How To Make a Simple Korean Paper Fan Craft

This exploration is for all ages, as the colored smilies show. You can do the Korean Peninsula explorations with your whole family together!

1st thru 4th grades
5th thru 8th grades
9th thru 12th grades

Layers of Learning Unit 3-9
Unit 3-9: Enlightenment, Korea, Color, Art Journaling

The Korean Peninsula explorations are geography lessons from Layers of Learning Unit 3-9 about the countries of North and South Korea. That unit also includes a history section on the Enlightenment, science experiments about color, and an art journaling component. Layers of Learning has hands-on explorations in every unit of this family-friendly curriculum. Learn more about Layers of Learning.

Start your exploration of the Korean peninsula by finding its location on a world map or globe. Unit 3-9 also includes a printable map for you to complete, along with Korean paper dolls and several other printables. We’ll also be reading some books about the Korean peninsula and making Korean paper fans. As we do, pay particular attention to some of the differences between North and South Korea and how different they have become from one another in recent history.

Fixed hand fans were probably invented in China many thousands of years ago. The folding paper fan was invented in Japan about 1500 years ago. Korea, Japan, and China borrowed culture and technology from one another over the thousands of years of their contact, including the manufacture and art of fans. Watch a Korean fan dance. Koreans don’t just use fans for art and dance, they also use them as weapons. Do a little extra research to find out more about that.

As you are crafting and waiting for the paint to dry, you can do some reading and also have a discussion about North and South Korea. What is the difference between North and South Korea?  They are the same people, with the same heritage, history, and culture, but South Korea received the protection and form of government of America and North Korea was set up as a Soviet communist regime.  What has been the difference in the outcome and why is there such a difference? (While kids are working on a craft is a great time to discuss history, culture, and deep philosophical topics <wink>).

Step 1: Library Research

Before you begin making a Korean fan, read a book or two about Korea. Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find these, look for books at your library about North Korea, South Korea, Korea, the Korean War, or the Korean Peninsula. The colored smilies above each book tell you what age level they’re recommended for.

As Amazon affiliates, the recommended books and products below kick back a tiny percentage of your purchase to us. It doesn’t affect your cost and it helps us run our website. We thank you!

Korean Children’s Favorite Stories

by Kim So-Un & Jeyong Kyoung-Sim

Authentic fairy tales from Korea, including Korean-style artwork (Some of the tales are rather dark, as is normal with fairy tales. Also, one tale tells of how the adopted daughter is less valuable than the “real” daughter. Especially if you have adopted children, pre-read.)

Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now

by John Stickler

A picture book written for older kids about Korean culture from ancient times to the present.

Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

by Barbara Demick

North Korea is something of a mystery to westerners since the borders are closed, including the electronic ones. One reporter, stationed in Beijing, caught glimpses from escapees and defectors from the repressive regime.

Step 2: Korean Paper Fans

You’ll need white paper, cellophane tape, scissors, tempera paints, and paint brushes.

All you need to do is tape two pieces of white paper together on the short side, so you end up with one long white paper. Turn it over so you’re painting on the side opposite from the tape. Sketch your design, making it oblong, since when you fold it, it will shrink down. Paint or color it.

When it is dry, cut off the corners to make them rounded then fold up the fan accordion-style starting from one short side of the paper. Tape one end together to make the handle.

korean paper fan craft

Step 3: Show What You Know

Along with showing off your fans, write a narration about something you learned from your research about Korea.

Additional Layers

Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. You will find them in the sidebars of each Layers of Learning unit. They are optional, so just choose what interests you.

Writer’s Notebook

Write a three paragraph essay. Paragraph one will describe North Korea. Paragraph two will describe South Korea. In the third paragraph you will compare the two and provide your own analysis and insights about the important differences between the two countries.

Additional Layer

We used the South Korean flag as the design on one of our fans.  Learn more about the symbolism of the Korean flag.

Additional Layer

The Korean War Memorial in Washington DC.

Learn more about the Korean War, which technically South Korea, the United States, Australia, Britain, and the other alliance countries are still fighting against North Korea.

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3 thoughts on “How To Make a Simple Korean Paper Fan Craft”

  1. I’m a teacher, and I love these kinds of projects. For example, instead of the Korean flag, you could decorate the fan with the Korean alphabet. Bodily-kinesthetic learners will learn lots from these types of activities–and they’ll have fun doing it!

    1. Yes! You can read about a topic and that’s important, but when kids do a project as a follow up to the stuff they’re learning that’s when it really sticks.

      1. Kids, as you say, for sure, but it works great with adults too. I teach at a university (plus I’m learning the Thai language right now) and I’ve found that creative activities such as these work really well for older students–seems like kids “games” but really they are professional learning tools!

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