Do It Yourself

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Party

Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Party

Pinwheels are a fun and playful addition to any party!  These make such a cute table accent, party favor or just a project for the kids.  You could make these for any themed party.  I chose to print nautical designs for this party.

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyPINWHEEL SUPPLIES:​

For a more premium looking pinwheel, you’ll want to print something different on each side of the paper.  For this design I did navy strips or anchors on one side and sold yellow on the other side.  You can download my full page designs here:

Printable: Blue Anchors on Gold
Printable: White Anchors on Blue
Printable: Blue Anchors on White
Printable: White & Blue Stripes

Printable: Blue Solid
Printable: Gold Solid

You’ll want to print out as many double sided pages on letter sized paper as you’d like to make pinwheels. They can be as large as 8″x8″ or as small as you’d like.

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyDerby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyFirst, you’ll want to trim off any unprinted area on the page. My printer leaves about 1/8″ that is not printable space and needs to be cut off. I prefer to use a rotary cutter and ruler to get a clean line but scissors are also fine.

Once you have only your beautiful printed designs on both sides with no white edges, you’ll want to cut the sheet down to a square.  Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyDerby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Party5″x5″ makes a pretty nice sized pinwheel but you can play around with it.  Any size square will work.  For my party, I made a couple big ones and a couple of smaller ones.  If you go 4″x4″ or smaller you can make two per page.  For those who would rather trace a pattern, Oh Happy Day has a great printable pattern for pinwheels.

If you’re going the more free flow method, once you have your square, you’ll need to make slits to fold the points in.  You’ll start at one corner with the ruler laid flat and have it line up on a diagonal to the other corner so there is a 45 degree angle on either side of the ruler.  I made the cut about .5″ shorter than half a side.  Meaning if I did a 6″x6″ I made the slit about 2.5″ long.  The red lines on the image to the right show where I would cut.

Next you will fold every other point into the center.  So I don’t get confused, I fold in the point to the right of the cut on each corner.  Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyDerby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyAlso, when you fold them in, go a little passed the center mark with the point so you have enough to put the pin through to tack it down.  I found through trial and error it was a bit easier to primp the pin first and the poke it through the 5 layers of paper and then the paper straw.  I also found the pins with the round plastic heads looked a bit better than a traditional pin, though either will do just fine.

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartySDerby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Partyo once all 4 points are folded to the center area and have overlap, poke the pin through all points and the back layer and then through the paper straw.  I trimmed down the end of the pin with my wire cutters and then added a dab of Elmer’s glue to the exposed edge so that once the glue dried, there was a clear protective covering over that part which could be a bit scratchy and could also fall out with use.   If you choose to go with a pencil, you will not need to do the glue or the crimping, you’ll just poke it right into the eraser and cut the end down.  I had paper straws that were perfect for my theme so I decided to do the extra steps.

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Party



You have completed your first pinwheel!  Let the glue dry and you’re ready to use them!

Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for Nautical Themed Party

Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed Party

These paper boats are a really fun touch to a nautical party and they do actually float! With sails, they can be a little less balanced but without sails you could put several in a bowl or bucket and make a game out of it.


You’ll want to start with a decorative piece of paper.  Here are some fun full-page printable nautical patterns that will work great for these boats.  You can do the same design on both sides or switch them up.  There are two half sheets I used for sails and flags.

Printable: Blue Anchors on Gold
Printable: White Anchors on Blue
Printable: Blue Anchors on White
Printable: White & Blue Stripes

Printable: Blue Solid
Printable: Gold Solid

Printable: Blue & Gold Solid
Printable: Gold & White Sails 

Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed PartyTo start, you will make a basic origami paper boat.  They look pretty good made from a sheet of letter sized paper or you can play around with the size and ratios.  Print up one of the full page patterns from the buttons above and then trim off any extra white on the edges.  I prefer to do this with a rotary cutter and a ruler but if you don’t have one you could just use scissors.

This site has a nice diagram of how to fold a boat.  You’ll want to fold a standard origami boat or any kind you’d like!  I did one or two on regular paper first before trying it with my fancier stuff. ​

The next step is the fun part, making the boat your own!  I added one sail and a string of flags to each bigger boat.

Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed PartyTo apply the sail, you’ll need a mast.  Take one of your sewing pins from the last project and poke a hole in the high point of the boat to make a start hole.  Then you can poke the sharp end of the skewer through it.  Then cut the skewer down to your desired length.  I used electrical tape to attach the end to the inside underneath of the boat.

Then you’ll cut out a sail size of your choosing.   Making a bit of an curve to the shape instead of just a triangle makes it look like its sails are filled with wind.  I made a starter hole with a pin on the top and Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed Partybottom of each sail.  then I threaded them threw the skewer doing my best not to stretch the holes out too much so the sail stays tight to it.

