An introduction to fan making with Caroline Allington

Ref: S1D32305

Location: West Dean
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About this course

Gain practical insight into making both fixed and folded fans. You will make at least four different styles as you learn the basics of cutting from a template, pleating and mounting techniques.

Course Description

Learn basic techniques to make several fans of various types from decorative paper, and continue to do so at home.

You will be introduced to the different types of fan, a little of their history and the various uses of fans. Examples of traditional fans from around the world will be shown, as well as some very modern ones. This practical fan-making course will encompass cutting shapes from templates, pleating methods, and the mounting or sticking of single and double sided folding fans. Only single leafed fans will be made on this course, which starts with making two fixed or screen fans, then progressing to folding fans. In order of increasing complexity, the next type is a cockade fan, followed by a fontange fan, and finally a more traditional looking fan. Protective covers will also be made for the cockade and fontange fans.

Tips on suitable adhesives and paper types, stick sourcing and pleater materials will be given. Suggestions for variations, and uses of fans for celebrations or commemorations for family occasions will be given to encourage use of the skills learnt.

By the end of the day, you should be confident in the skills to make fans at home, experiment with the different types of fan, use various materials for fan making, design fan leaves and make protective covers for fans.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • Most of the unusual materials, including Evostick glue (non-solvent), two sets of folding fan sticks, split chopsticks and flat sticks for fixed fans.

What students need to bring

  • Three sheets of wrapping paper, plain or patterned (double-sided is ideal if possible). It is essential to bring paper, flat or rolled – i.e. not folded or creased. Please also note that foil or metallic/shiny finishes and tissue paper are not suitable. If using hand painted/printed/marbled paper, please note A3 as minimum size and not too thick.
  • A notebook, pencil and rubber
  • Optional: you may also like to bring your own scissors (for paper and fabric), a needle and thread, and any gold or silver pens/pencils you have, though these are also provided for use on the day, if required.
  • Fabric trimmings for decoration e.g. lace or ric-rac may also be useful, but not essential, so don’t purchase specially.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Gold and silver fine tip felt pens etc. are usually stocked, if required.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Extra sets of fan sticks to make further fans at home

Additional information

Please note: If you have an allergy to feathers or acetic acid, it is essential that you notify us in advance by emailing [email protected] Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Caroline Allington

Caroline Allington was the first curator of The Fan Museum and has taught fan-making classes for almost 30 years, mainly at The Fan Museum but also at the V & A, the Wallace Collection, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as to various craft groups such as lace makers and embroiderers.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.