How to Repurpose 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, so I started gathering parts to make the plane.
Gathering the Pieces:
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 would be used for the cap 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.”
I used more threshold trim that was cut lengthwise and round post pieces to make the landing gear.
Before any of the pieces were put together they were all spray painted either red, black or gray.
Putting the smaller pieces together first:
Now that most of the pieces were gathered and painted it was time to put the plane together.
-The propeller cap was put together first. I took a 1/4″x2″ bolt and 1/4″ nut and fastened the propeller and cap together.
-Then my husband drilled through the end of the gutter piece so he could attach the tail using a bolt and wing nut.
-The gray pieces of trim and the wheel were screwed together to make the landing gear.
Prepping the fan blades:
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.
Attaching the wings to the body of the plane:
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.
Outer Wing Assembly:
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.
Putting on the finishing touches:
The landing gear was attached to the body of the plane using bolts and nuts.
A 2″x4″ block was cut and placed inside the gutter piece to give it a little more weight. Then the propeller cap was hot glued on, *see update below.
*update 3-11-17- When we first put this plane together, I simply hot glued the propeller cap on but it would fall off the plane occasionally so my husband came up with a better way to fasten the propeller on so it wouldn’t fall off anymore.
Remember the 2″x4″ block that was placed inside the body/gutter piece to give the plane weight? My husband ended up drilling a hole through the 2″x4″ and screwed the propeller cap on using the bolt that was keeping the propeller and cap together.
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 of it?
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. *update 3-11-17-this plane is now hanging from the ceiling in my craft room.
I’m glad I kept those ceiling fan blades!! 🙂
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Thanks so much for sharing this post on How to Repurpose Ceiling Fan Blades into an Airplane !!
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.
I referenced this book for inspiration: The Color Encyclopedia of Incredible Airplanes by Phil Jarrett, 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.