Gifting a child a unique and cute toy is one of the best ways to put a smile on their face. An even better way to make a child smile is to make the toy with them. This can be a fun DIY project for you and your family to take on as quarantine takes another hit.

One of the greatest toys that your children will find to be entertaining and interesting is a whirligig. These are similar to pinwheels in the sense that they are objects that spin or whirl. For those who were born in the 90s, you may remember the whirligigs as being the fidget spinners of the era.

These are not only meant for garden decorations, but it’s also possible to create one just for fun. You can choose from tons of different design patterns according to ease and taste to make the best whirligig out there. Here, we have compiled a list of several DIY whirligig plans that are sure to put a smile on your child’s face.

15+ Free DIY Whirligig Plans

1. The Totoro Classic

Totoro Whirligig

Do you or your child like Totoro? If so, this unique representation of the characters is the right choice for you. The first step is to draw, cut, and paint your Totoro characters. Then, cut the box pieces and the hub. Make sure that you use thin plywood to cut and insert the propellers. Assemble the box, bend the wire, and attach everything together, and you’re done! This cool toy will prove to be a great DIY project for any family.


2. A Rotating Option

While whirligigs usually spin around, it’s also possible to include a “twist” and create a rotating one! The best part of this next choice is that you will be able to use recycled materials. This particular author used plastic bottles to make his creation, as well as old CD discs. You can use this for your garden or trees as ornaments. This will not only save you some money, but you’ll also be doing the environment a favor.


3. Rock Band Theme

Rock Band Whirligig

A rock band is one of the coolest ways to get your groove on. With this example, you will need to use some elbow grease because it’s quite difficult to build. Precise measurements, plenty of tools, and a lot of equipment in your workshop are all that you will need in order to build a successful rock band. You can choose to use this as an ornament in your yard to inspire your neighbors to jam out.


4. Flower Robogigithingy

Flower Whirligig Robogigithingy

A cute flower with a robot theme is sure to be one of the most unique designs on our list. This example will be powered by the wind to give a fancy touch to your yard or garden. The individual who came up with this idea didn’t have all the fancy equipment necessary to make a whirligig, so they simply used a cardboard box, nuts, bolts, glue, a wood dowel, and paint stirrer sticks. If you’re looking for another fun, easy weekend project check out our DIY Jenga plans post. Once you make them, you can have hours of outdoor fun playing with the family!


5. Halloween Theme

Halloween Themed Whirligig

Who doesn’t love Halloween? And even if Halloween has come and gone, it’s always possible to make a whirligig with a fall them. You’re going to need a hole saw, hand saw, sandpaper, hand miter saw, drill press, small clamp, a piece of wood, a pencil, and safety glasses. This may be a little difficult to build, but the design idea can be as creative as you want.


6. Easy Toy

Easy Whirligig Toy

Many of the examples on our list required the use of difficult pieces of equipment that not everyone has expertise using. As the article dubbed these “the fidget spinners of the 90s,” you too can have one in your arsenal without having to worry about getting the proper tools. All you’re going to need with this example is basic string, a circular object, and a drill for making holes.


7. Bottle Method

Bottle Whirligig Toy

With this bottle version, you will be able to substitute wood for recyclable materials, thus further improving your carbon footprint. The products that you can use to make this specific example are aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and aluminum tubes. That way, you can have a fun decoration in your yard without having to throw away any materials. Even better, you will be able to save money instead of going to purchase the right tools.


8. Simple How-To

How to Make Whirligig

For those who are a little confused by the instructions, there’s no need to panic. Here, you will get an in-depth guide on how to build a simple whirligig. These entertaining toys are the perfect opportunity for making a DIY project with your loved ones or surprising a child with a gift that they definitely weren’t expecting. Best of all, when you follow the simple guidelines necessary for building it, you won’t end up spending that much time at all.


9. Baron Wind Hound

Baron Wind Whirligigs Hound

Remember Charlie Brown? Well, now it’s possible to make your love for the old childhood cartoon come alive in your very own backyard with this next version. It is also possible to choose any of your other favorite cartoon characters for the project. This can be a fun activity for a class, or it is something that can keep children busy on a nice warm day. Be sure to supervise them when it comes time to use the drill and saw, but otherwise, the instructions are fairly easy and simple to follow.


10. Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me

Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me Whirligig

Flies are some of the peskiest creatures out there, so it’s never a bad idea to create something that is sure to scare them away. With this next creation, the unique addition of fly swatters is sure to get those pesky flies out of your way next summer. You can use this on your patio table when you’re eating so that the buggers can stay out of your way and off your plate. The supplies that are necessary for building this include a steel rod, pine board, fly swatters, spray paint, thick wire, eye screw, screws, washers, hot glue, and rubber feed. Oh, and of course, some patience as you let everything dry.


