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Advent DIY Day 7: Joy Pinwheel by AKA Design

Dec 7, 2013

by Jo Casley handmade and vintage goods

Every day between December 1st and December 25th, we bring you a new festive ‘how to’ as part of our DIY Advent series.

Shannon Acheson is one half of the Canadian husband and wife team behind AKA Design, a blog about pretty things, thrifty design finds and affordable DIY projects, among other things. Shannon lives just outside Toronto, Ontario with her husband Dean, their three kids and their kids’ old dog.



What is your favourite handmade present you’ve ever received from someone?

My grandmother used to make the best mittens. I wish I still had a pair around.

Do you have a special tradition you do every holiday season?

We have several. We decorate the tree together (fake, in November) and my husband and son put on the star. We watch all the Christmas movies together. And we always let the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve (always pyjamas) and their stockings.

For you, how is Etsy “where one-of-a-kind gifts come from”?

Etsy artisans are so creative and have hands-down the best creatively made gifts. I go to Etsy first for things I can’t make myself but have the homemade look and feel.

Joy Pinwheel Banner

Around the holidays a couple of years ago, I created a simple yet beautifully vintage-looking paper pinwheel banner for a women’s event I was speaking at. After the event, a woman approached me. At the time, I knew only a bit of her story and of her health struggles. She told me how much she loved the banner – so I sent it home with her as an early Christmas gift. This Christmas, settled into our new home, I decided to recreate that banner. Now when I pass by it I think of my friend and am reminded to say a little prayer for her and to be JOY-ful this Christmas.



·   15 pages of sheet music

·   Scotch tape

·   Scissors

·   Glue gun and glue sticks

·   Computer and printer

·   Paper and a cereal box or card stock

·   Mod Podge (or white glue)

·   Foam brush

·   Coarse glitter

·   Jute or hemp string

·   Clothes pins (mini or regular sized)

·   Cookie sheet covered in tin foil to contain glitter and mess (optional)


1. Accordian-fold all 15 pages of sheet music. (I used one page of sheet music from an old hymnal, color-photocopied fourteen times. My sheet music is truly vintage, from my Mother-in-Law no less, and quite fragile. Photocopying it allowed me not to rip and tear my sheets as I worked. Please be aware of copyrights if you choose to do this).

step1_sheet music folded

2. Tape 5 folded sheets together. Bend around and tape ends together. This will be your pinwheel. Don’t worry if it pops up in the middle and looks more like a lampshade – we’ll fix that in the next step.

step2_folded sheet music

3. Cut a small piece of cardboard or paper and hot glue to the back of your pinwheel to keep it from popping up in the middle.

step3_pinwheel back

4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 for each pinwheel.


5. Now print out J-O-Y in the font of your choice – I used Century Schoolbook sized to 400 points in a really light gray color. Ideally print directly onto card stock. (My printer won’t accept card stock, so I printed onto regular weight paper and glued that onto a piece of cardboard cut from a cereal box! Make do with whatever you have if necessary).

step5_joy printed

6. Using a foam brush, brush Mod Podge (or white glue) all over your letters. Then sprinkle with coarse glitter. Let dry.

7. Using sharp scissors carefully cut out your letters.

Step6_joy glittered on tray

8. Hot glue one glittered letter onto each pinwheel.

step7_letter on pinwheel

9. Attach pinwheels to jute or hemp string with clothespins. Hang and enjoy!

step8_hanging one

That’s it – an easy, glittery and festive decoration that expresses just a little bit of the spirit of the season!

finished_joy pinwheel

What do you have to be joyful about this holiday season?

Have you made any Christmas advent DIYs? We’d love to see – send us pictures with the hashtag #ChristmasAdventDIY and we’ll share them on and Twitter @EtsyUK.


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