Japanese Fans

Japanese Fans are sorta complex, but you get to create a hand-made fan that looks pretty cool. I found some ehow directions online, but they weren’t really intended for mass-production. The materials I used included:  8″ x 1/2″ x 1/16″ bass wood, floral/paisley wrapping paper, light weight collage papers, Elmer’s glue, craft wire, beads, needle nose pliers, small tassels, and a drill. (Headpins are not actually needed. Ours broke easily, and we ended up using wire and beads instead.)

Getting the correct size of basswood was a bit complicated, but looking back, there are probably a variety of dimensions that would work, if you had some time to experiment. I decided to make a template for the fan paper dimensions. After I traced all of the wrapping paper shapes, I cut slots in my template so the teens could draw lines for the wood placement. I also drilled holes in the wood using a 1/16 inch bit, instead of using a push pin as the directions suggested.

For my sample, I used old book pages to collage the back side of the fan. If you decide to cover the back side of the fan, you probably won’t be able to close your fan because the glue and paper make it stiff. It still is a pretty fan that provides a cool breeze, but it could also be a wall ornament. In order to make the activity more creative I also provided plain white paper (packing paper). You can provide some information about fans and Japanese culture. There is a lot of symbolism connected to fan imagery, and it is interesting to find out that both genders use fans for communication and education.


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