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How to Make Your Own Weather Vane

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How to Make Your Own Weather Vane

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Overview

Weather vanes are not only practical, but they also add a beautiful touch to the roof of your house, barn or in the garden. More and more people collect copper weather vanes to use as decor inside their homes. You can build a functional yet inexpensive weather vane using corrugated plastic and an old broomstick. Corrugated plastic is cheap and will stand up to the weather for years. It can be painted easily and comes in many different colors.

Step 1

Trace out a design on the sheet of corrugated plastic, making sure the flutes run vertically. If you look at the side of the corrugated plastic, you will see "flutes" running the full length of the sheet. Draw an arrow with a two-inch body, a four-inch arrow head at one end and a four-inch tail feather on the other end. Cut the arrow using the razor blade and using the ruler as a guide.

Step 2

Find the center balance point of your cut arrow by laying it flat on your extended index finger. When the arrow does not tip to the left or to the right, make a mark at the balance point.

Step 3

Insert the nail in one of the washers, and then inside the flute corresponding to the balance point of your arrow. Insert the nail from the top toward the bottom. Use the hot glue gun to secure the nail head to the washer. Insert the other washer on the other end of the nail flush against the arrow and secure it to the nail using the hot glue gun.

Step 4

Drill a hole in one end of the broomstick about four inches deep using the 4-millimeter drill bit. Be sure to drill as straight as possible so your arrow will not sit crooked on its base.

Step 5

Test the fit by inserting the pivoting shaft of your arrow (its nail) and spin it in the hole you just drilled. The bottom washer should make contact with the end of the broomstick and should rotate freely on its axis.

Step 6

Find a place for your weather vane that is free of obstructions. Hammer the broomstick at least 18 inches into the ground. Be careful not to block the hole you drilled while hammering. You may place a piece of scrap wood or corrugated plastic on top of the drilled end of the broomstick to protect it while hammering.

Step 7

Place your arrow on top of its base (the broomstick). Use two long, wooden paint stirrers from a hardware store and get some plastic molded letters: N, E, W and S. Mount N and S at each end of one of the paint stirrers, and E and W on the other. Secure the letters using the hot glue gun. Mount them on the base of your weather vane, approximately eight inches to 12 inches under your corrugated plastic arrow.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure the hole you drill in the broomstick is straight and allows the nail to move freely or your weather vane will not work. Be careful with the hot glue gun. Hot glue can cause serious burns. Also, be careful when cutting the arrow pattern with the razor blade. Keep your fingers out of the way and wear a glove on your noncutting hand for safety.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 Corrugated plastic sheet, 18 inches x 24 inches
  • 1 wooden broom stick
  • 1 nail, 6 inches long, 4 millimeters thick
  • 2 washers with a 3-millimeter opening, 6 millimeters thick
  • 1 electric drill
  • Drill bit, 14 millimeters
  • Hot glue gun
  • Metal ruler
  • Razor blade
  • 2 wooden paint stirrers
  • Stick-on letters: N, S, E, W

References

  • Education.arm.gov: Understanding Wind Direction and Making a Wind Vane
  • Bill's Homemade Weather Instruments and Solar Projects
Keywords: make weather vane, make weathervane, make wind vane

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.