Want to Beat the Heat? Make This Colorful Ankara Fabric Fan

Sewphilia Studio
by Sewphilia Studio
8 Materials
1 Hour

Hot summer days just beg for a good fan! Follow this tutorial on how to make a fan with fabric using Ankara fabric and popsicle sticks. Make some DIY fabric fans for your friends too, and get creative with different fabric patterns!

Tools and materials:

  • Ankara fabric
  • Iron-on interfacing
  • Ruler
  • 8 Popsicle sticks
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Needle and thread
  • Twine
Handmade fabric fan tutorial

1. Cut the fabric and interfacing

Cut a rectangle 44 x 5 inches out of interfacing, and 44 x 10 inches out of fabric. Iron the interfacing onto the bottom half of the wrong side of the fabric. Fold the top half of the fabric over the interfacing and iron it again.

DIY fabric hand fan with glue gun

Seal the open edges by applying glue to the interfacing on both sides near, but not too close to, the edge.

Creating the handles out of popsicle sticks

2. Make the handles     

Glue two popsicle sticks together, for double thickness. Do this for three sets of popsicle sticks so you have four double-thick popsicle sticks.

Now, glue two double-thick popsicle sticks together lengthwise, so you have one long double-thick popsicle stick for the handle of the fan. Do the same with the other two double-thick sticks. Now you have two handles.

Making an Ankara fan

3. Attach the fabric fan to the handles

Glue one handle to one short edge of the fabric, right along the edge. Most of the handle will extend off the fabric. Next, add more glue to the top of the stick that is on the fabric and fold the fabric and stick over once to glue down.

Now the handle is fully encased in the fabric. Once more, apply glue to fabric on the outside of the handle and fold it over one more time.

Attach the second handle to the other end of the fabric the same way.

How to make an Ankara hand fan

4. Create the fan pleats

Starting from one handle, fold the fabric back and forth, pleating the whole length of the fabric until you reach the other handle. This is the same technique you would use to make a paper fan. Hold the pleated fan together with a hair elastic while you sew the pleats in place.

Sewing the pleats into the fabric fan

5. Sew the pleats

Pass a threaded needle through one top corner of the outermost fold. Then continue passing it through the same corner of each fold until you come to the other end of the fan.

Repeat sewing through the middle of each fold, and then once more through the other corner of the folds. Pull the thread tight enough to hold the pleats together but not too tight so that it might break. At the end of each row of stitches, tie off the thread and cut.

Ankara fabric fans

6. Unfold and decorate

To open the fan, bring the two handles around the fan in opposite directions, so that the sewn tip is now in the middle of the fan and the fan is a complete circle. Glue a decorative button to the center of the fan, just above where the handles end.

African fabric fans

7. Decorate the handles

If you want decorative handles, wrap and glue twine around each handle from top to bottom to hide the popsicle sticks.

How to make a fan with fabric tutorial

DIY fabric fan tutorial

I hope you stay cool with your new DIY fabric hand fan. If you like this tutorial, share it with a friend and leave a comment here! I’d love to see what fabric patterns you used.

Suggested materials:
  • Ankara fabric
  • Iron-on interfacing
  • Ruler
See all materials

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