Introduction: Pound Shop Spin Art Machine

Picture of Pound Shop Spin Art Machine


In this instructable i am going to show you how to make a simple but entertaining spin art machine that's a great activity for children (and adults to be honest)

I saw this being done in a workshop using a small motor and lego. I have tried to make a simple, cheap and cheerful version

The machine itself takes about 5 mins to make and all the components can be bout in a pound shop.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

To make the machine...

A battery operated fan (can be done with various styles)

Some scrap corrugated cardboard



You can also use glue dots for added support but if its taped well you wont need it


For the activity...

Paper Plates

felt pens



Step 2: Making the Machine

Picture of Making the Machine

In this case the fan came with a spray bottle so i got rid of that then i took off the fan blades.

Trim down the the cardboard to be a base and add some to cardboard to make the spinning part of the fan is horizontal. I used a glue dot here to keep it in place.

I've shown a couple of variations with different fan types. The first one the batteries go in at the bottom so its easy access. The second one its a panel at the back so the tape has to be ct to get in to it.

and that's it.

Step 3: To Do the Activity

Picture of To Do the Activity

Cut your paper plate down as it helps reduce the weight and drag on the fan.

Place a bit of Blu-Tac on the spinning bit of the fan and attache the plate in the center glossy side up (helps with pens)

Turn on the machine and lightly press the pen on the plate as it spins. you can move it out as it spins it creates lovely spirals or concentrate on one are to create heavier circles.

Things to note:

As you get further from the center the plate will "flap" a bit.

When it stops you may have gaps but as you can see from the video it looks lovely while its spinning.

I hope you enjoyed this and as always thoughts comments and criticisms welcome.


Xenia123 (author)2016-05-09

this is one cool ible! i also like rififis variation cause it works without batteries and you have to help each other to get it on :) thanks

Riffifi (author)2016-04-23

definately need to try this with my son :D

Barry Neeson (author)Riffifi2016-04-26


Riffifi made it! (author)Barry Neeson2016-04-28

with an old manual drill and a plastic lid (and a screw). i spinned the handle, while my son holds felt-tip pens or ink brushes on the disk. building the machine took me like five minutes.
as i could vary the rotation speed, we were able to make some wavy effects ( tried on the smaller one)
it was a bit wobbly because of the plastic lid, i think i'll cut a plywood disk to make it better next time.

Lineakat (author)2016-04-27

looks cool :)

mlawing (author)2016-04-26

Looks like something great to do with kids. Nice article!

John T MacF Mood (author)2016-04-25

They operated in a box so the paint would not sling out onto your clothes.

You could add a pound/ dollar store shoe or food storage container to the list and put the spinner inside- viola! Paint spinner!

I may have to do that...

Last summer as part of a science art festival I made a similar device using the back end of a bike. it was great fun and incredibly messy :) Got the stuff to make another one with plans of making an instructable out of it :)

wilwrk4tls (author)2016-04-25

Very nice hack! I love the pound/ dollar store stuff since you can come out of the store with so little damage to the wallet and still find wonderful treasures. I have discovered our dollar stores carry laser pointers which still blows my mind!

Barry Neeson (author)wilwrk4tls2016-04-26

Pound shops are great and its amazing what pops up in them :)

quinstructable (author)2016-04-23

Neat idea. Might it flap less if you add a circle of cardboard as a support under the plate?

even the addition of another bit of cardboard seems to be to much. even tried it with a bit of polystyrene that you get in the base of a pizza.

Hmmm maybe if i trim it all down and make smaller disks...I'll be back :)

John T MacF Mood (author)2016-04-25

We used to have these on the board walk of the beaches, and drop blobs
of paint on them from bottles supplied by the guy running the booth.
Lots of fun with very abstract patterns those would form. Way back in
the 1960's...

The guy would get 25 cent piece (a quarter for your
Brits.) and we would end up having Mom dote over the fascinating but
somewhat ugly "art", as Moms are often wont to do.

About This Instructable




Bio: I graduated from Cardonald College with an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design in 1999. He has worked as a Tattoo Artist, Community Artist, and Freelance ... More »
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