In an age when over crowded rooms were considered the measure of a successful party, fans were an indespensible accessory. Not only could one create a breeze where none was to be found, but by reason of several well known flutterings, one could, if wafted just so, communicate any number of delicate intelligences to a friend or lover, even from across a crowded room. The following instructions, from Dr. Tara Maginnis, of The Costumer’s Manifesto, offer an easy way to create a period looking fan to take to your next ball or assembly. Visit Tara’s site for many other suggestions and projects for completing your period ensemble.
Don’t have time to make a fan? You can purchase beautiful lace fans at our online giftshop. Click here.
To make a Georgian or Regency Fan
Buy a simple cheap bamboo fan with strong, widely spaced sticks, not a delicate one with fine sticks. Your best option will be one about 1 foot long folded.
The original fan leaf is peeled off the cheap bamboo sticks and used to gauge the size the finished fan leaf will need to be.
This fan was made by scanning a photo from an 18th Century original at the MFA Boston and altering the size of the leaf in Adobe Photoshop to match the size needed. Then the leaf was printed out in pieces, and ironed onto heavy non woven interfacing, and the excess interfacing clipped away.
Then the leaf was hand colored with watercolor to approximate the original, and then glued to the sticks with rubber cement or a thin layer of hot glue. Having your original prints in color will let you skip this step.
A layer of gold tissue paper was glued to the back of the fan to sandwich the sticks inside the leaf and strengthen the fan.
Finally the fan was folded and pressed into shape on the ironing board. The sticks have been decorated with gold pen.