The sculptor Alexander Calder said "To most people who look at a mobile, it's no more than a series of flat objects that move. To a few, though, it may be poetry." Here are some instructions to make your own small version of this spatial poetry.
Before you start, collect as many ideas about existing mobiles as possible. Searching the internet for "Calder mobiles" is a good way to begin. Calder was an important modern artist who made this type of mobile popular. Several modern art museums exhibit some of his mobiles.
To make the mobiles more complex, you can vary the shape and size of the wood pieces, the side to which you attach one arm to the next, the curvature of the wire, and by hanging the mobile or allowing it to stand on its own.
Exercise proper safety precautions when using workshop and power equipment.
Things You'll Need:
- Needle-nose pliers
- Wire (hardware stores sell 200ft rolls of galvanized wire)
- Sheet of 1/2" ply wood for the weights or shapes at the end of the wires
- Drill and bit (same diameter as the wire)
- Clamp to hold the wood pieces when drilling
- Jig saw to cut out the wood pieces.
(I've originally posted this 'how-to' on wikiHow.)
Step 1: Mobile Weights
Cut out the wood pieces using a jig saw or chop saw. For a first mobile, it is good to start with simple square wood pieces measured 2" x 3". Cut out 9 pieces. For advanced mobiles, you can come up with all kinds of varied shapes.
Step 2: Mobile Weights
Clamp one piece at a time to the work bench and drill a 1" hole into the edge.
Step 3: Mobile Tool
With the needle nose pliers, cut off a 15" strand of wire and straighten it.
Step 4: Mobile Tool
Make a small U-shaped hook at the end.
Step 5: Mobile Tool
To train yourself in making loops in the wire, and to use as a template for the following wires, make loops in the wire strand every 1", so that you end up with 12 loops. We'll call this piece the mobile tool.