DANCING FANS IN POSSIBLY FEWER THAN FIFTY STEPS BUT I’M ACTUALLY AFRAID TO COUNT BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE MORE (the precursor to FAUX FIRE FANS) — a tutorial!

for the purposes of our november 14th workshop at laurel hill cemetery — or just for your own making at home — there are two levels of fan fun to be had. believe me, just taking the wire clothes hangers and some tape gives you something that will keep some kids — not quiet, but very amused — for a long time.

this tutorial will give you that — a pair of dancing fans that in and of themselves are great fun. in our NEXT tutorial, we will show you how to kick it up to a pair of FAUX FIRE FANS. but let’s start with the basics!

online, we found a youtube video for making these fans that i will not even bother linking to. it more or less suggested that you “just bend the hangers to necessary shape”, and we know that there’s more to it than that, right? we know that because we have tucker.

“just bend the hanger” indeed.

if you want a pair of fans that match -- and if you eventually want

if you want a pair of fans that match — and if you eventually want “fire” fans — here’s how you want to go.

DO NOT PANIC if you cannot see these diagrams clearly enough or because they are not sized online so that you can lay a hanger over them. (they were hard to photograph as well.) we will have the diagrams at workshop! and even seeing them this way with the numbered points WILL in fact give you an easier time working on your own to get a nice symmetrical pair.

plus, we have more pictures.

here's how your hanger usually arrives. with a pair of needle-nosed pliers, you will begin to pull that first

here’s how your hanger usually arrives. with a pair of needle-nosed pliers, you will begin to pull that first “twist” open some to the left.

see? just pull it out a bit.

see? just pull it out a bit.

then take the

then take the “hook” portion and just tug it a bit to the right. you are widening the angle between that first wire “end” in the twist, and the hook. just getting them a bit further apart.

see? it’s gonna be hard to get confused here. tucker has really laid it all out. (we knew he would.) the next step will be twisting the “hanger” loop of your hanger and turning it so it is centered — and makes a nice loop for holding onto your fan.

turn!

turn!

and twist. see the paint flakes? that's gonna happen. just make a rudimentary twist between your two ends; this will end up covered safely in tape so that little hands will not be scratched.

and twist. see the paint flakes? that’s gonna happen. just make a rudimentary twist between your two ends; this will end up covered safely in tape so that little hands will not be scratched.

the next few steps are pretty self-explanatory, once you see the pictures. you are simply opening another space wider, by removing two of the bent angles near the top of the hanger (which will be the base or bottom of the fan). pliers can help to smooth it out, you can also use your hands as well to get the line you want. (again, if you wish to use our template, we will have it at workshop.)

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the next few steps represent what you’d think of as “just pulling out the flat part of the hanger to round it out to be a fan”. there’s a little more finesse to it. have a look.

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ok. now for the tape part. the tutorial we found really did sort of suggest, “just wrap tape around it”. we tried that, and it was… okay. but tucker figured out a better way. here, he walks you through it. (he’s making the second fan in a pair, so in the photos below, he is just making sure that the two shapes are nice and symmetrical.)

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begin by tearing a piece of decorative duck tape into THIRDS. you’ll be using thirds, halves, and whole strips of tape. wrap some pieces of 1/3 wide tape around your “loop” at the bottom of the fan. (i know this looks like a loop to stick your finger in and whirl the fan around on, but trust me, you’ll all find out very quickly that’s not a good idea.)

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now take a long piece of tape of a HALF width, and lay your wire fan shape on TOP of it, centering at the farthest points of the fan. leave a little at each end to double over; it won’t really matter where, in the long run.

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now take that remaining half-width and lay it on TOP of the wire fan, right over the other one. now you have two right sides of tape going across the widest part of the fan, on both sides.

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tuck tried doing this a few ways and found that the best way to get a nice smooth edge across the top curve of the fan was to take sort pieces of tape torn in one-third widths, and to put them all along the curve itself.

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don’t panic, now it actually DOES get easier! according to tucker’s instructions, you really do, at this point, “just fill it in.” this is why we have been using solid colors rather than the fancy printed tapes for this step — because things are going in all directions. it doesn’t necessarily have to look messy. you can also decorate over it. but here, you are just going for coverage.

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see where tuck’s fingers are pointing in the photo below? you want your tape coverage to come down to that line — where the large “fan” shape of your fan begins to open.

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here’s a finished pair! they don’t have to “match” — these don’t!

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REMEMBER: THIS STEP gives you a pair of dancing fans. to make a pair of faux fire fans requires making TWO pairs like this. (faux fire fans are heavier, and in making them, one pair of these becomes one fan with lights and battery pack sandwiched inside of it!) all the more reason not to worry terribly about your colors being exactly the same.

if the thought of going any further than this is exhausting to you, well, take a rest. this is a good pair of dancing fans! you can have a really good time with just these. don’t take my word for it…

~ by amber dorko stopper on November 1, 2015.

 
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