Aren’t Chinese fans gorgeous? They’re dainty and have beautiful writing or images on them. They’re very attractive. The hardest thing about making Chinese fans is all the folding you have to do. It’s important to make exact folds to create the perfect fan and that can be difficult. You can eliminate all that folding, yet still create an enviable Chinese fan, by using coffee filters. The filters already have folds that encircle them so they’re ideal for making the Chinese fans.
Fold a coffee filter in half and crease it on the fold. Make sure the edges of the filter align with each other perfectly. Look at the folded filter and notice the flat area which has no folds. Cut this piece off and use it for another project. Run the scissors between the two coffee filter pieces, on each side, to cut the filter into two equal sections. The sections are already folded so you can skip that step completely!
Lay down a piece of newspaper then use markers to draw on the coffee filter. You can look at online text of Chinese writing, and imitate it, or just create lotus flowers and similar designs. The marker will bleed through to the other side of the fan so it’s important that you lay down newspaper. Although you can use most any color of marker to make the fan you’ll often see Chinese fans that feature red writing. No matter what color or design you use, make the designs on one half of the coffee filter, but not on its matching piece. The decorated filter will become the front of the fan and the other piece will be the back.
Use popsicle sticks to make the handle for the fan. Paint the sticks or use them in their unfinished state. Black lacquer is a nice look if you want to paint them. Lay the decorated filter out on a table so that the image or writing is face-down. Apply glue to about half of one popsicle stick. Position the stick on the back of the filter, in the middle. Allow the unglued stick to protrude from the bottom of the filter.
At one end, glue on another stick, and bring the opposite end of it together with the original stick. Do not stack these on top of each other but do butt them together. Do the same to the opposite end. Choose an area between one end stick and the center stick, glue on another stick between those two points, then glue the end of this stick to the denter and side stick, on the handle. Do the same to the opposite side. The five sticks that stretch across the coffee filter, then meet at the bottom to form the handle, are the support for the fan. Glue on the second coffee filter piece and allow to dry.
The Chinese fans you can create from coffee filters are lovely and unusual. They’re perfect as a craft project for young kids who can’t do all that perfect folding needed to create other Chinese fans. Hang these on a wall, make them in different sizes and designs, and start your own collection!