THE WHIRLIGIG PROJECT 1This Whirligig Project started with a trip to the Dairy Queen. It was my very first project here in Medicine Hat. My son and I had just moved here. We decided to go for a drive to find a Dairy Queen and look the town over.

Up the hill Chris took a wrong turn and we passed this strange thing on someones front yard. We laughed but deep down I really liked this.



WHIRLIGIG PROJECTA week later I kept thinking about it and asked Chris if he could find it again as I wanted to take a picture of it.

Winter rolled in and still, I could not stop thinking about this thing. I wanted to make one! I thought about it all winter long. Come spring I knew I had to do it as it was completely stuck in my head. It wouldn’t go away till I made one or at least tried to make one. I told Chris of my plans and he just rolled his eyes, knowing he would have to be the one to drive me around to pick up more junk. He hates junk. Especially when junk accumulates in the yard and makes his lawn mowing job more difficult.

First I had to figure out what the heck those cone looking things were. 

 At work there is the sweetest couple that frequents the store all the time. The old fellas’ name is Wayne and he is a very knowledgeable sort of fella. I took a moment to describe these cone shaped things to him and sure enough within 20 minutes he came looking for me and thought he figured out what they were. He said they sounded like old cream separators. Sure enough when I got home and googled the name, up came the image and he was dead on correct. Not only that, there was a lady from New York selling some from her Etsy Store.


Next was a pole. Where in the world was I going to find a long pole in a city I didn’t even know. I know for a fact thrift stores do not sell any used stripper poles! But the junk fairies were with me on this one. I was on the bus going to work and I spotted a long pole sticking out of a dumpster behind a car repair shop. On my next day off you know where I was. Bud’s Auto Repair. This guy was hilarious. He wanted to sell me all kinds of stuff out of his dumpster. Now I just had to get it home. It was not going to fit in my sons car. A mere $20.00 out of my pocket and 20 blocks later I lugged the pole home.

The bicycle wheels were another thing. I had been looking on the local Kijiji site for a kids bike but could not find one. But what I did keep seeing was an ad someone had in there for anyone giving away old bikes. I thought well maybe this person would have some old wheels he wasn’t going to use and would let me have a couple. I contacted him and then met Clark. What a wonderful guy he turned out to be. He takes old bikes and fixes them up for kids in the neighborhood for those who can not afford to have a bike of their own. He just happened to have a couple of wheels I might be interested in.

Now it was time to put the whole thing together. I had no idea how I was going to build this. I was flying by the seat of my pants on this and there are no instructions to look up on how to do it.


First things first. I spray painted all the separators and the pole in a bright yellow, white and black. Then drilled holes in the rims of the wheels and the cream separators. Then attached them with small nuts and blots.

The next part was not easy as I could not find a coupling the right size to have the wheels stacked one on top of the other. I did find one that was really close in size but a little bit big. Out  came the JB Weld. That is the glue of all glues and just about as strong as a weld. I just gobbed it inside the coupling and one at a time I attached the wheels together.






On a side note I also made sure that the wheels were 2 different sizes. No particular reason other than I think it just looks better. Also I attached the separators going in opposite directions on each wheel for a better visualization when it is up and spinning. The photo above shows my first spin test. I was ecstatic by this point!

Next was to figure a way to attach the two wheels to the pole and still have it spinning.


I decided on a copper cap and drilled a hole through the center and bolted it through the cap with washers and a couple nuts. I added more JB Weld to keep it stable. There is quite a bit of constant movement up there and I didn’t want the nuts unscrewing or coming loose.


I now needed something to put on the very top. I wanted a spectacular looking weather vane, but those things are way out of my budget. So off to the thrift store.

I found a cool looking metal fish. Sprayed painted it black and attached it to the very top.




I then dug a hole in the back corner of the yard. Added some fast drying concrete and shoved in a piece of PVC plumbing pipe. I wanted this whirligig to be capable of dismantling just in case I moved again. 

Next with some help from Chris, up she went. It slides right into the PVC pipe. I added extra screws so it would not wobble inside the PVC pipe.

It was up!

It was spinning!

It was a thing of beauty!

I must add that during the emails to the lady who sold me the cream separators, she asked me to send her a photo of when the project was done. Well she was so impressed she asked if I could send her more photos and she did a feature post of the whirligig on her own blog site. I was quite honored.



Here is the final photo of my beloved Whirligig. A project that I was able to meet a number of really nice people and it is still spinning 2 years later. My neighbor who lives a 1/2 block away, who also happens to be one of the supervisors where I work, can see it from her house and says she loves to sit and watch it spin on windy days.


I hope you enjoyed my Whirligig Project!


SneakersSignature  Kat


Welcome to my world! My name is Kat. I live in Medicine Hat. Thus the name, Kat From The Hat.


    • Hi Vickie! Thanks for the compliment! I loved working on this one so much. Every time I see a whirligig in a garden center I find myself examining it to see if I could make one for myself. I always think of that movie Twister, it was about the storm chasers and if you seen the movie you can’t forget Aunt Meg’s yard full of artistic whirligigs!

      • Ever since seeing Twister, I also am enchanted with these whirlygigs. You did a great job on yours. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how to mount these, and collecting supplies. Thanks for the inspiration!

        • Oh I so hope you make one and would love to see a photo if you do. Mine is still up and spinning! The paint has faded now and looks like it has been there forever which just suits me perfectly!

  1. As soon as I saw the first picture I knew what they were from ,as a kid I used to turn the crank on one for my dad back home in Quebec`s eastern townships. I live in Calgary now

    • Hi Rick. You are the second one today that has had a story about these cream separators. A lady over on Hometalk told me when she was young, she hated these things. She was the one who had to clean all the separators, not a job I would want! Hey we are almost neighbors!

      • I never had to clean it but had to be careful cranking the handle because it had a flywheel that had a tendency to want to keep the handle spinning even if you were trying to slow it down ,( sometimes the release on the handle mechanism would get dirty and it wouldn`t release properly.)

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