Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mr. Drag N. Fly Made From Ceiling Fan Blades

 It's an absolutely fabulous day here in Nashville.  The sky is cerulean blue, the sun is shining, it's 80 degrees and all's right with the world.  Truly.  This was my view this morning.  Stunning.

We spent the entire morning out of doors planting all the flowers that have been patiently waiting for their new homes.  Finally.  Our 2.5 year old grandson helped Grandma with her planting.  Nothing makes that little guy happier than a "shuggle" and some dirt.
He had a good time getting his hands dirty and so did Grandma.

Last year about this time, we worked on creating a little secret garden.  The grandsons love to go in it and sit on the bench and look at the plants - NOT.  They like to go in and dig in the rocks that are the floor of  the garden.  That's what they like to do.  This week, I have been working on another little "meditation" garden space.  I don't know about you, but there is so much inspiration on the world wide web for things to do and make that I could spend every hour of every day working on something.  The list is never ending.

There are two items in the picture above that I am going to share with you.  Today, we are going to talk about Mr. Drag N. Fly on the fence. That's what I told Adrian his name was.   Adrian was totally disappointed that it could not fly or that the wings did not move.  Try explaining "it's just a decoration" to a 2.5 year old and good luck.

Ever done any research on dragonflies and damselflies?  If you get a chance, google images for them.  They are SO beautiful.  Their colors are absolutely electric with such delicate wings with beautiful designs on them.  Nature gives us such amazing things.  Wish I could make mine look like a real one.

This dragonfly is something I have seen on several web sites, at craft shows, and on Pinterest of course.  They are so cute and totally caught my eye.  I knew one would be perfect on the long expanse of plain wooden fence in the back yard.  So, I set out to make one.  We didn't have any old ceiling fan blades to recycle/reuse, so I headed to my home away from home, Home Depot, to buy some.  You can buy replacement ceiling fan blades in packages.  Thankfully.  A package of 5 fan blades 42 inches long were $15.95.  Not too bad.  Would have been better if I had some to recycle, but not this time.  Ceiling fan replacement blades come in 42 inch and 52 inch lengths.  Choose the size you would like to use.

For the body, I used a spindle that would go in a stair bannister or deck rail.  It was $4.95 at Home Depot.  You might have an old table leg or something you could use on hand.  Here is what you need.

4 fan blades
1 table leg or spindled post
several tubes of Super Glue gel (3 in a package for a dollar at The Dollar Tree)
2 wood screws
a drill
primer paint (like Zinsser)
paint (acrylic craft paint works fine)
paint brushes (I used 1 inch foam brushes, and a small brush for the narrow spaces)
Acrylic sealer or polyurethane

First, lay the fan blades on a flat surface and mark around the curved ends with a pencil so you will know exactly where to put the glue.  Spread the contents of 1 tube of the super glue gel on the bottom fan blade for each pair (2 tubes) and lay the upper blade where the markings are.  Marking is important so your "wings" will be at the same angle.  Put a weight on the blades until they dry.  FYI, this glue sets up really fast.  Only takes a couple of minutes.  Don't get it on  your hands.  Don't ask me how I know that.
Next, lay one pair of glued blades over the other pair of glued blades and mark with a pencil.  Put the contents of another tube of glue inside the pencil line all the way to the edge and place the set of blades on the glue.  Weight down with something heavy until the glue sets.
My weight was a jar of nails and screws that Dan brought to use for putting everything together.  Does your feller save every screw, bolt, and nail that comes his way?  Dan saves everything.  That's why they look all rusty.  They  may be prehistoric.  It's possible.  His motto is "never throw away a perfectly good ......".  I don't even want to talk about the balls of twine.

Anyway, time to attach the body to the wings.  Use another tube of Super Glue on one side of the spindle and place it on the wings.   Weight down until dry.

When the glue has set, flip the whole thing over and place two wood screws through the blades into the post to hold it all together.  Consider this overkill to keep it from all falling apart in the heat of summer.
The spindle is wood, but the fan blades are not.  They are plastic or some kind of composite and paint does not like to stick to them very well.  Therefore, it is important to prime before painting.
My primer was in a spray can (which goes really fast).  Just lay down something to protect the ground or whatever you will be spraying on and go to town.  Easy peasy.

Now, it's time to paint.   I used acrylic craft paint for my dragonfly and some 1 inch sponge brushes.  It's wise to have a small brush to get in the narrow spaces.  My research showed the beautiful, vibrant colors of dragon flies so I went with bright colors.  They also show up better against the wooden fence.  I used a turquoise color for the body, lime green for the wings with hot pink and electric blue decorations on the wings.  Choose whatever colors you would like.

 A round sponge stomp and the end of a paint brush worked great to make the dots.  I painted two eyes on the "head" and used some wire to make some antennae.  Dragonflies have small antennae.  Then, I sprayed the whole thing with clear acrylic spray to protect it from the weather.

I put a couple of wood screws in the back of the finished dragonfly and wrapped some wire around them, making loops for hangers.  Dan put a couple of wood screws in the fence to hang Mr. Drag N. Fly on.   Done.  Isn't he adorable?

Come back tomorrow and we will discuss the hand made trellis in the picture that is leaning against the fence.  I am in love with it.  It's easy and unique.  If you have any ideas what I could use that extra fan blade for, let me know.  It's gonna drive me crazy.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

All gardening is landscape painting.  William Kent


  1. I like the colors you used. How well did the super glue hold? I've been researching ceiling blade dragon flies for a while now and never tried the super glue! Have a marvelous day! :)

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