How to Make a Japanese Paper Fan

    by Kaye Wagner

    About the Author

    Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.


    Japan has a strong paper culture and fans are a proud example of it. Most fans are made of paper and bamboo and are decorated with raffia, beads and calligraphy. Japanese fans are a symbol of friendship, respect and good wishes and are commonly given as gifts at graduations and weddings. Japanese fans are also used in traditional dances such as "Noh" performances. And -- just like everywhere else in the world -- women use their fans during the hot summer months to keep cool.

    Things You'll Need

    • Legal-size decorative paper
    • Flat rounded wooden sticks (similar to those used for frozen treats)
    • Epoxy glue
    • Pencil
    • Paint
    • Paintbrush
    • White glue
    • Raffia

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    Fan out five wooden sticks so they overlap and meet at the same point. This point should be one inch from the bottom of the sticks.

    Use a drop of epoxy glue to secure each of the wooden sticks to the next. Wait several minutes for the epoxy glue to set, but do not overhandle the sticks. The epoxy glue will not set completely for several hours.

    Place the sticks over the decorated paper and trace an arc from the end of the left-most wooden stick to the end of the right-most stick. Draw a line from top of the right-most wooden stick halfway down the wooden stick. Repeat the process for the left-most stick.

    Remove the sticks and set them aside. Draw an arc parallel to the top arc that connects to two bottom lines.

    Cut out the arced paper and paint Japanese characters on it. Let the paint dry completely.

    Use white glue to attach the paper to the tops of the sticks.

    Wrap the raffia several times around the point where the sticks meet and tie a knot to secure it. Tuck the ends of the raffia into the wrapped raffia section.

    • Decorate the fan with Japanese-themed stamps.
    • Purchase Japanese-themed paper at your local crafts store.
    • Let the raffia ends hang and string a bead onto the end. Tie a knot to keep the beads from slipping off the ends.
    • Use care whenever working with epoxy glue. Use the glue in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves. If your skin comes into contact with the epoxy glue, immediately rinse the glue off your hands.