Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! Seventeen vibrantly colored patriotic wind spinners are displayed.

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Celebrate the 4th with a Patriotic Wind Spinner!

Ready for some sparkling summertime sublimation? Cue the fireworks with some Patriotic Wind Spinner projects! Garden spinners make great outdoor decor for patriotic national holidays like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. My huge bundle of star-spangled designs make for great outside garden decor — not just on holidays, but all year round. They’re super easy to make if you have the right supplies and tools!

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Get the free SVG cut file for this project

An American flag wind spinner is fantastic for patriotic holidays while adding a touch of beautiful color to your yard! They follow the same steps as my previous wind spinner tutorials, and they make a great gift for so many occasions. They spin with help from a passing breeze, and are the perfect way to use the power of nature to decorate your outdoor space — while keeping squirrels, bugs, and other pests away. Hang one on your front porch, in your garden, or anywhere within view for a pretty new window decoration when you’re inside.

Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! A wind spinner decorated with a sublimated highland cow with red, white, and blue flowers on its head.

There are 17 different designs in the bundle. Yes, I said 17! It’s a big collection full of patriotic-themed images of flowers, flags, fireworks and more! There’s even a red, white, and blue highland cow or two — I just can’t get enough of them!

I created the patriotic wind spinner designs using AI image generating software, then tweaked them in Adobe Photoshop to make them look their best. Each design is a high-resolution PNG that you can sublimate onto wind spinners or any other sublimation blank, like T-shirts, tumblers, and more. Want to learn how to create your own one of a kind sublimation project using AI images? Check out my AI Art Design Workshop.

Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! A wind spinner decorated with a sublimated watercolor-style butterfly with an American flag design on its wings.

Making a patriotic wind spinner takes the right equipment and materials. If you’re new to sublimation, my Sublimation for Beginners tutorial is really useful to get started with the basics!

First, you’ll need a polymer-coated wind spinner. How do you know it’s polymer-coated? Look for wind spinners sold as sublimation blanks — that’s how you’ll know it’s the right kind of material to be colorized with sublimation ink. I used an 8 inch wind spinner (they’re in my materials list below), but you can resize these designs smaller depending on which blanks you have. I don’t recommend resizing the images larger because the resolution quality will be reduced. 

Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! A wind spinner decorated with a sublimated American flag.

To get the design onto your decorative garden wind spinner, first you’ll need a sublimation printer with compatible ink and a full page of high quality 8.5 by 11 inch sublimation paper. You can get help choosing the right sublimation printer for your needs in this post. You’ll also need a free Google account to use Google Docs to prepare and print the designs. Make two copies, one for each side!

Once your image is printed onto the sublimation paper, you might notice that the colors look a bit duller or a different color than you expected them to be. Don’t worry — this is normal! Sublimation prints are not as vibrant when they’re on sublimation paper, but they reach their full saturation when pressed with heat. That means that once the design has been sublimated onto the blank, it will have brighter, more vivid colors that look more like the image you see on your computer screen. 

Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! A wind spinner decorated with a scene of two people at a picnic table enjoying fireworks over a lake at dusk.

As far as a heat press, you can use a Cricut EasyPress, a Cricut Autopress, or a traditional-style heat press machine. Heat presses are all different, so don’t forget to do your research to find the best heat press option for you. Whatever you do, do not try to sublimate your wind spinner (or any other sublimation blank) with a household iron! It won’t turn out because sublimation ink activates 350°F (175°C) and irons simply don’t get that hot.

When you’re sublimating a project, the sublimation dye gets so hot that it turns to vapor — it’s how the image infuses into the polymer or polyester surface of the blank. This vapor can carry through the air and even transfer to nearby surfaces, so it’s super important to protect yourself and your project from rogue sublimation ink. 

Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! A wind spinner decorated with a sublimated fireworks in patriotic colors.

Doing both is easy. In the tutorial, I show you how to use white butcher paper, white cardstock, and heat-resistant tape to help prevent any undesired ink transfer onto parts of your wind spinner and your heat press. 

But what about protecting yourself, your family, and your pets while you’re having fun sublimating? The vapors shouldn’t be breathed in — so it’s extremely important to have a window open and a fan blowing to help the strong sublimation fumes to dissipate more quickly. Avoid breathing in when you’re really close to the warm wind spinner, too! 

