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DIY Hand Fans – How to Make your Own Customized Hand Fans

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It’s hard to believe that I came up with the idea to make my own wedding hand fans almost a year ago now! Though, honestly, I didn’t make most of them until May and June. I kept thinking about writing up the tutorial I’d planned from the very beginning, but as fall slipped into winter, it didn’t really seem as relevant. Who wants to read about how to make hand fans in January? Now that it’s March, I thought I’d finally write up the tutorial! Temperatures will be heating up soon in many places, and spring wedding season is about to kick off. These hand fans would be fantastic (hehe) for other events, too. They’d be cute at a warm Easter egg hunt, at a summer BBQ, or just to be more comfortable than everyone else while walking around seeing the sites. Honestly, we still use the leftovers at home on hot days! This tutorial includes not only instructions, but also a fan template you can print out and use to create your very own fabric covered fans. DIY Fabric Covered Wedding Hand Fans Most of the pictures are almost a year old, and I didn’t have my neat-o vinyl backdrops then, so please bear with me on the photos.

Materials needed to make your DIY hand fans

  • Chipboard (it’s like cardstock, only even thicker) – 1 piece per fan
  • Fan template (see links below!)
  • A pencil
  • Scissors (a sturdy pair for the chipboard and a pair for the fabric)
  • Wood fan handles – I used these lovely wavey wood handles
  • Double sided sticky tape (the flat, clear kind, not the foam type)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Fabric (or decorative paper, like scrapbook paper)
  • Sturdy sewing machine and matching/coordinating thread (optional – I have the Janome HD100 and use it for all my sewing needs)

I have two versions of the wedding fan pattern for you, PDF and Silhouette SVG. You can cut the pattern on the Silhouette, but it isn’t very good with chipboard, so you’ll need to do the rest by hand, anyway. You can grab the PDF for free from Google Drive.

You can download the Silhouette file here:  Wedding Fan SVG File Each fan is a sort-of rectangle that measures about 9″x7″, and you’ll need two pieces of fabric for each fan. Alternatively, you could use decorative scrapbook paper. We chose to go the fabric route because Hawaii is known for surprise rain showers and I didn’t want our fans to get ruined! These fans are a lot of work – I highly recommend breaking the job up. I did most of my final assembly on the same day, but I just cut out a few pieces of chipboard and a few of fabric every day or so until I was finished. It was way easier on my hands that way! Cutting through chipboard is tough. As a final note – sewing is totally optional and not necessarily recommended! I have a heavy duty machine, but not all sewing machines can (or should!) sew through chipboard. I also sewed through the birchwood handles because I knew my machine could take it, but this may not be for you. Unless you have a heavy duty machine, I highly recommend just sewing through the chipboard, not the handle.

If you don’t want to sew anything, please check out my tutorial for printable cardstock hand fans!

fan handles

How to make DIY hand fans

1. Print and cut out your fan pattern.

2. Trace the fan pattern onto chipboard, using one piece of chipboard for each fan you want to make. trace the fan pattern 3. Cut out the chipboard fans using nice and study scissors! cut out the fan 4. Cut two pieces of fabric or decorative paper for each fan. Make sure you iron your fabric before you cut it! cut two pieces of fabric 5. Play around with the positioning of your fan handle on the chipboard. When you like what you see, use a piece of double-sided tape to stick the fan handle in place. tape the fan handle in place 6. Take your project outside (or to a very well ventilated area) and protect your work surface with a cardboard box, plastic tarp, etc. You’ll also need a second piece of cardboard to protect your handles from overspray. 7. Lay a few of your chipboard/handle pieces in a row on your protective surface. Place a second piece of protective material (a box works so well!) over the handles to protect them. Spray the chipboard with spray adhesive, they carefully position a piece of fabric on each fan and press it in place. spray adhesive the fabric in place 8. Flip the fans and repeat so that both sides are covered. 9. If you’re not sewing, your fans are finished! Congratulations. If you are sewing, set your machine to a zig-zag stitch and then edge stitch all the way around each fan. As noted above, I don’t recommend sewing through the wood handle unless you’re sure your machine can handle it (and you’re willing to accept that it probably isn’t very good for your machine!). zig zag stitch along the fan edge 10. Enjoy your awesome fans! DIY Custom Fabric Wedding Fans If you’re not sure where to get materials, I got my chipboard and fan handles on Amazon. I purchased the fabrics at a local shop and the spray adhesive at Target. These are the exact items I used successfully for my project:

