Wednesday, December 26, 2018

An Experimental Black and Gold Brisé Fan

This wasn't a project I originally intended to take on, but I became mildly obsessed with these fans when I saw them on Facebook. I wanted one. I needed one. But, I am also broke 99.9% of the time, so I needed to figure out how to make this thing myself, rather than shell out the $50+ the vintage ones were going for on the few sites that sold them.

I searched eBay and AliExpress for a cheap fan that I liked the look of, and found one in the colors I wanted for just under $1.50, with free shipping!

It's horrendously cheap, with tacky lace glued to the sticks, but that was okay because I intended to tear this thing apart, anyway. The main thing I wanted was the sticks, and these seemed to be slightly better than the other plastic fans on offer. It took forever to arrive via ChinaPost, but once it did, I got to work right away tearing it apart. I ripped the cheap lace off the ribs and discarded it.

Looking at images of original fans, I sketched out a pattern for my palms. I like the patterns that have a more elaborate curved edge, so that's what I copied for my fan.

My sacrificial fan had 14 ribs, which meant I had to cut out 28 of the palms. I used black card stock as my base.  I wanted to have a semi-elaborate gold pattern on my leaves, so I spent some time sketching out the pattern, keeping in mind how it would look with the leaves overlapping each other. I used gold metallic sharpies to fill in the final design, and silver sharpie to do the highlights. The metallic sharpies didn't live as long as I wanted, and I could only get through about 6-8 halves with one pen, so the sharpies ended up being the most expensive part of this project because I had to keep buying more!

I glued the palms down to the ribs, sandwiching the rib between the two sides. I used binder clips to keep the two sides sealed while the glue dried, and a pair of cuticle scissors to trim the curves where the two sides didn't quite match after it was dried.

To keep the fan from falling open, I sewed a guide line through each palm. I started with a loose palm, then moved left to right through the palms that were sewn to the ribs.

Finally, I attached the outer ribs to the loose palms.

And it was done!

For a quick experiment, this turned out pretty okay. I'm counting it as a good trial run, and a good test for future projects. I want to do a nicer version in the near future, with nicer sticks and actual silk palms instead of card paper. A lot of originals have sequins embroidered on them, too, and I do love to bling out everything I can with sequins!


  1. The fan just turned out amazing and you have given me great ideas to customize some of those chinese fans I have in here. Thank you!