Patriotic Pinwheels

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A little late for 4th of July, but still good for any occasion, pinwheels (or yo-yos) can dress up your cupcakes or your scrapbook pages equally!

pinwheel 7-5-2011 5-20-23 PM

It’s been a while since I’ve done a tutorial, so let’s take a step-by-step look at how I create this simple pinwheel, shall we?

I’m going to make a disclaimer right now, my hands and my workspace are nothing to be proud of, I’ve been hard at work on artwork that I’ll finally be able to share with you in a few weeks, but until then it’s not a pretty sight.


Begin by cutting a long strip of cardstock (or patterned paper). The width of your cardstock will be about half of your finished diameter of your pinwheel. For a cupcake pinwheel, I have cut my cardstock 1” wide by 12” long. This will make a 2-1/4” pinwheel.

The bigger the pinwheel, the more length you’ll need. Since 12” is generally the maximum length you can get from a piece of cardstock, it’s perfect for this size of pinwheel. If you have a larger one, you’ll need to piece together more strips.


Since my cardstock is plain, I want to add some color with stamps. Border stamps look great on a pinwheel, so I’m using the Eclectic Edges stamp set. Love this set, it has 6 borders that I find myself using over and over. It’s a great price too, at $18.95 that’s just $3 plus change per border!


This border is pretty wide, so I let half of the image hang off the edge of the cardstock when stamping. This cuts the width in half, so I have a narrower image. Don’t forget to stamp on a disposable desk pad or scrap paper, or you’ll be scrubbing ink off your table!

Stamp both sides of your cardstock, if your pinwheel will be viewed from both sides. Like on a cupcake. For a scrapbook page or a card, you can get away with just one side.


Stamp the second border in blue. I kind of missed lining up the middle, but once you accordion fold it won’t show. Probably. Hopefully.


Score at 1/4” increments. You can do it old-school with a ruler and an embossing tool. Or use your paper trimmer with the scoring blade. Or use an scoring board. Whatever. Just don’t skip the scoring part, it’s very difficult to fold successfully without scoring first.


Fold on all the score lines. Looking good!


To add glitter to the edges, here’s what I do…

After folding your cardstock, flatten it out again. Why? It’s much easier to get the folds all pre-creased before you add the glitter.

Use a liquid glue (I’m using mod podge) and brush along the edges. You want something that’s going to dry clear, and it should be liquid-ey enough to trap the glitter so it won’t be falling off in you food if you’re using this for cupcakes. Liquid glass is another adhesive that works well.


You can dump the glitter onto your brushed-on glue, but if you like a nice, even line of glitter, try this:

Pour a small pile of the glitter onto scrap paper. Place the glue-ey edge of the cardstock alongside the pile, then scoot forward like a bulldozer and push the pile of glitter with the edge of the cardstock, just enough that it makes an even line. Work in short sections to keep the glue and glitter even.

I’m not going to lie. This will look like you’re a very glittery drug-dealer in the movies.

After the glue dries thoroughly, use a paintbrush to whisk away all excess glitter. You don’t want it in your food.


For the pick, you’ll need a long toothpick (the kind they use for sandwiches) or cut a bamboo skewer in half.


Use a glue gun (or tacky glue) to attach the pick so that the free end extends off the TOP of your design. This gets me every time, I forget and do the the opposite. Just remember that the pick will be extending from the bottom of your pinwheel, so you need it to come out of the top of the design, because once it’s a circle the top will be at the bottom. Get it? No? Just keep reading.


Bring the other end of the pleated cardstock around to meet the skewer and sandwich the skewer between. I use a med-temp glue gun, so I don’t burn my fingers. If you use a hot glue gun, this can be tricky. If you use tacky glue you’ll need to clamp the piece until dry, or pinch it and hold for a few minutes.


Manipulate the accordion folded cardstock to lay flat. This takes a minute, but it will come together, I promise. It’s a lot easier to do if you’re not holding a camera.

Once the piece lays flat, you are going to skooch the center together, until it’s a very small hole.

Now you get to choose how to keep the hole closed, because if you let it go, it will pop apart like a demented jack-in-the-box and you have to go through the whole flattening process again. In fact, you should decide BEFORE you start the flattening. There are several thing you can do….

1. Punch a circle (stamp or decorate it if desired) and add adhesive, then place over the hole.

2. Use a sticker over the hole. It needs to really stick, so you might want to add extra adhesive.

or do what I’ve done,

3. Fill the hole with glue from the glue gun, hold until dry. You can sprinkle with glitter while the glue is still tacky, or insert a brad, or cover with an embellishment like a button.

pinwheel 7-5-2011 5-20-24


Haley D. said...

Very cute! You make it look so simple. Thanks for the upside down/right side up tip. I will have to try some of these.

p-inks said...

Brilliant Tresa.... just brilliant!

~jan said...

What a terrific tutorial! Love the stamped edge-wouldnt have thought to do that!

Annette:) said...

A fabulous idea for the summer. My daughter's 30th b-day and grandson's 1st b-day are next month. I am looking for fun ways to deco their cake or cupcakes. Thank you for this idea:)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Why don't you all just say MP in GE with GUY?

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