Monday, February 18, 2008

Dragonfly Mobile - Instructions

Sorry, no photos to post yet... Hubby is stalling on scanning the pictures we had made, so I may just have to go snatch his scanner.

ME Gregory asked for instructions on making the Dragonfly Mobile - so here goes! I’ve drawn a crude diagram of my mobile to help you see more clearly how the pieces go together.

- Wire Cutters
- Needle-nose pliers
- Good sharp scissors (scrapbooking scissors are great for this)
- Fishing line - clear nylon looks best
- Needle with eye big enough to thread with fishing line.
- Cutouts of your favorite animal/insect. These need to be about the size of your palm, but various sizes make it interesting and fun. Just don't get too small. My dragonflies were Wallies (wallpaper cutouts), which I got from Target online, or you can buy many other shapes here:
- 1 Pkg straight florist wire (not the kind on the roll). You can get this from the florist shop of your nearest Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Each piece of wire is around 12" to 15" long - comes in green and silver.
- Very lightweight cardboard. I re-used the thin printed cardboard inserts that come in bed sheet and baby blankets packages.
- Double-stick tape tabs, like you use for scrapbooking

Shape-making Instructions:
1. Cover the back of the animal cutouts liberally with double-stick tape tabs.
2. Stick the cutouts to the cardboard
3. Carefully cut around each animal shape. Then layout your shapes by weight - heavy to light - this will help with balancing.

Mobile Construction Instructions:
I did a lot of this by feel, so you'll have to experiment with lengths, sizes and weights... Your goal is to have each wire weighted on each end with an animal/shape, or more wire, so that it balances when held at the center loop.

Using your wire cutters, cut one florist wire to about 12". Then, using your needle-nose pliers, make a loop in the center of the wire and at each end (fig. A).

Cut another piece of wire to about 6”, make a loop on one end and a hook on the other – looks like a question mark. This will be your hanging hook. Use fishing line to connect these two pieces at the center loop so that your mobile will turn freely (shorter fishing line looks best – 2-3” max).

Now cut 2 pieces of wire to about 8" to 10" and make loops at the center and ends of these pieces (fig. B). Use fishing line to hang each Fig. B wire from the Fig. A wire. Don’t make the line too long, as it won’t look good. If you leave a long-ish tail on your lines you can lengthen the hanging lines at the end during the finishing/balancing process.

String a long piece of fishing wire through your needle.

Insert the needle into the backside of your animal/shape, near the middle. Putting the hole closer to the top keeps your animal's head up. :) Bring the needle back through the shape to the backside. Keep the holes close together, like you would when sewing a button. Tie off one end of the fishing line at your shape's backside.

Pass the needle through the loop on one end of your 8-10" wire and tie it off. Leave a long tail so that you can adjust the height later.

To hang a 2nd shape from the first (as in Fig. D), simply hang the 2nd shape from the loop on the front-side/bottom of the 1st shape. It will look like one long string that way.

Remember, the key to this is balance. So, to balance out a 2-shape string that has 2 heavy shapes on it (like figure D) you can make a smaller 5-7” wire hanger, and hang 2 lighter shapes from it. When they are hung from a Figure B wire they will balance. J

Here's how this looks in real life:

A more complex-looking mobile has hangers like figure C, where one side of the hanger is shorter than the other. To balance it requires that you put a lighter shape/smaller shape on one side and a heavier one on the other. They will balance, and it will look really neat!

Another option is to hang some of the smaller shapes from the middle-loop on one of your hangers (Fig. E).

To Finish!
Once you have tied all of your pieces and hangers together in a shape that seems pleasing you will want to hang the mobile from a doorway to make any needed adjustments. I found that hanging the mobile from a coat hanger gave me a good height for working.

You will then work on lengthening and shortening your fishing wires so that they are spaced to allow the mobile to turn freely. You may need to add shapes to add weight. On mine I added bits of colored curling ribbon to add very small amounts of weight and some color; as well I added bits of curled wire here and there when more weight or interest was needed.

Crude Diagram:


The Rotten Correspondent said...

That is so incredibly cute!

I am such a crafts moron. Sigh.

Stacie said...

I love that mobile--think the boys would mind if I made one for them? :-) I do miss getting to do all the girly stuff...boys start out as BOYS from the very start. I swear they lift their legs to pass gas, just like a teen ager!

ME Gregory said...

Thanks so much for sharing - I'll let you know how mine goes. Congrats on getting to 37 weeks - great job.