Repurposed Ceiling Fan Blades into an Airplane
Do you ever have one of those “aha” moments? Well, I had one about a month ago. Our family was over at my in-laws and my daughter was playing with one of her cousin’s toys; it was a plane. As she was holding it I knew right then and there that’s what I could repurpose the ceiling fan blades into…a plane!! “What ceiling fan blades?” you might be asking. I took the fan blades off the fixture in my kitchen a few months ago when I took down the popcorn ceilings. I kept them thinking I might do something with them, and lo and behold I finally did.
It took a while for the idea to come into fruition because I didn’t know how to work out the logistics, but I knew these fan blades were destined to fly again. I spotted an old gutter piece in our junk pile and thought it would make a great body to the plane. My husband bent the end of it to shape it more like a plane’s form.
My eyes kept wondering the pile until they fell upon a piece of an antenna my husband took off our roof a few weeks ago. This little piece was meant to be the tail wing of the plane. A piece from the chandelier that used to hang in our dining area was used for the front of the plane.
I also needed something that would act as a propeller and that came in the shape of a piece of threshold trim. As you can see I’ve already painted, cut and drilled the “propeller.”
Before I go any further I should mention that I checked out a book at the library, The Color Encyclopedia of Incredible Airplanes by Phil Jarrett, that was very helpful while I was trying to replicate an older plane. I took inspiration from several different planes so my little plane doesn’t resemble one single plane. That being said, I went back and forth as to whether or not to put landing gear on this puppy, because some of the planes showed it and other the gear was tucked in. I decided to go ahead and let the landing gear show. I used some more of the trim that was used for the propeller and two pieces from the posts I’ve been repurposing. My husband graciously cut these pieces for me. I spray painted several pieces red.
All the other parts were either painted gray or black. The front piece was put together first. I took a 1/4″x2″ bolt and 1/4″ nut and fastened the propeller and cap together. My husband drilled through the end of the gutter piece so he could attach the tail using a bolt and wing nut. Then I put the body and head of the plane together using hot glue. I ended up having to take this part off while putting the rest of the plane together and glued it back after the rest of the plane was assembled. The wood block and trim were pre-drilled and fastened together with a screw.
Here’s where those beautiful fan blades come into play. Each fan blade had 3 existing holes where it used to be attached to the light fixture. I drilled 2 of the holes to make them bigger, 1/4″ to be exact. I also measured, marked, and drilled 2 more holes in each of the fan blades. There was a little splintering around the holes…ooops! I just sanded a bit and painted where the splintering occurred and it turned out fine. My husband helped a lot to figure out the logistics of combining the wings and body of the plane. We used a combination of bolts, nuts, washers and hooks to fasten it all together.
First my husband measured and drilled 8 holes into the gutter piece. Then 3/4″ hooks were attached to the gutter piece using a nut. A 6″x1/4″ bolt went through the top blade then a nut was screwed all the way to the bottom of the top blade. Then a nut and washer went onto the bolt. The bolt was then threaded through the hook and another washer and nut went on. Another nut and washer was put onto the bolt. Then the bolt was threaded through the second hook. A washer and nut were put onto the bolt. A nut was screwed onto the bottom of the bolt just above the bottom wing and another nut was screwed on below the bottom wing to sandwich it in. This step was repeated 3 times until all the wings were attached to the body of the plane. The outer portion of the wing assembly was more simple. A bolt was put through the holes, then a nut was screwed on to keep the top wing in place. A second nut was placed near the bottom of the bolt, then the bottom wing was threaded through the bolt and another nut was put on after the wing to keep it in place.
The landing gear was attached to the body of the plane using bolts and nuts. A wooden block was cut and placed inside the gutter piece to give it a little more weight. The propeller cap was hot glued back on again after all the pieces were attached.
A piece of threshold trim was cut, painted and attached with bolts and nuts to the two top wings to act as a brace.
Here is the final result.
I love it!! It turned out much better than I even imagined!
What do you think?
Here’s a close-up of how the wings were attached.
We’re going to hang it up from the ceiling and put this plane to flight.
I’m glad I kept those ceiling fan blades!! 🙂
Thanks for checking out this post!!
p.s. If you have any questions as to how this came together please feel free to ask. I tried to explain it as well as I could and hopefully the pictures will help, but I would be glad to clarify any point necessary.