You’ll also want to use caution if you decide to use a protective spray for long-term protection. Coating your sublimated wind spinner with UV-resistant clear coat will help keep your vibrant red, white, and blue design looking better longer, even when hung in direct sunlight. Just make sure you go outside to apply it! 

Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! Seventeen vibrantly colored patriotic wind spinners are displayed.

Wind spinners are a great addition to any outdoor space because they’re functional as well as beautiful! It’ll spin in opposite directions depending on the wind direction, confusing insects and other unwelcome wildlife from disturbing your time outdoors. Due to their simple sublimation process and ease of assembly, they make a great beginner’s sublimation project. Follow my tutorial to make an American flag wind spinner, and bring some big movement and patriotic pride to your garden!

Sublimation Startup

Need a little extra help understanding how to get started with sublimation? Join Sublimation Startup for a logical, step-by-step guide to getting setup for success with sublimation! You can ask questions and feel confident that you’ll get help! The Sublimation Startup mini-course is also great for those who enjoy learning from my easy-to-understand, calm, and clear method of teaching. This is a no-fluff, no-mess, no-distraction workshop … it’s like sitting down with me in my craft room to learn directly as we go! We work in logical steps to build your understanding and confidence with sublimation, and then provide support to keep helping you as you continue on your journey! Register now!
Sublimation Startup: Get Set Up For Success in Sublimation with JenniferMaker

Let me show you how easy it is to make a patriotic wind spinner! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.

Materials to Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner

View my Amazon shopping list with the exact items we used on the original project

For sublimation using my new patriotic designs:

For infusible ink using the instructions and designs in the original project:

For both methods:

Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! Seventeen vibrantly colored patriotic wind spinners are displayed. Want to make this? Design #623 is free at jennifermaker.com/623.

How to Make Your Own Patriotic Wind Spinner

The detailed step-by-step assembly video on how to make sublimated wind spinners debuted during Maker Academy Weekend 2023, held online November 1-5, 2023. You can use my new 4th of July sublimation wind spinner designs with the same process, because I’ve added the written instructions below. If you want more of the original tutorial, you can get an on-demand pass to watch all 30+ workshops, each with a printable handbook, transcript, audio file, design files, and support with a VIP pass below:

Learn how to sublimate a wind spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! A vibrant sublimated wind spinner hangs outdoors, printed with a beautiful orange and brown-toned autumn woods scene.

DIY Wind Spinner

Yield: 1
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Estimated Cost: $20-$30

Learn how to make a DIY Wind Spinner!

Instructions

STEP 1: GET OR PREPARE AND PRINT A SUBLIMATION DESIGN

You can use my DIY Wind Spinner files from my resource library, Design #520.

I have six designs, or you can create your own. I've also included a vector version of the Tree of Life for use with infusible ink transfer sheets.

- Autumn Moon

wind spinner autumn moon design

- Autumn Path

autumn path design

- Autumn Scene

autumn scene design

- Autumn Tree

- Winter Moon

wind spinner winter moon design

- Winter Tree

wind spinner winter tree design

Today, I’m going to make the Autumn Tree design, but you can use these steps for any of the designs.

We'll print the design on a good-quality sublimation paper for the best results. I’m using A-SUB paper in my Epson EcoTank with Hiipoo ink.

Measure your blank wind spinner and make sure your image size is correct before printing. I’m using these 8” wind spinners, with 8.25" designs, so we can fully sublimate them using 8.5” X 11” paper.

NOTE: It is best to make the print a little larger than the blank. This also makes it easier to tape the blank in position, and we can sublimate all the way to the edges. Make sure to purchase 8" wind spinners, and not 10" or larger if using standard 8.5" X 11" paper to print and sublimate.

You can use image editing software to prepare your design. If you need help printing for sublimation please check out my Sublimation T-Shirts for Beginners for detailed information on printing using Google Docs.

Don't forget, that since we will be sublimating both sides of the wind spinner, we will need to print two copies of the design.


STEP 2: SUBLIMATE YOUR WIND SPINNER BLANK


Before you begin, make sure you have proper ventilation by opening a window or turning on a large fan.

