How To Make a Kinetic Mobile

Today was the last day of school for the boys.

Over the past week, I helped them make mobiles, as thank you gifts for their teachers.

I love the expression on Conrad’s face.

Before I could help them make mobiles, I had to learn how to make one myself.

A google search turned up this video from OliARt over at Bigredhat.com. Oli and her brothers do some really cool stuff.  You should definitely check these kids out.  They are having amazing adventures.

Thanks to adorable Oli I could now show the boys how to make a mobile.

Here’s what we did.

First we soaked wooden dowels over night and slid them in chair slats to make them curve.

After they were dry, the boys got to have their first lesson with a dremel, and they drilled holes.

They got 5 dowels each and drilled a hole 1/4″  away from the edge on 4 dowels and another hole about 4″ in on all 5 of the dowels.

I know they look ticked off, but they’re really very focussed.  I assure you they’re having fun.  I mean who doesn’t love power tools?!

We used an extra Scrabble game lid to protect the table from the dremel.  It was perfect because the drill would go through it, but wasn’t long enough to come in contact with the table.

After the holes were all drilled, I painted the dowels with white spray paint.

Because we were in a bit of a time crunch (can you say procrastination?), I assembled the mobiles.  The boys want to make mobiles for their rooms now.  When they make those, they’ll do the assembling.

Here’s what I used to assemble them.

I snipped of 2″ bits of wire and created 9 total loops, per mobile, like this:

For each mobile I made 4 loops without a swivel and 5 loops with a swivel, making sure to have the latch end dangle down.

Then I poked them through the drilled holes, careful that they were facing the right direction-meaning I wanted the loops without swivels to be pointing up, on the top of the curve, toward the middle of the dowel, and the loops with swivels to be facing down, on the underside of the cure, at the end of the dowel.

I wrapped the wire around the dowel like so.

They should look like this except this one I forgot to add the swivel on the left loop and had to take it apart  to add it.

The top dowel needs something to hang it from so I used a key ring attached to a swivel.

Then I lined them up and connected them.

I hope my instructions aren’t too confusing.  If you have question, email me and I will do my best to help.

After I had them all assembled I brought them in the house and hung them from  some open shelves we have.  I used temporary 3M hooks, which were a brilliant invention by the way.

We did this part inside because the clay needs to dry slowly (so it won’t crack) and with the 100+ temperature outside they would have dried too quickly.

Starting from the bottom, working their way up, they each put clay on the ends until they balanced.  This was a fun physics lesson for them.  They had to add and subtract clay depending on how the dowel balanced.

After they had them balanced, they took one piece of clay off at a time, rolled them into nice ball shapes and put them back on.

Then, with two largish leaves, they pressed the balls flat, creating leaf impressions.

We let them hang overnight to dry.

After they dried, I checked each piece of clay to make sure they were still secure to the dowels.  For the ones that weren’t, I glued them in place.

Then it was time to paint.

I mixed up a rainbows worth of colors and taped the dowels around the clay, with painters tape.

I pulled them out of the pool to paint, hence the lack of shirts and willy-nilly hair.

Each color of paint had it’s own paintbrush, so the colors wouldn’t get mixed.

It was so hot outside, the paint dried almost instantly.

I think they turned out great. They were definitely a big hit with their teachers.

4 Comments

Filed under Feeling Fartsy, Let's make things pretty., Rodents aka kids, With Gratitude

4 responses to “How To Make a Kinetic Mobile

  1. Ma

    What a great project for any family. I love how the boys expressions go from total concentration to pure joy in the pride of their finished art! 🙂

  2. They worked really hard on them. They were fun, but I am going to let some time pass before we tackle such a big project again.

  3. What a wonderful web-site!!!
    It is truly inspiring!

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