Introduction: Spin Painting Wheel

About: I'm an artist/engineer excited about making cool stuff!
A spin painting wheel is a great way to make cool pictures easily. It can help if people are not feeling confident to draw, allowing them to make something really good looking.

I have a gallery of spin paintings here .

Step 1: Stuff You Need


* a saw or jigsaw
* a drill with a range of bits
* some spanners (ideally cone spanners for wheel bearing adjustment)


* old bike wheel, I've only used fronts but I'm sure backs would work too
* some thin board like particle board or mdf
* a short plank of pine or ply
* long cable ties
* some large washers that fit round the bolt of the bike wheel

Step 2: Adjust the Wheel

We need to move the whole wheel along the bolt so that none sticks out on one side. This is pretty much the hardest part of the project because it is fiddly, especially without the cone spanners. It's probably worth looking up your local community bike project and going along on one of their open days to do this part. Here is a video of adjusting a wheel's hub; which is essentially what we're doing.

The bolt has 2 nuts on each side that are locked together. The nuts closest to the wheel are the cones, and they press against the bearings.

We have 2 options;

1/ loosen the nuts and take the bearings out, then reinsert them later

2/ loosen and tighten on the other side, so we edge the bolt through while keeping the bearings safe inside

Last time I made one, I tried to do option #2, but ended up having to do #1 when all the bearings fell out! So keep a cloth or something underneath to catch them.

After you've moved the nuts along the bolt, tighten the nuts against each other at one end, then slowly tighten the other side's cone into the bearings. Test the feeling in the wheel, we want a combination of low wiggle (play) and smooth turning. When you've got it right then tighten the other side's lock nut and test again.

Step 3: Cut and Drill the Support

We're going to bolt the wheel to a small piece of wood, then mount this on top of a longer plank that can be clamped to a desk.
Because the bolt will have a nut on it, we need to drill a large hole in the long plank so that everything fits together.


Cut a slice off the end of the plank about 10cm wide. Drill a hole through the centre just wide enough for the bolt of the wheel.

Put the small slice on top of the longer plank and mark through the hole so we know where to drill the big hole.

While it's all aligned, drill 4 pilot holes for some screws to screw the planks together. And while you're at it, make a mark on the edges of both pieces so you know which way round it goes later!

Then, on the big piece, drill a large hole (big enough for the nut and washer that we'll use to bolt the wheel onto the small piece.

Step 4: Mount the Wheel

Put a washer on the end of the wheel bolt and then thread it through the small bit of wood. Then another washer and finally one of the wheel nuts. Tighten it all up nicely.

Step 5: Mount the Wheel to the Plank

Using the pilot holes, screw the 2 pieces of wood together. They should fit nice and flat, otherwise your lower hole might not be big enough to take the nut. You can fix this by filing the hole a little bigger.

Step 6: Cut the Painting Plate

Now we'll make the bit that you do the paintings on.

Put the wheel on top of the thin wood and mark a square that will fit inside the hub. I usually make the square a little bigger and then slice off the corners so it fits.

Cut it out and check it will fit, if not adjust.

When it's ready drill another big hole in the middle for the nuts on the wheel. Then drill smaller holes in each corner that fit your size of cable tie.

Step 7: Mount the Plate

Just thread the cable ties through the holes, starting from the bottom side.

Then put the plate on the wheel and tighten up the ties a bit at a time on each corner until everything is nice and tight and not moving when you try to wiggle it.

Step 8: Test It Out!

Use a clamp to hold the long plank onto a table. Then use inks, markers, acrylics, whatever is handing. Apply with brushes, sticks, squeezy pots. The faster you spin the wheel the easier it is to get spirals. 

I attach the paper with masking tape.

Step 9: Make a Moodlamp!

Here are some moodlamps I made by recycling old phone chargers and then making shades with the bike wheel.