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Table Top Weathervane

Table Top Weathervane
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Students will create a miniature table top weather vane from cardboard or wood.

By Andrea Mulder-Slater

About Weathervanes:

A weathervane lets people know which way the wind is blowing. A useful concept turned decorative object, the earliest weathervanes were very simple carvings of animals such as fish and roosters. Eventually, more designs began to emerge as arrows, cows, pigs and angels started to appear on rooftops all across North America.

Traditionally, weathervanes were made sheets of metal or they were carved out of wood. You can create a miniature weather vane using several techniques ranging from cardboard cut-outs to paper mache. For this particular weathervane, you can use cardboard – especially if you are working with a classroom full of children. If you have the facilities – and the time however, you could try this project with wood (if you have a scroll saw and a steady hand).



  • Students will be directed to observe weather vanes and discuss their purpose and history.


  • Students will discover the history of weather vanes.


  • Students will create a miniature weather vane from cardboard or wood.


  • Students will learn to appreciate the art created not only by them, but by others as well.

What You Need:

  • Thick cardboard (or thin wood – if you choose).
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or a scroll saw (depending on the material you choose to use)
  • Paint or other method of finishing your weathervane
  • Paintbrush, water, containers etc.
  • A small piece of dowel or a stick
  • A piece of wood to act as a stand for your weathervane

What You Do:

  1. First, have a look at some actual weathervanes or pictures of weathervanes, to give yourself an idea of what direction you would like to go in terms of design.
  2. Next, draw a simple outline of a rooster, pig, cow, or whatever you like, on your cardboard (or wood). [see below for patterns]
  3. Cut out the shape and decorate using one of any number of paints or finishes.The craft supply store is a great place to find different ways of finishing wood and paper. You can buy the following kits:
    • Pickling Stain (for wood only) – This allows the grain of wood to show through a veil of transparent color.
    • Crackle Medium – This offers an antiqued or weathered look.
    • Instant Rust – This is a nifty kit that allows you to create the illusion of metal.
  4. If you don’t have access to the fancy finishes from the craft store, simply layer different colors of paint on your weathervane and sand lightly between coats. This way, the colors beneath will peek through the colors above – giving you some depth and texture.
  5. Once your design and painting is complete, attach to a wooden dowel (you can also apply the same finishing medium to the dowel) and attach that to a block of wood. (Drill a hole in your wood block, apply some glue and fit the dowel in the hole). In fact, why not take your block of wood and cut it into a circular shape … even more interesting would be to create a miniature rooftop using two blocks of wood attached together in a triangle.
  6. The possibilities are endless.


Folk art cow
Folk Art Horse
Folk Art Pig

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