Warning: you will be working with materials that will be heated to a high temperature. It is strongly recommended that you wear heat resistant gloves when handling these materials.

Preheat your EasyPress to 360°F (192°C) and set the time to 120 seconds.
set easy press to 360 degrees for 120 seconds


Make sure to peel off the protective coating from BOTH sides of the wind spinner blank prior to pressing.



Lint roll your blank to remove any dust and debris. You'll want to do this to each side, before sublimating. Don't forget to lint roll the second side after the first is pressed, as more debris can be introduced while pressing the first side.

lint roll to remove dust and debris



With the sublimation print face up on the table, place the blank face down. Either side works fine. Secure with heat resistant tape. I used eight pieces to secure it properly. I found that using only four pieces of heat tape allowed the print to lift more than when taping all the way around the wind spinner.

If the paper is not taped securely enough, the image can 'ghost', and some of the sublimation ink can be carried to the other side of the blank.

secure print with heat resistant tape


To find the center of your print, use a pencil and ruler and mark it on the top, and side margins with a pencil on both prints.


Place a clean sheet of white card stock on your heat mat. We do not want to sublimate our heat mat!


place cardstock on heat pad



Place your blank on the white card stock, sublimation print will be face down.





Use caution to not bend the aluminum wind spinner. While handling before and after sublimating.

We'll need to wear gloves, to protect our hands from heat. The spinners are not sharp on the edges, so can be handled without gloves while preparing.

put on heat resistant gloves

Place a clean sheet of butcher paper on top of your print.

place butcher paper on top of sublimation print

Place the Easypress on top of the sublimation print and blank, and click the 'C' button to start the timer. Use medium pressure, and do not slide, or move the Easypress off the print. Hold still!

hold the easypress still while pressing the wind spinner print


When the time is up, lift the EasyPress straight up and return it to its stand. Use caution not to lift the print and blank up with the heat press. Also, make sure to move the press straight up, and not off to the side, as removing the print diagonally can produce 'ghosting'. Wait for one minute to let the spinner cool down a bit.



Get ready to remove the print. It can be tough to remove all of the tape while still wearing your gloves, but don't worry, you can remove the rest later.


Once your blank has cooled, you will want to repeat the same steps to press the same design on the back of the wind spinner blank. Make sure you sublimate the back with the top facing the same direction as the other side. And make sure that there is equal distance around the print, and you use the pencil marks to center the blank.



STEP 3: INFUSIBLE INK SHEETS VERSION

Upload the Tree of Life SVG file to Cricut Design Space and add it to your Canvas.

This is what my SVG file looks like on my Canvas. You can zoom out to see all of the design by clicking on the minus (-) sign on the lower left.

tree of life svg in design space


Make sure the outer layer is sized to 8.25” so we can sublimate off the edge of our wind spinner blanks.

Select the tree and click Duplicate. Drag the duplicate to the side.


Make sure you have the right machine selected and click "Make It."
If prompted, click "On Mat," "12 in x 12 in," and "Confirm."

use brayer to secure infusible ink to mat

On the Make screen be sure to Mirror your design on both mats.

mirror image in design space

Move your image to the center of the mat.

Choose the ‘Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet’ material setting and the pressure to more.

Place your Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet onto a green StandardGrip Mat, with the finished side facing up. Use a brayer to secure the sheet to the mat.

TIP: The Infusible Ink patterns are directional, so keep that in mind if you want the patterns to go in the same direction.

Make sure you have a clean Fine-Point Blade in the correct clamp. 

Load the mat, and press Go.

Once the cut is complete, unload the mat and remove the ink sheet.

cracking the infusible ink

Roll the design and start 'cracking' the cuts to allow easier removal around the design elements.

Remove the tree shape from the carrier sheet.

TIP: If a design piece shifts, like the ink within the tree branches just gently put it back in place with the tweezers. This stuff is pretty sturdy!

remove tree from infusible ink sheet

Cover your heat mat like we did earlier with white card stock and place the blank on the design.

Use heat tape and tape down the sides. I like to use eight pieces all the way around the wind spinner.

