This article first appeared in Make: Volume 41.
This article first appeared in Make: Volume 41.

This project came from my love of taking apart broken electronics and experimenting with the components. I had an old computer fan, a 9-volt battery, pens, and the gift of boredom. Next thing I knew, I was creating interesting art! Turning electronic “junk” into unexpected fun is really satisfying.


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Project Steps

Mount the fan and switch

Attach the fan to the box top with double-stick foam tape.

To mount the switch, make a small hole in the box.

Remove the mounting nut from the switch, push the switch lever through the hole from the inside of the box, and replace the mounting nut to secure it

in place.

Wire the fan, switch, and battery

Make another small hole to push the fan wires through to the inside of the box.

Using one alligator clip lead, connect the fan’s black wire to the negative (larger) terminal on the battery.

Using another alligator clip lead, connect the fan’s red wire to one of the switch terminals.

Use the last alligator clip lead to connect the unused switch terminal to the positive (smaller) terminal on the battery.

Add paper and color

Cut paper circles smaller than the diameter of your fan.

Attach a paper circle to the center of the fan, using a loop of masking tape on the back of the paper.

Turn the fan on and gently apply a colored marker to the spinning paper. Enjoy making colorful designs!