Next I made some flags for extra embellishment. First, glue the string down under a flap of the folded boat inside the hull.  Tie off the other under the sail near the top hole.  I added some Elmer’s on that knot so it wouldn’t slide down.  Fold a paper in half and cut out triangles with one side as the fold.  Then you can put a dab of glue inside and fold it over the string.  Play around with flags and sails to make your boat your own.Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed Party


Congratulations, you’re done.  These make great party favors, centerpiece accents or a fun photo shoot proper for a bath or kiddie pool.

Derby Mom 360: Nautical Themed Party

Nautical Themed Party Decor

Pinwheels, Boats & Buntings for a Themed Party

For my son’s first birthday, I wanted to do a themed party.  Nothing too cutesy or baby-ish.  Something for a little boy that was also fun for the adults present.  As a woman who loves almost anything that comes in navy stripes or has an anchor on it, I figured nautical was the way to go!

Here are some quick and easy how-to’s in order to host your own nautical themed party whether it be for a birthday or a just a festive summer BBQ.  Each tutorial has nautical themed printables so you’ll need very minimal supplies and design skills to make any of these projects.  Click on the pictures below to get started!

Paper Boats
Paper Boats: Sails & Flags
Pinwheels: Stripes, Anchors & Solids
Bunting: 12 Different Flag Patterns
Cake Topper
Cake Topper: Miniature Bunting
Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates & DIY Plate Mounting. Make Your Own Roller Skates!

Baby Skates

For my son’s first birthday I wanted to present him with a pair of roller skates.  Not some junky clip-on skates that would cost me $50 and be trash in a mere 6 months.  I wanted him to have proper roller skates.  Since there isn’t much on the market that comes in infant size 4 I decided I’d build them out myself.

Here I will share with you how I built my baby skates and what you need to build your own.  This could also be applied to a grown person’s skates as well.  The only difference is that you often “speed” mount a plate instead of the even middle alignment I did on these skates.  For a grown person, the ball of the foot over the front axle is more important.  For this baby rig, we will be skipping over all of that.

EQUIPMENT LIST:​Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mounting



First you begin with your pair of shoes.  I got a pair of black Levi canvas sneakers that I bought at Ross for about $10.  I went with an infant size 6 for two reasons.  My son, Moses, wears a size 4 now and I don’t want him to instantly grow out of them.  Also the tiniest plate that I could find is only manufactured down to a size 7. If I went with a smaller shoe, the plate would hang over the end.  This size 6 fit perfectly end to end without any plate hanging over.​

The plate I ordered is a Sure Grip Nova Junior.  It was the very smallest plate I could find, going down to toddler size 7.  Warning:  This plate is NOT cheap.  The amazing thing about this project is that you will be able to reuse everything but the shoe for his next skate so your kid can size up their shoe several times before needing a new plate.  So the first time you build these they are a bit pricey but every set afterwards is almost free until you need to size up your plate again. The Sure Grip Nova Junior from DerbySupply.Net is $94.  While you’re already putting in an order, this is also a great place to get the plate mounting hardware you’ll need.  When you order from this shop they give you twice as much mounting hardware as you need for this project since you really only need 8 nuts & 8 bolts for this plate, which means the next time you mount these when you size up you’ll have another set to use for free.

Now we must prep the shoe. Remove the laces and insole.  Often the insole is glued in so you will have Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingto carefully pry it off.  You’ll want the insert intact if possible so you can replace it after the mounting is complete.

The next step is to strip the plate down of all its removable parts except the king pins if it came full assembled.  Meaning remove the actions nuts, trucks and bushings and leave the king pins and pivot cups.   This will get those parts out of the way for marking up your dill holes and the bolts when mounting.  Some plates come with all of the parts unassembled and bagged separately.  My Nova Junior parts from DerbySupply.Net came unattached.  If that is the case for your plate, you can skip this step.

Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingNow you will want to line up your plate with the footprint of the shoe.  For me, I was working with a infant size 6 shoe and a size 7 plate so the plate goes exactly end to end on my shoe.  Normally the plate would be smaller than the shoe.  If you have more appropriately sized plates, you would want to line up the front axle under the ball of the foot.  If your plate is too long and it hangs off the back of the heal, cheat it forward until it is all covered by shoe.

Here is a look at my plates lined up on the sole of my shoe.  You can see it goes right to the edge and is aligned in the middle of the shoe.  If the plates were smaller I would pay more attention to where the ball of the foot is located but since the plates are quite large for this tiny shoe, I’m going to skip that step.


After aligning the plate as you like, mark where you’ll drill the holes for the mounting bolts.  There are 4 open holes on the plate, two in front and two in the back.  Since the holes are quite small, I was not able to fit my silver sharpie through them to mark on the black soles. I used sewing pins to mark the spots.  I just pushed them in pretty deep right in the middle of each hole.  Then when I removed the plate again I was left with 4 pins sticking out of the shoe and marked them each with silver marker before pulling the pins out.

Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingDerby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingDerby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingNow it’s time to get out your drill.  In order to find the right size bit for your mounting hardware, line up the end of the bolt with the end of the drill bit.  The bit should either be exactly the same size or slightly smaller.  The rubber soles on these shoes gave me some wiggle room to stretch the hole a little.

You will want to drill a hole all the way through for every one of the 4 holes on each shoe.  I drilled from the bottom but for some holes, the drill bit wouldn’t push all through.  For those, I drilled from the inside as well.  For the holes I had trouble with, I put my sewing pin back in the hole and pushed it all the way through to the inside of the shoe, marking that with a silver dot as well so I know I’ll have a straight hole front inside to out.  Then I removed the pin and drilled from the interior of the shoe.

You’ll want to be careful drilling the two holes closer to the toe of the shoe.  Depending on the model, you can go from drilling through the sole to straight through the whole shoe very quickly.  You can stuff the shoe with a barrier if you want to be extra careful.


Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingDerby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingOnce you have the holes drilled all the way through on both shoes it’s time to insert the mounting hardware.  The packet I bought from DerbySupply.Net came with enough hardware to actually mount two sets.  There were 8 short and 8 long bolts.  I just the 8 short for this skate.  The long are for shoes like figure boots that have a large heel that you are mounting.  Place one bolt through each hole with the flat head press inside the shoe.  Next you’ll take your plate and line up the holes on it with the bolts sticking out.   Place each bolt just slightly in the holes.

Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingIf every hole is not drilled perfectly (and trust me, they won’t be!), this is where the rubber sole really helps you out.  You’ll want to keep pushing the plate in a little at a time by each bolt until it slowly works its way closer to the sole.  Do not push one bolt all the way through or you will have a lot of trouble getting the rest to line up.  The rubber sole will make it so you can move the bolts around a little to get them lined up well.

Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingNow that your plate is affixed to your  shoe.  It’s time to more permanently affix it.  Your mounting hardware will come with lock nuts.  Screw them on by hand first.  Then tighten them all the way up with a screwdriver on the inside in the bolt head and a small crescent wrench on the outside.  I believe this one is a 3/8 from a set I found in my garage.   You can also use the wrench to hold the nut in one place and screw from the inside with a screwdriver or drill.  If using a drill, be sure it is set to a very low resistance.  The shoe is made of rubber instead of leather like a skate boot, you can over tighten and start to pull through the inside of the shoe bed.  So it should seem very snug but if you see the head of the bolt going way into the shoe, you’re probably tight enough.​


After all nuts are on each bolt tightly, you’ll need to cut down the bolt.  There is a tool called a Bolt Break-off Tool thatDerby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mounting Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mountingkind of looks a metal straw but I couldn’t seem to find one so I bought a Mini Hack saw for $9 at Home Depot and went that route.  I sawed the bolt until it was just past halfway and then used pliers to snap it off.  It doesn’t matter too much if the edge is not perfect.  Just do your best to make it fairly close to the nut but not right against it.  I sawed them off about two threads above it and that worked pretty well.

Once you have sawed down and snapped off all your bolts, you’re done with the hard part!

CUSHION CUPS, BUSHINGS, TRUCKS & ACTION NUTSDerby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mounting

On each kingpin you’ll put on metal cushion cup with the flat part face down, one bushing, one truck with the tip of the pivot point placed snugly in the pivot cup, one bushing, then one cushion cup with the flat portion face up and then tighten it all down with an action nut.  You’ll want it tightened down pretty snuggly but when you lean on a truck with some weight, you should be able to make them move a little bit but not a ton.  That’s the “action” and for these baby skates you’ll want very little of it if any at all.

WHEELS & YOU’RE DONE!Derby Mom 360: Baby Skates and DIY plate mounting

Once you’re put all the parts on all 4 kingpins, it’s time to add the wheels.  Two bearings goes in each
wheel, one on each side of the hole, and then you’ll tighten them down with the axle nut.  On these baby skates, I would recommend starting them them tightened all the way down so they won’t really spin, but do your best not to dent the bearing shields.  Then as your kiddo gets more comfortable walking around on their skates, you can slowly loosen the axle nut more and more until they are actually skating.


Make sure you tune up roller skates like these regularly to be sure they are always safe for your kiddo.  A basic inspection of the axle and action nuts along with the bolt in the toe stop will do just fine.  I choose to tighten my son’s wheels down so that they really wouldn’t roll at first and have very slowly loosen them up.

Here is a slideshow of my son, Moses, receiving these roller skates for his first birthday along with a video from about 18 months when Moses started gained a bit more confidence.   We have a ways to go with his “training” but it’s a start.