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Instructions for Making a Weather Vane

A weathervane can easily be made from wood, tin or some other material. Both ends should be balanced and should swing freely on a central pivot.


  • Drawing paper
  • Heavy brown grocery bags
  • White glue
  • Heavy wire, # 18, 20 or 22 gauge
  • Black tempera paint
  • Acrylic metallic copper paint
  • Acrylic patina/green paint
  • Scissors
  • Needle nosed pliers
  • Two-by-four 6 inches long, painted black


  1. Create a pattern or patterns for your project. The design should reflect some aspect of colonial life. Consider the use of both positive and negative space in your design. Draw your design on drawing or pattern paper.
  2. Trace or cut the pattern from the drawing paper and transfer the design to the surface of a brown grocery bag.
  3. Glue another piece of brown bag to the back of the piece with the pattern drawn on it.
  4. Put an 18-gauge wire between the two brown bags. Place the wire where it can be utilized later to secure the design to the base. Let dry. Make one large shape for your weathervane.
  5. Cut out the pattern using sharp scissors.
  6. If your teacher gives permission, use your fingers instead of a brush. Brushes put on too much paint, too evenly.
  7. Acrylic paint dries rapidly. It is necessary to work quickly.
  8. Apply the paint in the following order:
    1. Apply the black first, letting some of the brown paper bag show through. Let dry.
    2. Apply the copper paint. Let dry.
    3. Apply the green patina paint. Let dry.
  9. Attach the wire of the finished shape to a piece of two-by-four cut six inches long and painted black.

This modern weathervane was designed by the eighth grade students of Alki Middle School, Vancouver, Washington.