Many custom hand fans are $4-$6 each, so you can definitely save some money by making your own! Plus, the chipboard is way sturdier than a single sheet of cardstock, which means your guests can actually use them to fan themselves and cool down – a big plus if you’re having an outdoor wedding in the spring or summer – and they’re a bit more reusable as a favor for your guests than a program fan that will just end up in the trash. Whether you just make a few fans for a picnic or dozens and dozens for your DIY wedding, I hope you enjoy this tutorial and pattern!

Are you looking for more DIY wedding ideas? Please head over to my “DIY Wedding Resources” page to see a gallery of all my DIY wedding projects!

If this project seems like a little much, please see the printable DIY hand fans tutorial! There are 11 fantastic patterns to choose from and there’s no sewing. =)

DIY wedding hand fans with free printable templates

I hope you enjoy and have a beautiful wedding!


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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Edi March 19, 2015, 13:17

    These are definitely much appreciated at hot summer weddings! Love the fun colored fabrics you used.
    Happy 8 month anniversary 🙂

    • Natashalh March 19, 2015, 15:19

      Unpredictable weather and high temperatures are big reasons I always swore I’d never get married outside! I’ve worked at probably 100 outdoor weddings and I was always baffled by why anyone would choose an outdoor venue. Life certainly has its surprises!

  • Linda March 19, 2015, 18:08

    YAY!! I LOVE THEM. I really do! Pinning to Sewing Board. Best wishes and thanks for coming to my party every week. That’s pretty awesome and your stuff is beyond fabulous. Linda @Crafts a la Mode

    • Natashalh March 20, 2015, 06:39

      You are so kind! I really appreciate you hosting and the way you take the time to actually visiting links. Very cool!

  • Duni March 19, 2015, 23:34

    Happy 8 month anniversary!!
    Those fabrics are gorgeous 🙂 What a great idea for events in hot weather!

    • Natashalh March 20, 2015, 06:41

      Thank you =)

      I worked at a lot of weddings were people gave out sweetgrass fans in South Carolina. They were nice, but can cost up to $10 each! These were way more budget-friendly.

  • Cynthia March 21, 2015, 06:01

    What an amazing idea! and absolutely love the batik fabric you chose!

    • Natashalh March 21, 2015, 11:08

      Thank you! I can get a lot of cool batiks here, and I love working with them.

  • Judy Nolan March 21, 2015, 21:01

    Great idea, Natasha, especially in warmer weather, when wedding guests have a tendency to use the wedding program as a fan.

    • Natashalh March 22, 2015, 10:22

      Thank you!

      These are far sturdier and way better at fanning that a program. We really are still using some of them around the house on really muggy days!

  • Paige March 25, 2015, 02:41

    Haha, yeah, no need for fans around here in January! These are great and I love that you used fabric to make them more waterproof. I would’ve have thought of that.

    • Natashalh March 25, 2015, 06:36

      It was even kind of cool here January/February. Getting into the 60s at night may not sound like much, but when it’s combined with wind coming through your jalousie windows…well, it’s cool enough for me! Definitely not a time to write about fans.

  • Crystal May 3, 2016, 09:34

    I was wondering if you have the fan template in word ? I would like to make fans for an upcoming military function and utilize our battalion’s insignia.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Natashalh May 3, 2016, 09:46

      Hello! No, I’m sorry, I don’t have it in word. It is just something I physically drew and then scanned into the computer. You could just use a rectangle, though, instead of having the rounded corners like I do, which should be super easy to make in Word with your battalion’s insignia. =)

  • Ibukun (Senero) March 28, 2017, 10:29

    This is really beautiful.

    I also just uploaded a tutorial video on a customized handfan using Ankara Fabric (African Inspired fabric) on my blog. It’ll be nice to know what you think.


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