Introduction: Toilet Paper Tube Windmill

About: During the COVID-19 crisis, all of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's religious services moved into an online-only format. I generally organize Sunday school activities for the children of the Fellowship …

In today's story, we learned about Samso, a small island that produces all of its own energy through wind turbines and other green sources. These adorable little windmills don't actually look like wind turbines (those look like this), but they're fun and they do turn, just like a real windmill!


-a toilet paper tube



-an empty cereal box or other thin cardboard box from your recycling bin

-a circular lid

-a pencil

-a ruler (if you have one)

-straight pins (or a brass fastener, if you have one)


Step 1: Decorate Your Toilet Paper Tube!

I gave mine a little red door and windows, but yours could look like anything!

Step 2: Trace a Circle on Your Cardboard.

You'll want a lid with a diameter less than or equal to the height of your tube. Mine was about the same height.

Step 3: Put a Dot in the Center of the Circle.

You can measure it if you have a ruler, but I don't, so I just guessed! Draw a small circle around the dot. This is the center of your windmill blades.

Step 4: Quarter Your Circle.

I cut out part of my box left over from making my circle to produce a makeshift straightedge, but you can use a ruler if you have one! Line your straightedge up with the center, and draw a big plus sign right in the middle. Use a pencil so you can erase it later!

Step 5: Draw Your Windmill's Blades.

The lines you drew in the last step will serve as a guide. Using your straightedge, draw lines from the center to the edge of the circle on either side of your guiding pencil line. They don't have to be perfectly even! Once you have the blades drawn, erase the guiding pencil lines.

Step 6: Decorate Your Windmill Blades.

I drew red stripes on mine. What do yours look like?

Step 7: Cut Out the Windmill Blades.

Leave a little extra around the center circle for stability.

Step 8: Poke a Straight Pin Through the Dot at the Center.

If you have a brass fastener, you can use that, too.

Step 9: Push the Pin Through the Tube.

Attach it near the top of the base, about half an inch down. (If you're using a brass fastener, you might need to poke a hole through the tube with something sharp to get it started. Have a grown-up or older sibling help with that!)

Step 10: Bend the Pin Downwards Inside the Tube.

Have a grown-up or an older sibling help you with this! Put a piece of tape over the bent pin inside the tube. (If you used a brass fastener, you won't have to do this part.)

Step 11: Spin Your Windmill!

The blades will turn! Mine doesn't turn very fast, but depending on the size of your pin, yours might spin faster or slower. It looks so cute, though!