11. Recycled Space Shuttle Copter


All kids are definitely intrigued by everything that space has to offer. Make your child’s imagination come to life with this great space shuttle creation. It uses recycled materials that will also give them a lesson or two about saving the environment and using recyclable materials for better use. With this, you will need plastic bottles with the caps attached, wood or a block of polyurethane, screws, hoot eyes, string, crimps, a knife, scissors, and paints of any type. Let your imagination run wild!


12. Spin Doctor 5 Wheeled Bicycle

SPIN-DOCTOR - 5-Wheel 'Whirligig' Parade Bicycle

Lots of people tend to associate whirligigs with garden decorations, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. With this particular example, the individual attached their creation to their bicycle, which is sure to be an eyecatcher on a windy day. This attaches to your bicycle to let the wheels spin along in the wind. For this project, the tools that will be needed include standard bike maintenance tools, a chain repair tool, a spoke wrench, handsaw and electric angle grinder, small bar clamp, and welding gear. You’ll also need a bicycle (and an extra that is not in use), an additional front wheel, spray paint, colorful tape, and old CDs. If you’re not into welding or have never done it, then it would be a good idea to either skip this idea or have someone you know who is an expert help you out. This isn’t the best choice if you want something to do with kids, but it can prove to be a unique present for anyone in your circle who loves going biking in the outdoors.


13. LED Lit Garden


And the last option on our list is wonderful for those living in areas that experience summer who want something to light up their gardens as twilight settles in. As many of the options on this list were meant to decorate your garden, this last one includes lights that can keep your garden lit up at night. Once again, this can be a bit more difficult to create, so you will want to equip yourself with a lot of patience to make sure that this whirligig comes to life as necessary. The tools that will be needed include an aluminum sheet, central rod, wire, propeller hub, LED, screws, nuts, large rotator, bottle cap, inner corked wine stopper, rubber band (such as a hair tie), tube, glue, epoxy paste, scissors, soldering iron, paint, and any other decals that you’ll want to add. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and voila- you now have a new and stunning addition to your backyard for the summer!


Whirligig DIY Tips

I made a sonic whirligig for my motorcycle from DIY

A whirligig is a lawn tool that’s useful when the wind blows. It features different designs like cartoon characters or classic folk. It can be easily made at home using some basic materials and tools. Completing this DIY project won’t take time since its method of construction is basic. Here’s how to build a whirligig- you can also use a pdf (many of the above plans have them) for an easier reference point.

My first attempt at a whirligig – Harry Potter style from DIY

What You’ll Need

  1. Craft paints
  2. 1/4 X 18-inch dowel
  3. Tack hammer
  4. Two brads
  5. 1/16 Drill bit
  6. 1/2 X 2 X 6-inch inch Boards
  7. Damp rag
  8. Wood glue
  9. 1/4 X 6-inch Dowels
  10. 1/4 drill bit
  11. Drill
  12. Sandpaper
  13. Band saw
  14. Pencil
  15. 3/4 Plywood sheet
    *Note that these measurements vary depending on what size of whirligig you’re building.

Steps of Building a Whirligig

  • Put your plywood sheet on a work surface and draw the rooster’s silhouette on it with a pencil.
  • Using a band saw cut out the roster’s silhouette. Make sure that you cut slowly following your pencil line carefully.
  • Sand your silhouette with fine-grit sandpaper. Then drill a hole about ¼ inches through it where your whirligig’s wings will spin. It should be in the mid-way of your rooster’s body.
  • At its bottom’s, drill another 2-inch deep, ¼ hole to accommodate a dowel that usually sticks to the ground when displaying your whirligig.
  • Apply glue inside your whirligig in the inside edge at the center of the hole. Then slide your dowel through that hole, make sure that it’s well centered to allow an even amount of dowel to stick out on your whirligig’s sides. After, wipe excess glue that oozes out and give it time to dry.
  • You should then drill a hole at the center of the 2-inch dowels that are remaining of about 1/16 inches. Then in the center of each 2-inch end of your board, drill a ¼ inch hole that’s approximately 1 inch deep.
  • After, align one 6-inch dowel against the other dowel’s end in your whirligig. Ensure that its 1/16 inch hole is perfectly aligned with the dowel’s end center. Then drive a band through that hole and do repeat this process with the other 6-inch dowel. Note that, these dowels should spin freely on ends of the one at the center of your whirling.
  • Glue holes in your boards and insert them into the spinner dowel’s ends. Then, angle dowels on opposite sides one vertically and the other horizontally to create enough surface for the wind to catch while allowing your whirligig to spin.
  • Using craft paints, paint your whirligig adding as much detail as possible. Then give it time to dry.
  • Inside the dowel into the ground, align holes in your whirligig’s bottom such over it and slide it into place.

These simple steps will help you build a practical and functional whirligig. However, ensure that you wear eye protection when working with wood.