Sunday, 21 September 2008


I was in Kota Bharu recently, to soak in the culture, food & people's way of life.

At first, when I saw this hanging in the houses & shops in Kota Bharu, I thought it was a lantern (since it was just 1 week after the Mooncake/Mid-Autumn Festival).

But I was corrected by my friend & guide - it actually is a wind (turbine) mobile made from recycled soft drink cans!

Because of the slanted slits in the can, it catches the wind and twirls. The Chinese community in KB love to hang this in their houses & some attach tassles at the base so that it looks like a lantern.

You can also amend the design & make it stand on the table.

I heard some enterprising people are selling it for RM0.80-RM1 a can.

A novel idea!

As I was passing a hardware shop just behind my hotel, I saw these lanterns and enquired whether its for sale. The man was very delighted that I appreciated his handy work and even offered to share his crafting knowledge :

Step 1: At the top, use a nail to puncture a hole through the top & bottom of the can

Step 2: Mark intervals of about 1/2 in around the tin can (both to & bottom) with your cutter. But the markings at the top should not align but a be little off-side. Make 7 or 9 intervals.

Step 3: Use a sharp cutter or craft scalpel to sharply trace/cut a line from the top to the bottom. Do a slight 'S' curve for a more intricate twist.

Step 4: Hold both ends of the can & gently squeeze/scrimp the can with your fingers, along the traced line. The can should break at places where you traced with the cutter.

Step 5: To neaten the break, use your cutter to gently cut to the end of the can (top & bottom).

Step 6: Insert the cutter's blade into a slit & twist the blade to pry open the slit into a slant. Do the same for the other slits.

Step 7: Squeeze both ends to make slightly flatten it and the slits will open out. Note how he holds the can (position of his fingers).

Turn it upside down and the the same (step 6) but in the opposite direction. Check that both slits are of equal distance & angle.

Step 8: Cut a length of thick wire. Draw the design of your frame on a card/book cover. Use this as a guide when you bend the wire using fingers & pliers. The design should be a 'C' shape. You can give it a more oriental look by adding some right-angle bends.

Step 9: To assemble the turbine, just insert the bottom part of the'C' wire into the bottom hole and the other through the top hole and turning your turbine!

More details & pictures once I receive my parcel from Pos Malaysia. Why? I sent the mobiles I bought by post back from KB.

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