How to Grow a Photo Pinwheel Garden

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Does your work desk have an over-abundance of adult stuff?

Have the piles of paper sap the exuberance and whimsy of younger days?

Your remedy awaits in photos! A bit of drilling, bending, and twisting, and voilà — a carefree pinwheel garden is born!

What better way to remind yourself of simpler times, before reply-all emails, conference calls, and voicemail.

How to Grow a Photo Pinwheel Garden

p.s. Your best friend’s DREAM JOB is available. You should tell ’em.

What You’ll Need

  • lightweight matte photo paper
  • 6 inch wood scrap
  • 3/16 dowel rods
  • 13/64 drill bit
  • 1/16 drill bit
  • a drill
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • 3 straight pins
  • 3 small beads
  • pliers
  • a hot glue gun

Step 1: Print and Cut Out Your Photos

Pick out 3 pictures you love. Print them up, approximately two per page. You want enough picture to make a 2 inch, 3 inch and 4 inch square. Trim the white border off. Measure 2, 3, or 4 inches along one of the sides, making a little pencil mark. Fold one corner diagonally to your mark, making a square. Cut that bad boy out and unfold.

Step 2: Prep the Base

Using your drill with the 13/64 drill bit, drill 3 holes in the base, without going all the way through. Make sure to leave plenty of space between and stagger the holes so your pinwheels can do what they do best… SPIN!

Step 3: Drill the dowel

Cut your dowel down in varying lengths. We cut 4 1/2 inch, 4 inch and 3 1/2 inch dowels. Switch bits and use the 1/16 drill bit to drill a hole through the top of each dowel. Careful!

Step 4: Cut  Diagonals

With the picture flat, lay your ruler diagonally between two corners. Run your pencil lightly across. Do this with the other corners as well.

On the traced lines, cut towards the middle point from each corner, stopping a 1/4-1/2 inch or so before the center point. Do this on all 4 corners.

Step 5: Poke a hole and Fold corners

Make a hole in the center and in every other corner with a pin. Flip the picture so that whatever side you’d like on the inside of the pinwheel is facing up. With a pin in the first corner, fold each pre-holed corner towards the center and stick the pin through it. Finally, stick the pin through the center hole.

Step 6: Place a bead on the back

Take a bead and put it on the back of the pinwheel. Go ahead, give it a test. Does it spin?

Step 7: Attach the Stem

To fasten the pinwheels to the dowel, poke the beaded pin through your pre-drilled hole in the top of the dowel. Use your pliers to bend the pin 90 degrees, so the pin lays against the dowel and won’t poke you!

Step 8: Hot Glue the Pin

Use a drop of hot glue to set the pin to the dowel at an angle that allows free spinning.

Voila, 1 pinwheel! Repeat this process again and try it once more starting with another square.

Step 9: Finishing touches

Made yourself a bouquet of pinwheels yet? Great! Fit your finished pinwheel sticks into the holes in the base. And then BLOW!

Enjoy the child-like zen of a pinwheel. Karate chop, fax machine!

Make it Grow

Here are some other ideas to expand your garden:

  • Use a longer strip of wood to make more pinwheels in many different sizes
  • Paint the base and dowels to add that extra bit of panache
  • Experiment with abstract and more textural photos
  • Mix and match with colors