How to Paint a Fan for a Useful Gift
Ready to paint hand fans are inexpensive to purchase and easy to find in most handcraft shops. The two in the above illustration came in the one package for less than $6.
These authentic Chinese folding fans are claimed to be made from all natural products. The components appear to include bamboo slats and possibly handmade paper. They are quite strong and very useful in hot weather. However, they will be so much more attractive when, with a few watercolours, they are decorated attractively.
A hand fan could be painted quite easily by adults or by children. As a kid's craft, the hand painted fan would make a great gift for Auntie or Grandma. Ideas for kid's crafts are often in demand.
Of course, it's wonderful if you can make your own design, but instructions are given here for a simple floral picture and this may give you ideas of other designs you could create.
How to Paint the Fan
- The Design: Firstly, choose or sketch on a pad a simple design with not too much painting needed. I used a Chinese watercolour style. This means that the design is not drawn onto the fan, but painted straight onto the paper.
- The Stem and Leaves: Mix black and yellow watercolours together. I used Chinese tube watercolours that are inexpensive and readily available. Holding the brush vertically, firstly draw the main stem, then add the leaves. You may find that it is not easy to keep the fan flat, so it is best to paint one section at a time, moving across the fan gradually while holding firmly the part that you are working on.
- The Petals: Mix a red watercolour, such Rouge, with a little white to make a pleasant pink. Charge the brush with white near the handle and with the pink from there to the tip of the brush. Place the brush, tip facing outward from the flower centre and roll it gently across to make the shape of each petal. Make five petals for each flower. Using a slightly darker pink, form the buds in the same way.
Finishing the Fan
- The Veins and Sepals: For the leaf veins use a slightly darker green colour. Then add the sepals to the flowers and buds using the same darker green colour.
- The Anthers: Charging your smaller brush with yellow, add the anthers to the flowers, making tiny dots near the centre of each flower.
Add a Final Touch
It would be lovely to finish your fan with a personal touch, such as your signature, your 'chop' (a stamp with your Chinese name) if you are lucky enough to have one, or even a brief message or poem.
The fan could also be adorned with stickers or with coloured feathers. These trimmings can also be easily purchased at most craft shops and there seems to be a vast variety of choice.
- Note: Fans can be decorated as gifts, favours or mementoes for many occasions, such as an outdoor party or wedding and will be greatly appreciated. The decorations could include lace or ribbons of the theme colour of the occasion.
Questions & Answers
I'm French and wanted to do a bachelorette party with silk fans to hand paint. I ordered some fans from China but they are low quality... It was impossible to paint them with silk dyes. Do you think it's easier to paint with watercolor as you did?
I'd certainly try that on one of them to see how it goes. Of course, as I don't have the fans you mention I cannot be sure, but I'd be surprised if the watercolors did not work.Helpful 1