Making a Mobile

A few months ago I was playing around with paint quite a bit and using a lot of palette paper.  You’re probably familiar with it.  It’s sorta waxy, so it can handle a lot of moisture.

Often, the paint dried in interesting ways, so I decided to save the papers.  (Yep, I did it again: saved something I had no idea how I’d ever use.)

This week I had some down time, so I cut out the paint blobs.

Making a mobile with paint blobs. Ellen Lindner,

See what I mean about them being interesting?

Making a mobile with paint blobs. Ellen Lindner,

I thought maybe I could make them into a mobile.  All white or with color?  I decided on a mixture.

At some point I had heard that you should build a mobile from the bottom up and that was good advice. I used button twist (heavy thread) and started knotting and threading shapes on. I let the bottom shapes dangle, but I wanted the others to hang semi parallel to the floor.  With that in mind I tried to puncture each piece at the center of gravity.  (One of my aviation terms, simply meaning balance point.)  This sometimes took more than one try.

Making a mobile with paint blobs. Ellen Lindner,

After adding a piece, I’d make a small knot a little ways down the thread an add the next shape.  I kept the colorful side facing down, since I knew it would be viewed from below.  ( I did a lot of lifting to look up at my progress.)

I used short pieces of plastic straws as my cross structures, again finding the center of gravity for each one before adding it to item above.

Making a mobile with paint blobs. Ellen Lindner,

I think it turned out pretty cool.

Making a mobile with paint blobs. Ellen Lindner,

One thing I didn’t anticipate was the mobile moving.  And that’s the best part!  It’s sorta like visual wind chimes.  (Only better.)

What experimenting have you tried lately?

Ellen Lindner


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8 Responses to Making a Mobile

  1. Cindy November 15, 2017 at 5:35 am #

    I bet this is lovely floating in your room filled with quilt pieces. Like a desconstructed quilt floating apart. Neat idea.

    • Ellen Lindner November 15, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

      Yes, Cindy, it’s neat. I’m liking it.

  2. Ingrid Bischoff November 15, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    No experiments here but enjoy watching yours! I love your mobile…my mind would never have thought of that…have a nice Thanksgiving

    • Ellen Lindner November 15, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

      Thanks, Ingrid. It was fun to do. It was the result of me FINALLY finishing my latest quilt and slowing WAY down in order to sort through all the stuff that had accumulated on my design wall and work table while I had been feverishly working. The palette paper pages were pinned to my design wall…and the rest is history!

  3. Wendy Hill November 15, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    My mother-in-law started saving everything- bits of paper, rubber bands, twisty ties and….lipstick covers/caps. The caps are patterned metal. I have dozens. On the back burner is the idea of making a mobile with the caps. I did not know about starting from the bottom up, so this is a little baby step towards making the mobile! Thanks!

    • Ellen Lindner November 15, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

      That sounds like a great project, Wendy! And starting from the bottom definitely helps.

  4. Kristin F November 17, 2017 at 9:21 am #

    I love your mobile! Thanks for explaining how you did it. I was wondering what you had used to make it. It seems like it would be hard the find the center of gravity. I would love to try and make one like this!

    I hope you show a photo of your finished ‘brothers’ quilt.

    I have not done any experimenting for quite some time because my sewing room is still not finished. After a 10 day delay in laying a new floor, it should be completed today. First they ran out of planks, then they didn’t have enough trim. Anyway, it’s been a long process. Looking forward to setting up my new studio.

    • Ellen Lindner November 17, 2017 at 9:53 am #

      Hi Kristin,

      How exciting that you’re getting a new studio! That’s wonderful, but I’m sure the delay is less than welcome.

      I finally got my brothers quilt photographed and will post about it very soon. It took me much longer than anticipated and I’m enjoying some play after completing it.

      The mobile was fun and easy. I didn’t stress too much about the center of gravity. As you’ll see most of the pieces still tilt somewhat. One tip: once the mobile was hung and moving, some of the hanging parts slid along the straw throwing it off balance. It would have been better if I had secured them through the straw, rather than just around it.

      I’d love to see photos of your new studio and your mobile, if you make one.

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