Hand Fan Help!

Hey Glowfolk!

So I’m having a nightmare and I’m hoping you can help. It’s my wife’s birthday tomorrow and I’ve been trying to make her a new hand fan (her last one got stolen at a dance event) as part of her present. I have the 1.5 mm birch ply slats made, stained and assembled using a nail (hammered until it mushroomed into a rivet)… only thing is I cannot figure out how to get the leaves of the fan to pull themselves apart and fan out.

I’ve done a bunch of google searches and there are loads of tuts on paper and fabric folding fans but none I can find for wooden slat fans :frowning: If anyone has one at home / knows how they work could you please help? You’re my only hope Glowbi Wan!

Here’s what I have so far:



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Would it be possible to thread a string through the small holes at the top and tie it to the holes so that the open position is held by the string?

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This is the only post I found too but without a diagram I can’t seem to make my interpretation of the instructions work.

I put the two holes on each leaf / tine so that I could sort of string them together but I can’t make it work well; If I tied the right hand edge of one tine to the left hand left on the one below it then it will wort of work. The biggest issue there is that you can see the thread through the heart as it pulls taught (but this might be as good as it gets).

The odd things is that on most of the cheap Chinese ones I see online I can’t see any thread at work at all, and they work amazingly well. If I had one to actually hold and poke at for ideas… :frowning:

I’ll go take another look. This is now one of those “how hard can it be?” kind of things :slight_smile:

I know, right?!

What’s really knarking me is that I know she’s got another wood fan in the house somewhere (a cheaper stand-in one, but same principle) but I can’t find it and I can’t ask where it is without giving the game away. Grrrr. lol

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if I string individual leaves together this is what I get. I’m going to come unstuck on ever subsequent leaf as you’ll be able to see the thread through the heart.


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Calling @johnbrooker, our resident fan expert…


So, I’ve just looked at a lot of hand fans online… a lot.

I think you’ve got it. Most have a bunch of slats and it appears that the trick is learning how to spread them, no strings attached.

Check out this link for the photo (it’s 2000 px wide by long):

I think we’re over complicating it :slight_smile:

I’m not so sure - the string are just REALLY hard to see.Captureexclusive%20black%20japanese%20wooden%20hand%20fan%20w%20pendant%20%20pouch-f59960

Easy on this last one though. I’m just worried I don’t have the right configuration of holes to allow it to work :frowning:

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OK, I’m here and delaying my pizza lunch, so I’ll just grab a glass of wine and we’ll go for it.
Thaks for the shout out @cynd11


Oh, you’re a legend! :wink: Thank you!


OK, I’m sitting back to watch now too!

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Thin monofilament might be less visible?

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Correct, but I think we can work around it. I’ll make each post short, so we can see how it goes.
The aim is to connect each stick to the next with a length of thread,( polyester sewing thread is good, but fishing line is even better) so that when opened the sticks just overlap, but when closed, they can’t past each other anticlockwise.
Concentrate now.
This means that the length of thread from where it comes out of a hole, upwards, on a left stick, to where it enters a hole on the rear of the next right stick, when open fully, is the same length as the distance between those two holes when the sticks are closed shut


To achieve this, the spacing of those particular holes around the fan need to be
1/4 :hole:1/4:hole:1/4:hole:1/4
You’ll see that there is a hole in the middle, which is the configuration of your last photo.
But the good news is that we can use the other holes as well.

What I suggest is that you thread the sticks using the row of holes that are central between the large heart at the top, and the first diamond.
You are going to need an anchor hole on each of the guard sticks(the ones at each end). Make them with a needle or finest drill that you have, and position it by pulling the nearest stick over it and pencil mark down through the right hand hole (the larger one).
Turn the fan over and do the same with the guard at the other end.
Make a knot in your thread, and bring it up from the outside towards the first center stick.
Guard sticks at each end, and all the rest are center sticks. If you want to talk about the middle stick, call it just that !
If you make a small countersink in the outside of the guard, you can push the knot flat into it, than a spot of superglue will fix it. (Use a bit of tape around your finger to push the knot + glue into the hole).


If your using sewing thread, a drop of super glue on the end, and pulled between the fingers, will make a good substitute for a needle, and speed up the threading.
Push the thread up through the first large hole, then down through the small one next to it. Across the back and up through the other large hole. Repeat this threading all around the fan, and finish by going from the last center stick, up through the hole you’ve now made through the front guard.
DON’T glue it yet.
With the first center stick placed so that it just overlaps the edge of the left hand guard, pull the thread taught. The see if you can close that stick over the guard, keeping the thread reasonably taut. If all is well, this means that the position of the holes is just right.
Repeat this approach as a method of arranging the sticks, until you get to the other end, then. So that you finish up with the fan open. Then tie a knot above the front guard stick, and as before, secure it in place with a spot of glue.
To keep the sticks from slipping, a spot of glue in the small holes will be enough to secure them.
Good luck, and feel free to post here with problems.

Finished first glash of wine, so off to cook pizzzzzzzzzza.


I absolutely love this thread! Got a question? We have a resident expert for it! :star_struck:


I saw what you did there .