Introduction: Paper Phoenix Decoration

I designed this bird mobile as a wedding decoration. And it would look lovely as one, particularly at a book themed wedding. But I think it would look great as home decor as well! And of course, you don't have to use book paper, you could use any that you like. Map pages would look great, or patterned paper... whatever you want to use! The tail of it reminds me a little of a phoenix. If I had a damaged Harry Potter book I might use those pages for it, but it wasn't really intended as a phoenix originally, it was just how it turned out!

The main material for this project is a book that you don't mind losing pages from. I know that some people will hate the idea of cutting a book up. I get mine from libraries and charity shops, from unsellable donations that they would otherwise have to pay to dispose of. To me, it is far more respectful to turn a book into a project than to put it in the trash!

You will also need a gluestick or stapler (glue is preferable), a small strip of waste card, and some yarn, thread or twine to hang the decoration with. That's it!

Step 1: Form the Body

Begin by cutting eight strips the length of your book and about one inch wide. Fan them out as shown and secure by gluing or stapling them together at one end. Then gather the strips at the other end, fanned at around the same angle as before, and secure at that end, again by stapling or gluing. This will form the body of your bird.

Step 2: Reinforce the Body

Now, you just need a small strip of card to reinforce the body. Lay the card across the inside of the bird's body to get the length you need. Trim it, then glue it into place. This will just hold the body nicely together. I used pink card because it was all I had to hand, with hindsight it wasn't the best choice. Next time, I would use white or else cover the card in book paper so it can't be noticed - it looks fine once hung up, but just occasionally you catch a glimpse of the pink. Live and learn!

Step 3: Create the Tail

To create the tail, take two sheets of book paper and cut a fan shape as shown. Cut them into a fringe of wide strips, still joined at the narrow end. Roll each frond around a pencil to create the tail feathers. Once you have done this with every frond, glue or staple the two sheets to one end of the body.

Step 4: Make a Head

Now, our bird needs a head. Fold the two corners of the fanned out end of the body up so that they meet. Glue together than cut into a tip.

Glue two sheets of paper together to create a layer that is a little thicker. Fold it over and cut a head shape from both sheet together - it doesn't have to be detailed, just a beak and a bump for the head works fine! Glue either side of the tip you just created to make a head.

Step 5: Wings

Each wing is a single sheet of book paper. Cut a simple wing shape out of two sheets together so that they match. Turn one over so that they point the same way and glue into place, the edge of the wing along the inside edge of the bird's body. If the wings don't hang just as you want them, you can crease them very slightly until they do.

Step 6: Make It Fly!

All that remains is to set your bird up to fly! Use some twine, yarn or other thread (I used metallic thread, which looked lovely but isn't really visible in the photos.

Stitch one end of the yarn to the body just behind the head and the other to where the body and tail overlap. Hang in the place of your choice and enjoy your book paper bird!

If you find that your bird leans to one side, you can attach a little paper to the underside of one wing to re-balance it again. I had to do this - you can just see in the main picture.

Wedding Contest

Participated in the
Wedding Contest

Fandom Contest

Participated in the
Fandom Contest