Classroom Decor

Fan Circles Tutorial


(Disclosure: Some of links below are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

These circle fans have been blowing up my instagram feed.  No classroom is complete without them.  Layer them up and brighten up a classroom and bulletin boards.  They are cheap and cheerful and so easy to make not too difficult to make.  I watched a number of videos and did some research and then tried to make some for Mr. B’s classroom in the fall.  Before you embark on this journey, read through the lessons I have learned to decide whether or not paper medallion fans are truly worth a day of your life:

  1. You need time.  And patience.  Don’t be making these on a school night at the beginning of the school year, or on a workday.  I am flat out going to tell you now that this is not a craft to make during the school year.  Make them during the summer, when you are calm, when you have time (the first one takes about 45 minutes, but they become faster to make the more you have made them) to yourself, and when you have lined something up to watch on Netflix.
  2. They are boring to make.  I mean b-o-r-i-n-g.  Maybe it’s just me.  I didn’t find that folding bits of paper back and forth held my attention.
  3. They are fiddly.  Urgh.  However, now they are finished I don’t think there is a big difference between the ones I took time and love over, and the ones I folded while ordering my lunch from my phone.
  4. People will like them, but they won’t gush over them.  I speak from experience.  It was a lot of effort on my part for my husband to say, “nice work” when I showed him.  And they are for HIS classroom.  Obviously when that was politely pointed out by me there were some more oohs and aahs, but I just don’t know if you wield the same power over other faculty members as I do with my beloved.
  5. Don’t leave your glue gun plugged in.  I know, that’s rule 101 when you set up your classroom, but it bears reminding again.  And again.

So without further ado, here are my step by step photographic directions for making fan circles.

You will need:

Glue gun, paper, measuring tape, pencil

  • glue gun
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • pencil
  • 5 rectangles of paper.  (I used 12″ x 6″ and also standard letter size paper 8.5″ x 11″)

Step 1

Turn the rectangle of paper portrait ways up.  Use a pencil and ruler to make one inch markings down the side of the paper.

Step 2


a) Fold back along the inch mark you made.

b) Turn over and fold back another inch.

c) Keep concertina folding back and forth until the strip is finished.

d) Repeat with the other 4 rectangles (this is where it gets tedious).

You may find that the folds are not fully aligned.  Don’t sweat it.  It’s a paper fan medallion.  There are more pressing concerns in life.  Like how you are going to hide the smoldering burn hole in the carpet that the glue gun has left.

Step 3

You should have five rectangles all concertinaed (concertinaed is a word – wow, that was a surprise, was expecting the red squiggly line there) back and forth.  Using the afore-mentioned glue gun that you did not accidentally leave on the carpet and forget about while you were double-checking to see if concertinaed really was a word, squeeze a thin line of glue on the outer edge fold of one rectangle and adhere to the outer edge fold of another rectangle.  Continue until all the rectangles are glued together.

Then stretch it out and admire your work.  Pull it out horizontally and sqeeze it back for a time, pretending you are playing French cafe music with your box accordion.  You know you want to.

Step 4

If you skip this step, there won’t be enough rigidity in the center of the circle to hold the medallion together.  So.  Don’t skip this step.

Using the glue gun go back and forth over one end of the accordion folds.  Be patient and hold the end together for about five minutes.


Step 5

Woohoo, we have made it to step 5.  OK, here is where you have options.  You can either glue the fans open (see below) or you can keep them folded like this for storage, which is what I am going to do with the other ones I will make, and just paper clip the ends together when you need them.  I like the idea of them being reusable as I don’t think I will be making these again next summer, so folding them back down and storing them at the end of the school year is a winning solution.

Trusty glue gun in hand, glue one edge of the accordion.  Open up the fan to make a circle and adhere the two edges together.  Hold in place until set.  And you are done.  Hooray!


I fussed a bit, and didn’t love making them, but it wasn’t really hard, just a bit tedious.  They will make a great accent to the pirate bulletin board I am fixing for Mr. B, and it was a cheap and cheerful activity if you have paper and a glue gun.  Just don’t let anyone leave your classroom until they have admired them.

Make your own Fan Medallions Circles Tutorial


Easy fan circles
Fan medallions tutorial


  • Rebecca

    Your writing style is so entertaining. Great tutorial. I ended up using 7 pieces instead of 5, but it worked out either way. Made for a bigger accordion so that was probably worth it, right? Thanks!

    • sweetsensations

      I think you are right – the bigger the accordion the better! I actually realized that the longer the length of your rectangle, the more pieces you need – I just made one with eight and it is pretty impressive! Thanks for reading – hope you have signed up for emails!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *