Making mobiles and wind chimes is a very popular pastime and a perfect idea for spending time with children and encouraging them to use their creative talents. This funky pink elephant mobile would fit perfectly in any bedroom.
The mobile as we know it today was invented by an American sculptor called Alexander Calder in the 1930s and 1940s. Calder made huge mobiles which can be seen in art galleries today. The principle of allowing air and wind to move hanging objects is a very simple one. The objects can be made from any material, such as metal, fabric, wood or paper. The heavier the objects the more sturdy the frame will need to be. These objects are then suspended from a wire frame which allows them to move freely in a breeze or with the air currents inside. As we walk past we create enough of a wind current that will make it move.
Making a Mobile
Mobiles are easy to make at home with just a few basic essentials. Firstly, you will need wire for the frame – this could be a coat hanger if you are going to hang heavy items or coloured metallic wire of about 20gauge if you are hanging paper or light fabric. You will also need strong cotton, embroidery thread or thin fishing wire to hang the items. Don’t forget scissors, glue, thin card, felt pens and some embellishments.
Here, a family of pink paper elephants is made for a mobile that would brighten up a nursery or a children’s room. First cut out your chosen shape, which are elephants in this case, from strong card.
Then decorate and embellish your shapes. Here the elephants’ feet are coloured in with pens, and then wiggly eyes, ears and tusks are glued on. Don’t forget to decorate both sides!
The next step is to attach a length of cotton or thin wire to each animal with adhesive or sticky tape. For a more professional finish you can use a needle to take the thread through the card, instead of gluing it. Knot the thread when it has passed through the card, to stop it coming out again.
Lastly make a wire frame from three lengths of wire. For the two cross wires you will need one long length and one shorter length of wire. Make a loop in each end for the thread or alternatively you can tape the thread to the wire. Then take a third piece of wire and twist it in a loop to secure one cross piece of wire and then the other piece. Use pliers to make it a tight twist. Hang your elephants or animals from the wires.
Always supervise children with scissors and glue.
A wind chime is often made from hollow tubes of metal or wood of differing lengths. These are then strung on wire or thread so they hang freely, and do not touch each other. When there is no wind they do not make a noise because they do not touch but with even a slight breeze the tubes will knock in to each other making a noise – hopefully a pleasant and relaxing sound! Because each tube is a different length then when they knock together they should make a tune.
When making a wind chime think about the sound you want to make – a tinkling sound or a woody rattle. Remember it should be soothing so try not to get too much clanging.