DIY Mixed Material Mobiles

Mobiles are one of my very favorite projects to work on. They can be wonderful, whimsical ways to showcase a collection, a favorite material, or they can represent ideas all on their own. Unfortunately, none of my mobiles survived our big move a couple of months ago. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your creations fall apart! I was able to save some of the materials, though, so I thought I’d start a new mobile today and bring you along with me!

thechroniccreative_mixedmaterialmobile

Thanks to the Listers Gotta List prompts this month which inspired this post!

First, what the heck is a “mixed material” mobile? That’s another term I’ve made up simply to describe what the mobile will require. Beads, gems, paper, wire – all these things have different weights, and depending upon their placement, can tip your mobile. I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks, as well as some drool worthy mobiles for inspiration at the end, so keep reading!

The first step is gathering materials. For this specific mobile I used:

  • thread
  • La Croix cardboard box
  • paper cut outs
  • beads
  • faux pearls
  • one medium sized fishing line weight

The cardboard box is lightweight enough to enable the mobile to spin, but, stable enough to hold all the different lines in place. It’s my material of choice for the mobile “base.” After cutting out a circle from the box, I thread a needle up through the middle of the circle and back down to form a loop from which to hang the mobile.

At this point, I set the circle off to the side and start on the individual lines. If you have a place to hang your mobile, it’s wise to get a feel for how long your longest thread can be. I cut four or five different lengths of thread to avoid any one line being the same length. That can lead to lots of tangles and mess. I thread my different materials onto each thread, tieing knots as I go to hold beads or small gems in place.

When I have about three or four threads finished, I thread the lines up through the cardboard. Try to space them out about an inch apart. Since my mobile will be hanging inside, I try to leave one side a tiny bit heavier than the others; this shifts the mobiles center of gravity and helps ensure a nice spin. If you have smaller items, you can start threading those lines in between your four main lines.

Tips

And that, ladies and craterfolk, is how I make mobiles. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t tips I’ve learned in the past. For example, why the heck would you need a fishing line weight?! If your materials are light, like paper, but you still want an irregular spin, fishing weights can be sewn onto the top of your mobile as an invisible fix. Craft wire, also, can be a helpful material to have around. I use the wire to form structured loops for the base; simply poke either end of a piece of wire through to the bottom of your cardboard, fold them down, and voila! Is there a magic tool or trick you use in your crafting? I’d love to hear about it!

Inspiration

I’ve made an altered book mobile that hangs in my department, as well as a himmeli mobile. All of these ideas are definitely must-try projects!

01.altered book mobile  02. branch mobile 03.ribbon mobile 04.himmeli mobile


I’m curious: what’s one craft or skill you’ve always wanted to learn, but never have mastered? I can’t knit or crochet, but I’ve tried so many times! Maybe thats why I do so much with paper? Share your stories in the comments!

Happy Wednesday, all!

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