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DIY Decorations: Paper Fans (with Free Templates)

That moment when you completely let your guard down and your other half sees your true colours for the first time…

For me, that moment was amidst a sea of blue and yellow paper, double sided sticky tape, hot glue guns and fishing wire as I frantically made party decorations until 2:30am. Poor chap, I’m still not entirely sure he’s really aware of what he’s got himself into!

A week later and we hosted a fabulous party, one people are still talking about, nearly a year later. Yes, we put on a yummy spread of food, had delicious drinks and a perfectly themed playlist but as with everything in life I believe it’s success lay in the details. The things that people aren’t consciously aware of but that have a big impact on the vibes and atmosphere. The things that tie all your wonderful theming up with a big, red, glittery bow…


Now you can buy them, sure there are loads of great ones out there. But experience tells me that they either come with a pretty hefty price tag or from China. Neither one of these seems particularly appealing… one leaves me with a hole in my purse, and the other, well, let’s just say if after 30 days of waiting for my parcel I find it’s the wrong shade of blue I would not be a happy bunny!

Why pass up the chance to get creative, save a few lot of  £’s and perfectly harmonise all shades and theming from the comfort of your own home?*

*not guaranteed, if you are not a horrific hoarder you may need to grab a few craft supplies!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Choosing Designs for your Paper Fans

This is where you can get really creative! I like to print out my own paper designs, as it gives me the freedom to customise and perfectly match everything. The downside is having to stick multiple pieces of paper together for the larger sizes.

For our backyard bbq, I knew my colour scheme was golden yellow and deep sky blue with hessian highlights so this provided the guidelines for what paper to use. I made the mistake of ordering some rolls of wrapping paper online – needless to say, what arrived was a lemon yellow and dotty cobalt blue. I actually ended up using some of them and found that having various shades of blue added to the overall depth.

If you’ve found some wrapping paper in the perfect shade or design, go with this – it’s much easier and far less fiddly. Or use a mix, as I did with these backyard bash decorations.

Making the Paper Fans

To make your life far easier than mine was, I’ve created templates for 3 different fan sizes. Just print them off, draw around them, cut and fold… Easy! You’re also really lucky; hindsight is a wonderful thing, so I’ve also included 3 different edging styles for you to choose from.

Free Paper Fan Templates

You will need:

Optional extras:

If you are using your own printed sheets of A4 paper:

You’ll need to stick all the pieces of paper together. Cut off the white margins first and then stick them together with double-sided tape, making sure you align any patterns as best you can. Remember that it’s going to be folded though so this detracts the eye from any wobbles 😉 You don’t want the overlap to be too big between sheets – I make mine the same width as the sticky tape.

If you have wrapping paper, or once you’ve stuck your A4 papers together:

  1. Print the relevant templates from the resource library, either straight into heavy cardstock or onto paper (which you can then stick on cereal box card!) and then cut around the edge of the template.
  2. You can then draw around this template to transfer the design to the back of your paper. If you are making a fan with shaped edges, you shouldn’t need to transfer the dotted lines as you’ll fold at the end of each scallop or point.
  3. Different sized paper fans will require a different number of repetitions of the template. (Small fans only need one template but for medium paper fans, you’ll need two templates lengthways. If you’re making the large paper fans you will need to stick the two templates together at the markers and then repeat four times lengthways)
  4. Cut this shape out and then you are ready to get folding!
  5. Fold in a concertina, starting with the front side of the paper facing down and beginning by folding away from you. Keep going until you reach the other end of the paper.
  6. Now you should have a long thin fan. Take the needle and thread and poke the needle through all of the folds at the point indicated by the template. Remove the needle and draw up both ends of the thread tightly before tying in a knot. This secures the centre of the fan so the folds don’t separate when you spread it into a circle.
  7. Cut two strips of double sided sticky tape that are half the length of the folds. Stick one of these on one-half of each end of the fan.
  8. Peel the back of the tape off and fold up the other side to meet it, making sure to stick them together from the outside in to get a perfect half. This should give you a semi-circular fan.
  9. Repeat with the other side so that you fan it around into a full circle.

Tips and tricks:

  • If you’re printing your paper, Make sure to set your margins to narrow – you want as much patterned colour as possible!
  • Learn from my mistakes, prep in advance and avoid a 2:30am finish! You can make all your fans up until step 7, then store them until you need them. They’ll keep better and take up a lot less space like this.
  • These fans work best with patterns that have vertical symmetry. If you look closely at one of my fans from the party you can see what happens otherwise…

Free Paper Fan Templates

Not only can decorations turn a great party into an amazing one, they can also breathe fresh life into home decor as the seasons change… Christmas would be so much less exciting without them! Why not try these as a contemporary festive display or maybe as a pop of summer colour this season?

Let us know why you’re a fan of the fans in the comments below!


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Subscribe to gain access to free fan templates in my resource library


  1. Wow really beautiful! Especially with birthday parties!

    • Hi Malalai,

      Thank you, they certainly brighten up the party space!

      Tori x

  2. I do a bit of paper craft and I’m very impressed with your selection of papers, very nicely done!

    • Hi Delphine,

      Most of the time I print my own papers as I feel it gives me more freedom to match everything! You should definitely give these fans a try (if you haven’t already!)

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. What a great idea, I’ve got lots of spare pretty wrapping paper so will have to try this for my next party !

    • Pretty wrapping paper is the best! You’ll have to pop back and let me know how you get on 🙂

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