt (size 6-32)
  • one washer (size 6-32)
  • four hex nuts (size 1⁄4-20)
  • one locking nut (size 6-32)
Tool list
  • Pen or pencil
  • Cordless screwdriver
  • A range of drill bits from 5/64" to 5/32"
  • Clamp
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Optional Extras

  • Philips screwdriver (small)
  • adjustable wrench

    Prepare the aluminum or wood handle

  1. Gather your clamp(s), the screwdriver and bits, your safety glasses, and the aluminum handle.
  2. At one end of the aluminum handle, measure and mark a dot with your pencil 1 - 2cm down from the top and equal distances from each side.
  3. Clamp your handle to a sturdy work table so that the flat side with the mark is facing up. Put on your safety glasses.
  4. Starting with the smallest drill bit, drill a hole where you have marked the handle. Go slow and steady, making sure the hole goes straight down and not at an angle. Once a small hole is drilled, choose the drill bit that is the next size up and drill through the hole again, working your way up in bit size until the bolt can just slide through, easily but without much room for wiggling.
  5. Make the wheel

  6. Measure a 22 cm by 22 cm square from your foam piece. The easiest way to do this is to fold one corner of the foam over until it reaches the opposite edge in a triangle shape and draw a line along the edge. When you unfold, you should have drawn a square. Cut this out.
  7. Using a ruler for a straight edge, draw a line from each corner to the opposite corner, so that you have an “X” through your shape.
  8. At each corner, on the right side of each line, measure 1 cm from the line and 1 cm from the top edge. Mark a dot there. You will be making 4 dots in total, one for each corner of the square.
  9. From the centre point of the square (where the X lines meet), mark 2.5 cm up on each line. This will be your stop line. There will be four of these in total.
  10. Now cut along each of the four lines from the corner to the centre stop lines.
  11. Punch a hole where you marked a dot at each corner. (Be careful when you line up the hole punch, to make sure it is not over the edge of the foam. Try using the punch on some paper first). Also punch a hole at the centre point. You may need to squish the foam a bit to get the punch to reach the centre - that’s fine!)
  12. Assemble Your Pinwheel

  13. Insert a washer onto the bolt and then, from the back of the sheet, thread one corner of the foam onto the bolt.
  14. Move from one corner to the next around the outside of the wheel, until you have threaded each of the four corners of the foam square onto the bolt. Always come from the back of the project. You will be bending the corner with the hole in it towards the centre and then sliding it onto the stack of layers on the bolt. The bolt should always be facing down, towards the centre point.
  15. Thread the bolt through the centre hole.
  16. To the end of the bolt, add a washer followed by four large nuts.
  17. Finally, add the handle, then the locking nut, tightening with your fingers to start.
  18. Make sure the pinwheel spins easily and smoothly. If it doesn’t, make sure the nuts spin loosely and that there is just a tiny bit of room on the bolt for them to wiggle. Also, make sure the wheel itself isn’t hitting the handle. If it is, smooth out the foam until it spins freely.
  19. Secure the locking nut using a screwdriver and a wrench if you have these. If not, ask an adult to tighten it with their hands. That should be enough to secure it.
  20. Your pinwheel is ready to roll. You can blow on it or bring it outside and let the wind do the work for you!
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