Instructables

How to Create a Calder'esque Mobile

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.



Warnings
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.)
 
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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.
hammer98765 years ago
Thank you for this information. I would love to create one of these with rainbow painted weights. I never figured it basics out though. Thanks again.
margey325 years ago
lovely!!! Right up my street. I need to remember the tools that allow us all to create beauty. Thank you I believe.. my next idea has developed some real strong legs. Just need to gain some inexpensive materials. Keep going your good.
robynky6 years ago
I love this type of moving art. You did a wonderful job with it. I am working on this same type of mobile, only I am using hand painted gourds in place of wood. I am still trying to find the perfect metal wire to use. I have been using a tourch to heat metal insulation supports(15.5" long steel), in order to bend them into the hooks and loops. Then I have to deal with the dirty burn left on the wire:(
bloodymess7 years ago
very nice, I'll have to try this one.
morgenlandfahrer (author) 7 years ago
Glad you like it. I hung it above a spiral staircase and it nicely mirrors the steps in an abstract artistic kind of way.
Very pretty outcome
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