Pinwheel Magnets from Recycled Beverage Cans

For a recent swap, I made pinwheel magnets. They do actually spin when you blow on them, too.

To make them, I started with small wooden blocks that I got at my local creative reuse store. You could use any scrap wood for this. Paint and decorate it however you’d like.

Drill a small hole in the top (for the wire stems) and a larger hole on the side (for the magnet). You could use a self-adhesive magnet if your wooden base is large enough. I used E6000 to attach the magnets and wires, then let everything dry overnight.

I have a stash of flat metal pieces harvested from beverage cans. For tips on cutting out and flattening the metal, search on YouTube or via Google.

I punched out large squares. (Yes, good paper punches will work on beverage can metal.) You can turn the punch upside-down to choose which part of the can to punch.

Next, I used a Sharpie marker to draw an X, corner to corner, across the silver side of each square.

Then I used a circle template (available on my ruler) to draw a small circle at the center.

Using scissors, I cut into all the corners, follwing the lines I’d drawn. Each time, I only cut up to the edge of the small circle.

Next, I made small holes in the very center of each square, large enough for a pin to easily pass through.

Rubbing alcohol will remove all the Sharpie lines.

If there are any rough edges, you can file them down.

Then I shaped the turbines. You just curl them inwards, keeping the cut lines aligned. You can use a knitting needle to help shape them.

I rounded the tips so they would not be sharp.

The next step was to bend one end of each stem into a spiral shape. It’s important to leave a small opening at the center, about the same size as the hole in the metal.

To connect everything together, I trimmed a headpin shorter and ran it through the pinwheel and its stem, then attached it to an earring back (I had a little bag of earring backs from when I was making earrings to sell, years and years ago. They were a bit yellowed from age! I myself do not have pierced ears.)

Don’t attach them too tight, or the pinwheel won’t spin properly. You’ll want to keep testing it as you make adjustments. You can add a drop of glue at the very back if you want more security, but be careful that the glue does not interfere with the motion of the pinwheel.

All done! Give it a whirl!

I also made some flowers in the same manner. Punched the shapes with paper punches, put holes in the centers, and used a tiny brad to hold everything together. These don’t spin, though.

P.S. These are not for kids. The magnets can be dangerous when swallowed, and metal edges can be a bit sharp.


These are brilliant!! Clever you


The little pinwheels are so clever! You put a lot of fine work into such tiny things!


So freakin’ cool!

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What?! You can punch metal with paper punches?? No way, cool! Pinwheels always make me think of my big sister; I think this gave me an idea for a Christmas gift. Thanks for the tutorial!


Very cool!

We have some large spinning metal flowers in the garden; I think the petals are bent to catch the wind; I’ll have to look at them more closely to figure it out!

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Thanks so much; I appreciate the kind comments. These were a lot of fun to make.

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These are so clever and fun! I love them!


These are so cool! And such a creative reuse of materials that may have ended up in the garbage!

I love that the pinwheels actually spin, and I love this:

Because it can both mean to spin the magnet but also to give a try making them. Not sure if the pun was intended, but it made me smile :blush:


You do so many amazing things! These are adorable and I love that they really do spin! Thanks for the tutorial!!


I love these so, SO much! Both styles are really cute and so springlike! The kinetic aspect of the pinwheels… SQUEE!

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Thanks, everyone! I love all bad puns and dad-jokes, @LindyBlues.

We had all the magnets on our refrigerator for a day or two before I sent them out. I loved that my husband and son found it almost impossible to walk by the fridge without blowing on them to make them spin. (Okay, me as well!)


I’m lucky enough to have one of the pinwheels and one of the flowers on my fridge right now and I love them both! Thank you for posting a tutorial on how to make them! I love the behind the scenes.


Very interesting

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These are just so cool. I am also lucky enough to have one brightening up my fridge! :heart:


These are amazing! I love that they actually spin!


Very cute! I like that actually spin too.


Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!

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These are great! It’s awesome that they spin!

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:tulip: :sun_behind_rain_cloud: :rainbow: Well, lookie here! Your cool craft is one of this week’s Featured Projects! Congratulations! :tulip: :sun_behind_rain_cloud: :rainbow: