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Korean Paper Fans

Korean Paper Fans Activity

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In Korea, there is a traditional fan dance called buchaechum (boo-chay-choom). Female dancers wear traditional dresses and dance with two fans each. Together the choreographed group expresses the beauty of nature through dance by making butterflies, flowers, and ocean waves with their movements and fans. You can make your own Korean paper fan to use for your own fan dance or even as decoration.

What You Need:

  • Four 8 ½” x 11” sheets of white paper or two sheets of 12” x 18” white paper
  • Tape
  • Watercolor paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Small water bowl
  • Paint shirt (one that you don't mind getting paint on!)
  • Paper plate
  • Small sponge
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencil

Note: Refer to the picture in the activity for guidance.

What You Do:

  1. Spread newspaper onto the table. Make sure your child is wearing clothes that can get paint on them!
  2. If you’re using four 8 ½” x 11” papers, hold the paper horizontally and tape the two pieces of paper together one right next to the other, to make one long "hot dog" piece of paper. Repeat with the other two pieces. You’ll be making the front and back of the fan. If you're using two sheets of 12"x18" paper, you can skip those steps.
  3. For the rainbow fan, lightly draw rainbow lines for the five colors across the two papers on the side without tape. Depending on the kind of paint you have, you might need to squirt the paint onto a paper plate and mix with a little water. Have your child paint the rainbow on both papers. Let them dry.
  4. For the flower fan, lightly draw two rainbow lines at the top for the outer pink edge. Then draw three medium circles where the flowers will be painted—one in the middle, one on the left, and one on the right. Have your child paint the yellow flower middle first. Then have your child paint the pink flower petals. For the leaves, dip a small sponge into the green paint and blot onto the paper around each flower. Repeat these steps for the second paper. Let them dry.
  5. Place the two papers front to back with the paint on the outside. Cut out a fan shape. Drizzle glue on the inside of one paper and press the two papers together.
  6. Next, fold the fan accordion style. Make one fold about ¼ an inch. Flip the paper over and make another ¼ inch fold. Continue folding to the end of the paper.
  7. Wrap tape around the bottom for a handle. Now your fan is ready for a fan dance!

Click here to watch a video of a traditional Korean fan dance. Making your own Korean paper fans is a great way to help your child explore different cultures and their customs while she builds her fine motor and arts and crafts skills. Let the fan dancing begin!

Tina Cho has been an elementary teacher for 11 years, mainly in the kindergarten classroom. She is currently a freelance writer.

Updated on Dec 28, 2012
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