Coffee filters are one my favourite craft materials — affordable, versatile, and wonderfully receptive when absorbing colour.
We’ve previously made a coffee filter butterfly craft for our insect unit study, and coffee filter poppies for Remembrance Day, but today I wanted to make a multicultural craft and came up with this Chinese Fan Coffee Filter Craft!
Ella has been a little bit obsessed with Disney’s Mulan, so I thought it was only fitting to try a craft that would further her exploration of Chinese culture, which started with our Chinese New Year learning.
While this Chinese fan coffee filter craft does actually work, we likely will use ours to decorate our work room while exploring our Asian Continent Box. (Other Asian cultures have similar fan traditions and customs, but we are currently studying Chinese culture — it will be a great way to tie other Asian cultures in to her awareness!)
Materials for Chinese Fan Coffee Filter Craft:
- Coffee filters
- Liquid watercolours OR food colouring
- Craft foam (can use popsicle sticks if not making functional)
- Split pin (if making functional)
- Craft glue
Start off by cutting the coffee filter in half, and then lay it out on a lunch-style tray with your other supplies. We used a couple of drops of food colouring in a bit of water, but liquid watercolours would be a vibrant alternative.
We used the pipettes to drop coloured water onto the coffee filter and experiment with colour mixing. (Bonus: the pipettes are great for developing fine motor strength!)
We left them out to dry — if you set them outside put some small stones or something on top of them to avoid them flying away! I set ours in the backyard, and ended up finding them in the front yard!
After the coffee filters are dry, assemble 4 thin black strips of craft foam across the fan (as below), ensuring that the ends all meet up together. At this point you could attach the split pin if you were using one by poking it through the layers of craft foam and securing them together. (We didn’t have any and while a bit of pipe cleaner did work in a pinch, I thought these crafts were too delicate to be opened and closed by little enthusiastic hands, so we decided to not make ours functional.)
Using a pencil, draw a line where each of the foam strips aligns on the coffee filter to guide you in your glue application. (Another great fine motor and pre-writing activity.)
For us, the strips didn’t work if laid at the ends of the half pieces of coffee filter, and only matched up at the ends properly if added an inch or so up the coffee filter. This ended up being perfect as we glued the excess coffee filter overtop of the outermost strips as a bit of added craft security.
Once the glue dries, you have these ornate and delicate Chinese fan coffee filter crafts that you can try to learn a fan dance with, or simply use them to decorate while studying the other beautiful aspects of Chinese culture. Children can add extra layers of paint or even stickers to the fans, but I like the delicate wash of the watercolours on their own.
If you liked this multicultural craft for kids, please be sure to check out our other craft ideas!
And don’t forget to pin this for later!
We’re sharing this craft as part of a fun blog hop idea to learn with your craft stash! Click on the picture below to check out the other ideas!