Now, flip the blank and taped design over and add butcher paper on top to protect your press.

place butcher paper on top of infusible ink sheet before pressing

Make sure your heat press is at the correct temperature and time settings.

Hold the heat press on the blank at 360°F (192°C) for 120 seconds using light pressure. The infusible ink sheets require light pressure and a little less time then the sublimated version. Hold still!

When the time is up, lift the EasyPress straight up and return it to its stand. Use caution not to lift the print and blank up with the heat press. Also, make sure to move the press straight up, and not off to the side, as removing the print diagonally can produce 'ghosting'. Wait for one minute to let the spinner cool down a bit.

Remove the tape and sublimation paper.

If you plan to hang your wind spinners outdoors in a sunny spot, you might want to consider spraying a UV Resistant Clear Coat to prevent fading. In an outdoor space, place your wind spinner at the bottom of a box. Spray the UV Resistant Clear Coat on on side of the wind spinner. Wait for it to completely dry - about 10 minutes and repeat in the other side.


STEP 4: BEND YOUR WIND SPINNER

Now it's time to bend our wind spinner rings into position!

The instructions state to spin the center part last, but I like to keep the center aligned with the hanging holes.

No need for gloves since the spinner has cooled down after sublimating, and the edges of the aluminum spinner can be handled without gloves. They are not as sharp as they look!
bend side 1 of the wind spinner to the left

I start with the left side. Bend the outer most ring to about 45° inward toward you. I like to stabilize the bottom of the blank on a sturdy surface while bending. Then with the next smaller ring bend forward, but not as much. Do the same for each ring until you reach the center. Try and place even distance between each ring.

bend side 2 of the wind spinner to the left

Then flip, and do the same with the other side of the wind spinner. Work from the left side again.

You can adjust each ring trying to make symmetrical. I like to view the wind spinner from the top to make sure each sides' rings are aligned, so that when spinning, the design is stable and stays true and symmetrical.

Optional Motor

The wind spinners have small mounting holes at the top and bottom. You can use the supplied swivel clips to attach them, outdoors, with line, or a shepherd's pole. You could also mount from the bottom hole, using a garden ornamental stake, but you would have to attach it securely with a small bolt, etc.

optional spinning motor for wind spinner

Since there is a top and bottom hole, you have the option to daisy-chain these. Imagine the possibilities!

While these aluminum wind spinners look great, and last, outdoors, you might want to display them indoors as well.

To replace the lack of wind indoors, I used a small battery and remote operated motor to spin the wind spinner at 10rpm. 20rpm was a little fast for me.


Note that the swivel joint needs to be removed if using the motor. We want to turn the wind spinner, not free-spin the swivel.


You can simply use the clip the swivel was attached to. Open the clip with your finger and place the small opening in the hole on the bottom of the motor. The large opening on the clip can be placed on the wind spinners' top hole. Make sure not to scratch your beautiful design!

STEP 5: SHOW IT OFF

These wind spinner look great outdoors, or even indoors, for year-round enjoyment.

final reveal of sublimated wind spinners

Answers to Your Questions About Making a Patriotic Wind Spinner

Q: Where is your video tutorial for this project?

A: These sublimated wind spinners are a special project we made for our Maker Academy Weekend 2023 event! A complete and detailed step-by-step video premiered during the event November 1-5, 2023 — this tutorial video was available to watch for free for 24 hours only during the event. If you missed it, you can get access to the full video, the 15-page printable handbook that details how to make this beautiful project with a VIP Pass to Maker Academy Weekend 2023, which comes with other perks and bonuses, too! 

Q: How do you make a garden wind spinner?

A: Follow my tutorial! If you use images of your own design, be sure the main element of your work (the subject) is in the middle of the file. That way, it will sublimate onto the solid middle of the wind spinner and be easier to see.

Q. How do you sublimate wind spinners?

A. If you have a sublimation printer, you can use my tutorial to prepare your digital file using your preferred printing or design software (I like to use Google Docs!) and press on the blank. If you don’t have a sublimation printer, there are services where you can have someone print your own work or original art as sublimation transfers to be shipped to you. 

Q: What temp do you sublimate wind spinners?

A: I recommend 360°F (192°C) for 120 seconds with low pressure to sublimate my free digital printable files or your own digital creations on wind spinners.

