How To Make A Paper Mini Turbine

This weekend marks what I think of as the real start of summer. School is out and people have a little more free time with national holidays, civic holidays, and vacations. It seems like a good time for another DIY paper toy.

I spent a couple of days this week working the bugs out of a design for a paper mini turbine.

If you want to make one, you will need some paper, a glue stick, and a bamboo skewer. I was successful with models made from three inch squares of 75 gsm/20# copier paper and four inch squares of 90 gsm/24# copier paper. The lighter weight paper should be sturdy enough to make a turbine from a four inch square.

I marked one side of my paper to differentiate ‘front’ and ‘back’ in case you want to make your turbine with a patterned paper. This is what the ‘front’ of my square looked like.

When making the folds in the steps below, crease firmly.

Place your square of paper ‘front’ side up in a diamond position, and fold the bottom point up to the top point.

Open your paper flat, rotate 90°, and fold the bottom point up to the top, open flat and turn over. Position your paper so that it looks like the image below.

Fold the bottom edge up to the top edge. Open flat, rotate 90°, fold bottom edge up to top edge, then open flat.

Flip your paper over so that it is ‘front’ side up and oriented diamond-wise. It should now look like this.

Fold into a diamond shape by pushing in on the indicated folds while bringing the top and bottom points together.

Take the upper flap on the right and fold in toward the centre. What was the lower angled edge on the right should now lie parallel to and about 0.5 cm/0.2″ from the centre vertical fold line.

Fold the top flap to the left and repeat the previous fold with the lower flap.

Turn your paper over and repeat the fold with the other two flaps.

After all four flaps have been folded, open your paper and place it ‘back’ side up.

To stabilize your turbine, you will need to use some glue. The pink triangle indicates the gluing area on one side. There is an equivalent triangle on each of the four sides. Apply glue to all four triangles.

Fold your turbine closed, pressing firmly on the glued outer triangles. When viewed from the top, your turbine should look like the black lines in the image below. After the glue has set there is one final step before inserting the bamboo skewer. Holding two opposing flaps, gently pull the flaps away from each other. Repeat with the second pair of flaps.

What you are trying to do is make a tubular opening in the centre of your turbine. Viewed from above, your turbine should look like this.

Insert the bamboo skewer. Operate the turbine by blowing on it. (If it fits a little too snugly to operate easily, gently pull the flaps outward again.)

For those of you who prefer it, here’s a crease pattern.

Have fun!

In book arts news:

The Public Domain Review has an entertaining article on the letter X in abecedaries composed prior to the discovery of x-rays in 1895.

You can find the full article here.

Also from The Public Domain Review (and alphabetical) are four viewable books of flowers with their meanings in floriography.

Find the article and all four books here.

If you love looking at beautiful libraries and are in Pasadena on July 20th, you might want to attend this presentation sponsored by The Book Club of California.

For more information, and to RSVP, go here.

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
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2 Responses to How To Make A Paper Mini Turbine

  1. Ann Mackay says:

    Aha…wonder if these would work as pigeon scarers! (If made from something robust enough.) Could be worth a try – thanks for the instructions! 🙂


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