How to Make a Simple Paper Fan

Hand holding colorful paper fan

Evis Disha / Eye Em / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 45 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 45 mins - 1 hr
  • Yield: 1 paper fan
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to $15

A simple sheet of cardstock may not seem like much, but with the help of a couple folds and some craft supplies, we'll teach you how to turn it into a beautiful folding fan. This is a simple little DIY project that's easy to do, doesn't require too many costly supplies (though you could use a die cut machine if you wanted to add a little extra flair), and at the end, you'll have a pretty and practical fan to cool down on hot days or to use as a decoration. Read on to see what you'll need and how to get started.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • Clothes pins (optional)
  • Hot glue gun


  • Cardstock (patterned or solid)
  • Embellishments such as glitter or sequins
  • Ribbon


  1. Prep the Paper

    The first step in this project is preparing the paper that you'll be using for the fan. You'll want to use some sort of cardstock, such as scrapbook cardstock, that's either patterned or solid, depending on the look you want to create with your fan. The standard size of scrapbooking cardstock is either 12x12 inches or 8.5x11 inches; in this tutorial we'll be using the square format.

    Take the cardstock and, measuring 1/2- or 1-inch intervals with a ruler, score the paper using your scissors. Make sure not to press too hard with the scissors: You want to lightly score (or scratch) the paper, as this will make folding easier later on. Then, cut the square piece of paper in half, perpendicular to the scoring marks you just made.

  2. Start Folding

    Next, begin folding the cardstock at each scored line. Making the fold should be pretty easy, and the cardstock should snap into a neat fold thanks to the scoring. Once you have folded the first half, fold the second half in the same way. Then, grab one end of each of the two halves and attach them together using some glue to make one long, continuous folded fan.

    If you are using patterned cardstock, make sure the two pieces are facing the same way so that the pattern looks continuous. Let the folded cardstock sit for a while until the glue dries completely. Place it under something heavy like a book to ensure that the pieces stick together well, or clip it down with two clothes pins.

  3. Add Some Sparkle

    If you want to add some extra sparkle or other embellishments to your fan, now is the time to do it. Take the folded cardstock and gently unfold it. Using glue, attach any glitter, sequins, buttons, pearls, or other decorative details of your choice. Let them dry completely to prevent anything moving out of place or falling off.

  4. Create the Fan

    Once you are ready to put your fan together, take one end and, using a hot glue gun, attach a piece of ribbon around the base, as if you were tying a rubber band around it. This will serve as the fan holder. Make sure to choose ribbon that complements the colors and design of the fan cardstock, so that the whole item looks well put together. Let the hot glue dry completely, then gently open up the fan, and it's ready to use!


    Be careful when using a hot glue gun, as damage can occur if it is not used safely. If needed, use protective gloves or finger protectors to prevent injury, and never leave a plugged-in hot glue gun unattended. While it is plugged in, use a heat-resistant stand or surface to rest the glue gun on when you are not using it, so as not to damage an unprotected surface. Once unplugged, leave the glue gun out to cool completely before storing it away.

  5. Optional: Create a Fan Wheel

    If you want to use the fan for more decorative purposes, think about creating a fan wheel, or even multiple fan wheels that can be put together to create a decorative wall that's great as a photo backdrop or as party decor.

    To create a fan wheel, follow the above steps but instead of just using one square sheet of cardstock and cutting it into two pieces, use two sheets of cardstock so that you end up with four fan pieces that can be stuck together to form a circle. In this case, you can omit the step of gluing ribbon on, since you will have one continuous round fan.