DIY Japanese paper fan ornaments


With the holidays just around the corner, we’ll show you how you can easily DIY these decorative Japanese fans to hang in the christmas tree!

In Asian culture the concept of the fan is steeped in rich history. The oldest signs of fans can be seen in ancient Chinese records as well as visually represented in the wall paintings of the ancient Egyptians. Why are we referring to these fans as Japanese fans while their origin can be found in Chinese records? That’s because the Uchiwa, which is believed to have been introduced to Japan from China in the Nara period (710-795) came first, but the Sensu is the most similar to the folded hand held fans we know today. And the Sensu was thought to be created by accident in the Japanese court in the 6th– 9th century. Japan then repays China the favour and introduces them to this new type of fan. Sharing is caring after all.

Fans were not pieces of artwork initially. Indeed it was many centuries before it was considered an art form worth properly pursuing. In fact, these fans were actually supposed to be only opened when necessary. Their journey started as being tools to transport information for the aristocracy and for the use of the Samurai classes. They were used for recording maps, textbooks, prayers, calendars, letters, court announcements and so on. Women in the court had specific folding fans that they had to carry depending on their social standing and marriage; a symbol of their rank.

Nowadays the fans are adored for their beauty throughout the entire world. Their intricate designs are perfect for decorative purposes and for including them in your Christmas tree! Let’s get started with this DIY.

What will you need?

– Sheets of paper (pick out festive designs!)
– Wood sticks (coffee stirs or popsicle sticks)
– Decorative strings for attaching the fan to the tree
– A glue stick and hot glue
– Scissors 

The base of the fan

Step 1:  Cut your paper to size.  If you are using A4 paper, fold it in half and cut along the folding line. With one half you can make one fan, so one A4 sheet gives you two fans in total!

Step 2:  Grab one half and put the other one aside. Fold this piece in half and cut along the folding line to end up with two quarters. 

Step 3: Fold both pieces into an accordion, about 1 cm thin.

Step 3:  Using the glue stick, attach the two folded pieces of paper in the center by layering an accordion fold onto the second piece.

Constructing the fan

Step 1:  Start with the fan backside up and attach a wooden stick to each side with the glue stick or glue gun.

Step 2:  Fold the paper around the stick and secure with more glue.

Step 3:  Carefully cross your sticks letting the fan open up wide and hold in place with a dot of hot glue.

Step 4:  Place a piece of string for hanging around the center and tie the string at the top. Your fan is now ready to be added to your Christmas tree!

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