How to Make a Paper Mobile

A DIY tutorial on how to make a fun paper mobile.

The cherry on top of an all out decorated nursery is, drumroll, … a diaper genie. Just kidding, a mobile of course!  Honestly, it was the last thing on my mind when designing everything for the art themed nursery, but considering there was already art on the walls, floor, and shelves, the ceiling was screaming for something too.

Traditionally, nursery mobiles are hung above the crib so that the baby is entertained and stimulated whilst laying down.  I used that as inspiration while constructing this floating piece of art, wanting to use a variety of shapes and colors to peer at from all angles, but especially when looking up.

Looking up!

A mobile is a kinetic sculpture, and one of the most famous kinetic sculptors was Alexander Calder.  He created abstract shapes out of metal, attached them to rods with wire, and powered them with a motor to create movement. Later on, he would create mobiles without the motor to allow for more natural movement from the air and touch.

The technique used to create this paper mobile will be similar to Calder’s, but a lot simpler. So let’s get started!

What you’ll need:

  • Metal or Plastic ring/hoop between 5-7 inch diameter
  • Construction paper
  • Yarn
  • Sewing Needle & Thread
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Crochet needle for fancy single stitching.

Instructions:

1.  Take about 6 feet of yarn, tie a knot for a starting point on the hoop, and wrap the yarn around the entirety of the hoop knotting it off at the end, and cut off excess yarn.

2. Create an intersection within the hoop using two pieces of yarn that are about 3 inches longer than your hoop diameter, knotting each of them at 4 points on the hoop equally distanced apart.

3. Knot a long yarn (or single stitched crochet yarn) to the intersection, and that can be used for hanging the mobile when complete.

4. Create a circle, triangle, and square stencil (about 2 inches each) with a piece of construction paper, and use those to make and cut about 100-125 more shapes from the construction paper.

5. Knot a long piece of thread onto the hoop (or sew into the yarn on the hoop) maybe about 1.5 feet long.

6. Thread the needle with the thread that has been tied onto the hoop.

7.  Take a paper shape, and push the the needle through the center of the shape.  Push the shape up the thread to about an inch from the hoop. Tie a double or triple knot in the thread below the shape so that it won’t fall off the string.

8. Continue threading the paper shapes onto the thread, placing them about 2 inches apart from the each other, and double or triple knotting the thread below each shape.

9. Repeat steps 5-8, until you have 8 strings of shapes all around the hoop.

10. Add another string of shapes to the cross section of the yarns in the center of the hoop.  It’s ready to hang!

As delicate as this paper mobile may look, it has lasted 2.5 years so far (as of this post date,) gone through 2 moves, and has been pulled on by a toddler- losing only one string in the tug-of-war.  It’s a fun pop of color that brightens up the room, and still a pivotal piece I look up to when exhausted and sprawled out on the floor.

 

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