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DIY Spinner Art STEM Project

DIY Spinner Art STEM Project
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PowerYourSummerAdventure #CollectiveBias

Every summer I look for a STEM project or two to share with my kids that will keep them entertained and maybe learn a little something at the same time. Making DIY Spinner Art is easy and teaches a great lesson about circuits. You have to have all the pieces in the right place in order to get the motor to spin. And in the battery pack? Energizer®batteries that keep going and going and going for circuit projects of all sorts all summer long!

What makes this STEM Project so fun to do with the kids is that it is really a STEAM project–there’s definitely an art component to this DIY Spinner ART craft. With a basic 1.5 volt hobby motor, a battery pack, and a switch, kids can build a little machine that will spin their paper so they can make wonderful little pieces of art. String the finished spin art together for garlands, or make them into coasters, or cover a wall for some really creative art pieces!

 

Powering a STEM Project

To power our STEM projects, we like to use Energizer® MAX AA Batteries. This time in the 8 pack! And did you notice their NEW PACKAGING?? That cute pink bunny is now on the front, and it makes it super easy to find on the shelf at Walmart If you have Ibotta, click here to get $1 cash back on any Energizer® MAX variety or $1.25 cash back on any Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ variety.

Why pick Energizer® ? They’ve made the MAX™ batteries in AA and AAA sizes super long lasting, the longest out of all their batteries, which means the batteries are around for many many STEM projects. Plus, you can forget about their batteries for 10 years and they’ll still work. I buy stuff and forget about it all the time, so this can be handy if you’re like me. Since kid projects and battery leaks aren’t a good combo, Energizer®  also makes for a good pick. Sometimes springing for quality is just a must-do.

Next time you’re at Walmart, look for the pink bunny on the new packaging and pick some up to start a STEM project or two.

Even better–you can drop them in your cart NOW and have them delivered STAT.

 

DIY Spinner Art STEM Project Pre-Project Prep

On a scale of one to ten with ten being the hardest, I’m going to rank this project at a two. It’s uncomplicated…if you’re at all familiar with wires and motors and things. We keep a good pile of electronics junk around that the kids (and I) can scavenge through to make STEM project stuff with. I created these DIY spinners with things I had, but if you need to buy everything, here are a few things you’re going to want to know…

Hobby Motors in this STEM project

You can pick up hobby motors online or at electronics supply stores. I’m immensely lazy, so I usually go the online route when looking for items like this. You’re looking for 1.5 volts for this project; you don’t need a lot of power to make it work, and if you’re handing this to a kid to do, it’s best to keep all voltages low. The motors come in different shapes and sizes for the casing of the motors, so don’t worry about that. Your spinner will work all the same. When I made my circles, I actually ended up holding the spinner motor in my hand to apply the marker to the circle rather than sit it on the table. They do make wider bottomed motors that will sit on the table if you think that is what your crew needs in order to be successful with this.

I am going to recommend finding motors that already have wires attached to them for the purposes of this DIY spinner project. You can add them yourself, but it adds a layer of complexity I think is best left out of a kid’s STEM project if they’re younger. My children have been known to make a weld or two, but that’s a skill that needs some serious instruction first.

Battery Packs

You’re looking for a AA battery case that holds two Energizer® batteries. It, too, should already have the wires attached to the case.

Switch

The switch is just what you think–it’ll allow the kids to turn the motor on and off. Without the switch, all you’ll get is ON once the circuit is complete and the Energizer® batteries are in. It doesn’t have to be big and fancy, it just needs to stop the flow of current, and allow it to flow as well. Two prongs that are exposed somewhere on the switch will make it easier for the kids to wrap the wires around.

Wire Stripping

Ok, that SOUNDS like it’s hard, but it’s really not. The wiring itself is coated in plastic. When you make contact between the wires, or between the wire and the switch, you’ll want enough exposed wire (the metal part) so you get a good connection for the current/electricity to flow through. A poor contact will make for a bit of disappointment.

To make sure everything goes well, you can “strip” the wire to expose a bit more of the metal. Most of the plastic coatings on voltages this low are pretty thin. I find I can pick a spot a few millimeters from the end of the wire, press down with the unsharpened edge of my scissors onto the table and pull the wire out from under the scissor to do my stripping. If you need a tad more instruction on that if you find yourself needing your wires stripped, be sure look up a YouTube tutorial!

 

Create a DIY Spinner from a hobby motor to create Spinner art with kids!

DIY Spinner Art STEM Project

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

This is an easy electronics STEM Project you can do with kids. The DIY spinner art part of the project makes it more like a STEAM project, but either way, it's kid appropriate and hours of fun. The kids learn a little about circut making with a low voltage motor and battery pack and after a few wires are twisted, they can pop on a few paper circles to have fun with markers to make spin art! Project most appropriate for age 9 and up.

The battery packs, motors, switches and propellers are inexpensive and available at large online retailers (like those that start wih an A) and electronics stores.

Don't forget the Energizer batteries!

Materials

  • 1.5v hobby motor
  • 2 AA battery battery pack
  • Switch
  • Propeller for hobby motor
  • White cardstock cut into 3 inch circles
  • Markers
  • Washi Tape
  • 2 Batteries

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

Assemble your materials! Having everything close at hand in a super simple project like this is going to make it all that faster to assemble. This is especially important if you've got kids helping to make the spinners themselves.

This is what the spinner and motor should look like in the end.

Take the red wire from the battery pack and the red wire from the motor. Twist the exposed ends of the wires together. See the note above about stripping wires if not enough of the copper wire is available to twist.

More STEM project fun! Twist the black wire from the battery pack around one of the contacts for the switch. Twist the black wire from the motor around the other contact. For more detail on how this was done, be sure to watch the DIY Spinner Art video above!

After you're done twisting wires, you can add the Energizer batteries to the battery pack. If you do it before while you're twisting wires, it doesn't hurt, but your fingers may get a little zing! Turn the switch off an on to see if the motor works. If it doesn't, recheck your wires to make sure they've got full contact to create a complete circuit!

Here's where the DIY Spinner art project gets super fun. As if building the spinner itself wasn't fun enough!!

Grab your propeller and circle of paper.

Use a few pieces of washi tape to attach the propeller to the circle of paper. The washi tape isn't very sticky so it should come off easily when you are done with your spinner art. Put the propeller on the motor.

The paper will spin on the propellar once the motor is turned on.

After you turn on the motor, use markers to lightly touch the surface of the paper as it spins. Use one color or ten, you can get as creative as you like!

Grab some Energizer® batteries this summer and make some STEM fun with your kids!

Want another great STEM project to try? Check out my tutorial for Scribble Bots!

Paula Biggs

Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a professional party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party and craft ideas. You can also buy birthday party supplies, printables and accessories from the Frog Prince Paperie Etsy shop.
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