How I DIYed a Wind Twister From Straws, Wire…and Finally Wood

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU.

Can’t get enough of that amazing yard art? Check out this star shaped wind twister I made with drinking straws, wire and tape! And finally, wood. I love yard art, and unfortunately it’s still too early to be thinking about it. The helix-spiral windspinner I made last spring is just the beginning. Decorations for the backward, porch and garden are the most epic fun!

Have I told all of you readers, how much I LOVE backyard windspinners. I don’t know how I got started, maybe it’s just my love of the outdoors, or the memory I have, which is bittersweet, when my ex and I went to the Cotton Pickin Fair in 2007 and I bought two of them made from aluminum. They were beautiful. 

When we broke up, he said “I could keep one of them…”

OK, that’s TMI, you probably don’t care about any of that stuff from the past. That’s OK. I just have this one really happy memory, where my ex showed me this wooden windspinner in a really cool three-dimensional star design that showed a different side when it moved in the breeze. He said I could paint it and hang it up outside.

It sounds really weird, but I’ve been in love with that design ever since, and i’m not kidding, it is hard to find an actual blueprint for it, and even harder to re-create it. But that never stopped me.

Hard to describe it as you don’t see anything like this at craft shows. It looked like a hexagon, Star of David, triangular something or other. Yep, that cool and unique. Well one day (well, it was Friday actually) and I just ran into a how-to by accident when looking up other ideas. (Tell me I’m not the only one who does this, haha)

This crafty garden blogger (yep, my niche, too) from Canada deserves the credit for this how-to post on how to make this awesome opt illusion design out of PVC tubes and elbows that helped me out. Today I’m sharing this unique design with you…

I wanted to do a ribbon shape twirler, but these are advertised as “bird repellants” No bueno there. I love birds. Why would I want to repel them?

Back in 2018, I decided to come up with a prototype so late on I could follow it. I used lots of heavy gauge wire and drinking straws.  Here is is in all its glory.

star windspinner

I have never worked with PVC, but it’s on the to-do list. But I was afraid I might lose the article so I decided to use very basic materials: drinking straws -the kind with the flex neck -about a yard of 12 gauge wire and some color type masking (not washi) tape.

Since this thingy kind of has all these triangles making up the design, my approach was to take each straw and bend it at the flex-neck point to form the corner and to compensate for the lack of length on the flexed side I would take another straw and pinch it at the end and attempt to thread it through the open end of the flexed opening.

Straws are great to have in your crafting arsenal but in and of themselves they are not that strong. To strengthen them, I came across some wire by the yard and threaded it through the bent straws to give it some stability. However my resulting design looked like, well, crap. (Sorry I did not take pictures of the process in action; I was not thinking that far -just trying to figure it out!)

Update: It’s now 2 years later (February 2020) and this baby is STILL holding up – it did get blown off the gutter from where it was hanging due to some bad weather and got a tad “smooshed” but because I used a wire foundation I was able to nudge it back into place.

windspinner from straws and tape

Finally it got worn out,t he tape was becoming brittle and I decided that it had served its purpose, so on to the real thing! (Mostly, in the picture below, I wanted to capture the beauty of a winter sunset.)

I’ll let you in on a little secret…..

Sometimes I will dismantle my old paintings. I will however keep the wooden stretcher bars to use later on. As I have said lots of times, I love wood as it’s the purest substance to craft with, so I treat it as a special material…and I almost thought about the pvc pipe that the Crafty Gardener (Sorry, if I learn her first name, I will address her as such.) But then I thought about all those stretcher bars I’ve collected and thought, I need to use some of them instead.

opt ill windspinner

I had writing on some of them like the dimensions and names of paintings (used a black Sharpie, of course, that’s impossible to remove….) I plan to paint my finished object, so I figure I could use a water?Clorox mixture to hide that part) The tricky part will be not just coming up with the wood pieces, but the joint parts. I’ll have the corner pieces, but then the pieces that will be attached perpendicular, how to make up for the gaps?

Anyway, I will have 12 pieces of wood all the same length (6″) Still mentally anyway, trying to work out the issue of the gaps between the wood pieces. Oh well, when of if I get to that point, I will let you know. Bye for now, hope you will try making one of these like I did.

OK…UPDATE (3/6/23) I finally have the pieces. I couldn’t have done it without John’s help – he used his compound miter saw to cut them – they all had to be cut at the end at a 45-degree angle, and half of them needed to be cut an slant int he opposite direction. Here they are:

wooden pieces for whirligig

I have drawn up  blueprints of the design piece by piece which I’ll need to go by. Then glueing the ends together. Half of them, because they are canvas frame corners, just slide into another corner. Stay tuned….I found this tutorial on instructables dot come – it shows ALL the step by steps you have to do, even with very little dialogue, I was able to figure it out.

Here I have all the pieces numbered, and the sketches I did on paper to work out the design….

wood pieces numbered

Anyway, I owe a debt of gratitude to these contributors for their willingness to show the layout for this design step by step:

Shoutout goes to Linda@CraftyGardener, jbrubacher99 on instructables dot com for the layout blueprints which I used above, and @SpecificLove7 (Specific Love Creations – I see he’s based out of Winston, Georgia – you’re probably not too far away from me!) for his PVC art tutorial.

Ok, I figured it would be better to assemble the pictures together in this little collage. I am using Gorilla Wood Glue to attach each piece, and only two at a time per day, then finally I added a coat of white primer (well, paint tbh)

assembling windspinner

Then I painted it in pretty metallics, since that is my favorite style…. Starting with this pretty teal green, I debated, mentally for awhile, about how many colors to use, I thought about just 2 but then eventually decided to make all four sides a different color (teal, purple, pink, and gold.) All of them are made by the Deco Arts I talk about here.

 

After that, I had the finishing touch (spray sealant) and to hang it, I used fishing line, a few beads and a metal sinker: Now you can see it spinning in all directions…

windtwirler five sides

 

Hope that was something you enjoyed, would you try something like this? Comment below…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top