Thursday, March 28, 2013

Friday Feature - fan card

Hello friends.  It's Melody with another Friday Feature for you.  Last week in my monthly technique class, one of the cards we made was a fan.  It might seem complicated, but it's really quite easy to make.  A note or a sentiment can be put on the back. 

The first thing you need is a pattern for your fan blades.  There is a free pattern available here, but I ended up making my own.  My blades are about 6" long, and 2-1/2" to 2-3/4" wide at the widest part of the blade, and taper to about 3/4" wide at the base.  If your blade is narrow, you will need more blades to make your fan.  If you have a wide blade, you will use fewer blades in your fan.  You want your fan to open to about a half circle. 

To make a pattern, fold a piece of paper in half, and then measure about 6" along the fold for the length.  On one end, measure out from the fold half the width you want, so if you are making a blade 2-1/2" wide, measure out 1-1/4" and mark it with a pencil.  Draw the shape of the top of your blade.  This can be straight across, a gentle rounded end (trace the edge of a plate), or a point at the center, or you can get creative and make it fancy.  The widest part of the blade will be where the top comes down and meets the side (see picture below).  Taper the blade from the widest point down to the bottom, at just under 1/2" from the fold.  Then cut it out and open the fold.  I trace the paper pattern onto cereal box chipboard, but you could also use clear packaging material, so you can see through your pattern.  This would be helpful if you are tracing the pattern onto pretty paper and want to capture a certain part of the print.  Here are three different blade patterns I made.  You can also vary the shape of the narrow end, as you can see in the picture. 

The first fan I made had six blades, but I like five better, because the uneven number is more pleasing to the eye.  Here is my first prototype that I made.  It's very simple and has all kinds of craziness on the back, since I was figuring out all the steps to put it together. The last time I had made a fan similar to this was about 7 years ago, so I needed to rethink a little bit. 

The next one is my sample for my class.  You will note that the blades are a different shape.  As explained above, it is very easy to change what shape you use for the blades. This one has more stamping and details.  I also added a tassel, which I made from embroidery floss.  I did a Google search for instructions, and found many.

Here is a closer look at the details with the fan closed. 

I wanted to make a new fan for this blog post, and to also include directions on how I stamped and colored the blades.

If you want your fan to have a consistency from one blade to another, then it is important to make each blade the same.  You want a heavy card stock, so your fan isn't flimsy.  Trace and cut as many blades as you need for your fan.  I used five.

I stamped Dylusions background love (flower stamp) just once on each blade, trying to stamp in the same position on each.  I used jet black stazon ink, so I could color the flowers with twinkling H2O's, again making each blade the same.

There was quite a bit of blank space on each fan blade, so I used the wood grain cover-a-card stamp from Impression Obsession to stamp over the complete blade with sepia archival ink.  After stamping, I immediately wiped over the flowers with a paper towel to remove some of the ink from that area before it dried.

I then lightly sponged tea dye distress ink over each blade and then applied vintage photo distress ink along all the edges.

Now that the blades were finished, it was time to put the fan together.  Stack all the blades together and use a crop-a-dile to punch a 1/8" hole about 1/4" from the end on the narrow part of the fan blades.  Insert a paper fastener (or a fancy brad if you prefer).

Spread out the fan blades to the position you want them to be when the fan is open.  Carefully turn the fan face down on the table.  Make any necessary adjustments in the position of the blades, and place a post it note across the blades to hold them in place.

You will note the arrow is pointing to the blade that is now on the top of the stack.  You will start to attach your string or ribbon at the opposite end of the fan.  You only attach your string on one edge of each blade.  (If you do it wrong, your fan will not close.)  On the final blade (on left), I attach the string on both edges, because I think it looks more complete.  I used score tape and copy paper for the little tabs that hold the string in place.  Be sure to press firmly to make sure your string doesn't slip.  Once your string is attached, trim the ends and remove the post it.  You should now be able to gently open and close your fan.

I wanted a little tab attached to make it easier to pull the fan open, so I used half of a small oval and just attached it to the back of one side of the fan.

I really like how the wood grain stamp makes this look like the blades are made from wood.  The tassel on this one is made from crochet cotton. 

If you compare the open fans, you can see that the last one opens differently than the others (the front blade is on the left instead of the right).  I liked the design better when it opened this way.  I don't think it really matters which way your fan opens, but this is where that little pull tab is helpful to open the fan correctly. 

Just for fun, I have two more to show you.  These are tiny - less than 3" long and only 1-1/2" wide.

For my technique class, we always make a small sample of the technique for reference, and that's what these were for.

Some of the products used on my fans can be purchased from Outlaw Women Scrapbook Emporium.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and will give it a try. 


  1. Really like this. Very unique. Beautiful colors. Hope you'll be able to donate something for my online art auction. Going to be 5/17-5/19. Donations will be made directly to American Cancer Society.

  2. Melody, I LOVE these! Just beautiful!

  3. These are stunning!! I have to give it a try..


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