Q: Can you show me how to create designs for sublimation?

A: I used an AI image generator and Photoshop to create the summer sublimation shirts designs in the digital download file for this project. To learn how to create your own AI images for sublimation projects, check out my AI Art Design Workshop. Be sure to print at a high quality resolution on high quality paper for best results. High quality print settings and materials make a huge difference!

Q: Can you show me how to bend the wind spinner?

A: Custom cut blanks for wind spinners are made from coated aluminum, so they’re pretty easy to shape as long as you take your time. The metal’s edges may be sharp, so wear gloves for extra protection. The easiest way is to stabilize the spinner’s bottom point on a sturdy table. Hold the spinner in place with one hand, and use your other hand to gently pull the right outermost ring toward you until it’s perpendicular to the flat section. Then pull the next ring just a little bit less than you pulled the first, and so on until you’ve bent all the rings on that side. Then rotate the spinner and repeat these steps for the other side. Look at the spinner from the top down to make sure the rings are bent evenly, and adjust them as needed. The spacing doesn’t need to be perfect, but having the rings evenly spaced will make the image easier to see.

Q: What are the benefits of a wind spinner?

A: When the wind spinner spins, it makes a subtle buzzing sound that can keep away insects, birds, and even squirrels!

Q: Can you heat sublimation too long?

A: If your transfer looks dull or washed out, that means you should press for longer. If your transfer has a brown or yellow hue, you pressed it too long. For more information on pressing times, temperatures, and application instructions for tons of sublimation projects, check out my Sublimation Cookbook

Q: Are your free SVGs and files just for personal use or also commercial use?

A: First thing, I’m honored that you’d ask! Yes, you can sell completed projects using these designs (with limitations) along with other designs in my free library — please read about licenses here so you know what you can and cannot do, and how you can qualify for a commercial license. If you do sell projects using designs from JenniferMaker in your small retail store or online retail business or, please share photos with us! We love to see them. 

Q: What is ghosting in sublimation?

A: Ghosting is when the sublimation print is moved while it’s still sublimating onto the blank. If a project is moved, knocked, or bumped while the sublimation paper is still warm and pressed up against the bank, a smeared or smudged-looking double image effect may occur. Unless directed otherwise, always leave your sublimation paper and project to cool before the print is removed. 

Q: How many times can you reuse sublimation transfer paper?

A: Sublimation paper is only meant for single prints, so for best results only use your sublimation transfer once. While it may appear that there is still ink on your sublimation print, there is not enough left to produce a good quality image — for the best high quality designs, use a fresh printed sublimation image for each transfer. 

Q: Do you have any other patriotic projects I can make? 

A: I have a whole blog post full of red, white, and blue projects that would make the perfect addition to your patriotic decor!

Q: What kinds of outdoor garden decor can you make besides patriotic spinners?

A:  I have lots of ideas! Here’s some of my favorite projects that I’ve made for my own garden:

Q: What other sublimation projects can I make?

A: There are tons of new arrivals in the sublimation crafting space hitting the market every day! There are so many options out there for custom hand-made products for gifting or selling. I like to purchase my sublimation blanks on Amazon because they offer quality products for sublimation, plus I get free shipping with my Prime account. Plus, they have quick delivery times — the items typically arrive in just a couple of business days. They have a hassle-free return policy, too.

Wind spinners are also super easy to send through the mail, too. Unlike large size crafts, heavy items, or breakable ones with special shipping needs, outdoor wind spinners are made of metal and can be shipped flat and pretty inexpensively.

Just a reminder: If you’re new to sublimation, it’s important to know that flat items can be sublimated with a heat press, but for three-dimensional blanks, you’ll need a dedicated sublimation convection oven, or  (depending on your project and budget) a specialty press like a mug or tumbler press. Be sure to read the materials list for each sublimation project you try … before you try it!

Get my free PNG files to create a patriotic wind spinner!

I love seeing what you make with my designs and how you use them! Please share a photo of your patriotic wind spinner or another project in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.

Love,

JenniferMaker.com

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Make a Patriotic Wind Spinner with JenniferMaker's tutorial! Seventeen vibrantly colored patriotic wind spinners are displayed.

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