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Whirligig fit for an Art Museum!

Make your own Whirligig !  with a trip or two to the hardware store you too can have a wonderful Twirly- whirly-gig in your backyard

Our Wonderful Whirligig

In the holidays I took the kids to the museum of Contemporary Art. I haven’t been there in what feels like a life time and was ready to soak in the artistic atmosphere. I realize now that I am very limited in my understanding of contemporary art, but I was taken by the huge wooden swirls in one exhibit, that reminded me of a ‘Whirly -gig’ I made with paddlepop sticks (and the help of my father) when I was a child.

I enlisted the help of the kids and we zoomed off to Bunnings to try and find something suitable to create our very own enormous whirly-gig spiral!

Make your own Whirligig

While wider than I had in mind, we found some great pieces of wood that were 120cm x 4cm x 2cm - and for only $2.21 per plank! The kids suggested that we would need about 30 pieces, and we decided to cut each piece into 3 section....Looking back, we could have cut the wood in quarters and it would still have an ‘enormous’ effect. And I also had to go back and top up the spiral with 3 more planks (9 more pieces) as it just looked a bit unfinished.

We also had to buy some kind of metal rod that would fit through the middle of all the pieces - and be long enough. Again we were happy to see that we could purchase a 1 meter screw rod (official title up for grabs!), and planned to cut it to size when putting our design together.

We were now down to the sawing stage. I measured each piece before using a handsaw to cut along the line. It was fairly easy to do as the wood was quite thin, and I enlisted the help of my husband to drill holes in the centre (also measured and marked) just to get the process moving along quicker.

We used a sander to smooth off the edges, and I went over all the pieces lightly with some leftover wood stain we had in the garage. All that was left to do was to put the spiral together.

I used a dab of PVA glue between each layer of wood as I began stacking the spiral together. I learnt that this was a bit preemptive as I forgot to measure and cut the middle rod BEFORE this stage, and found it a little difficult to trim once the whole spiral was put together. Whoops.

But the spiral came together beautifully! We used a conduit saddle type bracket on the top, a clipped on a hook and chain so we could hang it. The spiral is quite heavy, and we were lucky to have some spare chain floating around in the garage (this is where hoarding comes into it’s own!).

It is now hanging in my tree and I am transported right back to the MCA. Not sure what the neighbors think though!

Whirligig