Looking for something pretty and practical to give as wedding favors? Why not make hand fans you can actually do at home! These would be ideal for an Asian-themed occasion, a summer garden party, or even a wedding social with a tropical motif. Here, we’d like to show you the fun possibilities of crafting your own hand fans out of interesting materials and embellishing them with just the right accents to create the desired look. Guests will come away with a memento of your wedding that they can use to keep cool—and as a decorative piece in the home!
A Charming Cherry Blossom Hand Fan
If you’ll be having an Asian-themed wedding, hand fans are a charming favor option. While you could always buy ready-made fans at an Asian store or online, why not impress guests with ones you’ve made just for them?
Our example features a palm leaf place mat cut in half to create a unique rectangular shape. The cut edge is then glued to a flat bamboo stick, and trimmed with fabric cherry blossoms. Simply add a favor tag and they’re ready for the party!
Hint: The key here is to create an Asian look with your choice of materials and textures. So, you can use similar natural materials for the fan body, such as rice paper, hand-made paper, or sinamay fabric mounted on a cardboard backing. If bamboo sticks are not available, flat wooden sticks from a craft supply store would be fine. And for pretty adornments, you could attach faux bamboo leaves, orchids, or an origami crane or lotus blossom.
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A Paper Flower Cut-out Hand Fan
Having a Japanese-inspired wedding reception? Then, take a cue from the traditional Japanese paddle fan to create another pretty wedding favor option.
In place of the simple round or paddle form, we cut a large flower shape out of heavy board in a soft shade of pink. We then mounted it on a bamboo dowel, split at one end to insert the flower cutout and secure it with glue. For a special touch, we dusted the flower with gold glitter and created a center out of sinamay fiber. A pretty accent for the Japanese place settings, don’t you think?
Hint: If you want something more stylized, you may also opt for round, oval, square, or even free-hand shapes for your fan. Just be sure to select a sturdy enough material to hold its shape when the fan is in use. For trimmings, you could glue a single origami figure to one side of the fan, then wrap the handle in matching colored ribbon with a jeweled or beaded tassel.
An Artistic Handpainted Fan Made of Embroidered Fabric
This next hand fan idea would be lovely for any Asian-inspired wedding—as the cultures of China, Japan, Korea, and many others are known for their exquisite watercolor painting. So if you have the artistic skills, this would be a chance to display them!
The base for our handpainted fan is simply cut from a fabric-textured board. Then, the sweeping cherry blossom design is painted on free hand—resulting in no two fans having identical decorations. Displayed atop a stunning earthenware platter, the fan sets an artful ambiance for the occasion.
Hints: Depending on the material you use for the fan, we suggest you experiment with different kinds of paints to see which works best. In our example, we used puff paints to create a raised design with a glossy finish. But you may opt for actual watercolors to get that authentic “Chinese brush painting” effect. Just be sure to spray the painted fan with fixative to keep the watercolor design from bleeding or smudging.
A Nautilus-shaped Shell Hand Fan
Fans aren’t only for weddings with an Asian motif. Tropical or beach summer weddings are ideal occasions for giving clever and crafty hand fan favors as well! The nautilus-shaped shell was cut from cardboard. Then, we simply painted it following images available online, then used a bamboo dowel to serve as a handle. Come time for the reception, we placed a fan atop each guest’s plate together with a palm leaf basket filled with seashells. Such a pretty welcome!
Hints: You can research online for different varieties of shells to use as designs for these hand fans. Don’t be concerned if you can’t make them picture perfect. The charm is in the handcrafted effect!
Or you can always opt to make plain fans with a natural or textured material, then simply embellish each one with tiny seashells and wrap the handle with raffia fiber. You’d still have your tropical look!
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