DIY Japanese Fan

Appropriate for grades:
Subject areas: Visual and Performing Arts

Uchiwa is a Japanese fan with a rigid structure made of split bamboo and washi paper. These fans are used in festivals and celebrations for the purpose of cooling down during hot summers in Japan. The designs on the fans are made with a variety of techniques such as dyeing, hand painting, printing, paper cutting, and collage. Many classic fans depict summer themes such as water, flowers, and fish. Today, it’s common to see uchiwa made from plastic, featuring characters and figures from pop culture such as anime and yokai characters to music stars. The fan below is a painted image of two yokai called Kappa. With amphibian features and beak-like mouths, kappa are as small as children but very strong.

What makes you think of summer? What will you paint on your fan?


You'll need:

  • 2 sheets of cardstock or cereal box - 12" x 9"
  • 1 large crafts stick (tongue depressor)
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • coloring materials (watercolor, markers, &/or colored pencils)
  • patterned papers (optional)


Procedures A grouping of images showing the steps of how to create a Japanese style fan using two card stock sheets and a popsicle stick.

  1. Take two sheets of cardstock ( or cereal box) or cardboard and draw a large circle on each sheet, use a round plate to help you trace a circle. Cut out the circles.
  2. Draw a magical creature or a summer design on both circles, using watercolors, markers, and/or colored pencils. You can also use patterned paper and glue to make a fun collage on your fan. If using watercolors remember to let your circles dry.
  3. Once you are done decorating take one circle and flip it over to the blank side. Then glue the craft stick vertically for a handle.
  4. Roll your glue stick all over the blank side and sandwich the decorated circles with the craft stick in the middle.

Download Lesson Plan