A really complicated description of a simple project

Before Freja was born, I had this (admittedly crazy) idea that, upon the arrival of a new baby, I would swap out Bebop’s mobile for something else and use the mobile for the baby. Because mobiles are for babies, right?

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(Bebop had the best little baby room!)

I realized the flaw in my fantasy pretty soon after Freja was born, when just moving the mobile from over Bebop’s bed to over the changing table during a diaper change was enough to elicit total panic from Bebop that her mobile would not be back over her bed by night night time.

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I used to let Freja hang out on Bebop’s bed under the mobile, and her face would light up like she had won the milk lottery. Of course, would just feel guilty that my poor second baby did not have a mobile of her own. I don’t let Freja hang out there anymore because she learned how to dive head-first right off the edge. Ask me how I know.

Fast forward 8+ months (whoops!), and I decided it really was time to get on the old mobile-making horse. [Sidenote: The only reason I made Bebop’s mobile in the first place was because the Etsy shop from which one of my good friends had initially ordered a gorgeous confetti mobile unexpectedly closed despite several outstanding orders. Rather than find one from another shop, I decided I might as well just make it myself.]

Conveniently, I had to make a trip to Home Depot for primer, so I stopped by the sample paint chips while I was in the paint section. I still had a bunch of chips at home left over from various painting projects over the years, but I wanted to get a few more colors to help Freja’s mobile match her personality.

Apparently, using free paint chip samples for crafts is a controversial topic, so you could just as easily use construction paper or card stock if you are morally opposed. For me, there’s something about free samples that rainbow wall of ALL THE COLORS at the hardware store that is so inspiring … plus, at least in this case, the paint chips are the perfect size for a confetti mobile, to the point that the mobile basically makes itself.

Anyway, I put all my chips together at home and arranged them in color groupings on the dining room table in front of Freja (she’s clearly SO interested) so we could see our options.

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The high chair got old pretty quickly. With Freja on my back, I cut out the separate color shades and did my best to arrange all the pieces in pairs of similar colors and sizes. The strands of the mobile will spin as the mobile turns, so the pairs ensure that each strand will have a colorful front and back.

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I decided 10 strands seemed like a good amount, so I arranged the pairs of chips from largest to smallest and then played with the color arrangements within each size. With Bebop’s mobile, I had tried to keep similar color families on each vertical strand. For variety’s sake with Freja’s mobile, I decided to mix the colors on the vertical strands but keep the same sequence of colors repeating: purple/grey, teal, orange, pink. The quantity I had of each color really dictated the final outcome, but it was helpful to have a general pattern framework to guide me.

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Once I was happy with the color arrangement (enough coordination without being too matchy-matchy), I held each pair with correct sides facing out and cut rounded corners to make it as circular as possible. I did not put energy into making each circle perfect or anything; I was just going for roundness.

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Once the circles were cut and paired, I took the top circles off each strand, swirled glue on the bottom circles, stuck a long piece of embroidery thread down the middle of each strand, and placed the top circles back on. I brought out all my heavy books and placed them on top of the strands to avoid them puckering as they dried.

Meanwhile, I got to work on the frame of my mobile, which consisted of the inner rings of two wooden embroidery hoops (one large and one small) and a segment of balsa wood (so soft that I could cut it to size with scissors) to connect them, all purchased for under $5 at a local craft store. I centered the small ring within the large ring using my super accurate eyeballing skills and hot glued the balsa down the middle of both to keep them in place.

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I criss-crossed two pieces of embroidery thread under the rings and tied them in a knot at the top, again eyeballing the levelness of the whole operation. I attached them to a mobile music box (I actually had this one already, but you can buy them for super cheap on Amazon) and hung it from a plant hanger for the rest of the project.

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Once the frame seemed level enough to me, I used a dot of hot glue to secure each of those four strings to the outer wooden ring in order to prevent slipping and sliding.

Next, I tied the confetti strands to the rings (6 on the outer ring and 4 on the inner ring) in the arrangement that I thought would work best. I tried to place each strand with one directly opposite it to balance the weight and keep the mobile level.

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Once I was happy with the arrangement, I made sure each strand was knotted tightly and cut off the excess thread. I considered using a dot of hot glue on each knot to keep them in place (I think I did that on Bebop’s mobile) but ultimately decided it seemed secure enough as it was.

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I left the mobile over the changing table at first because Freja’s crib was still in our room, and the changing table suddenly became a super fun place rather than a torture chamber reserved for ear-splitting screaming.

When we moved the crib into Freja’s new room, I brought the mobile along (obviously).

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Wish I could say the mobile has made nap times super fun (it has not), but it sure looks pretty. I almost can’t wait to get Bebop’s bed and mobile in here to see the final effect. Mostly, I am just scared about what new kinds of sleep drama are lurking around the corner …

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