Intro: Crocheted Elephant Mobile
This mobile was designed for a dear friend's newborn baby. With some creative guidance from the mother-to-be, I kept my design simple and decided to stick with one color of yarn and one crocheted animal. Any crocheted animal or object in any color (or variety of colors) would work great.
The elephants hang from a delicate cotton thread allowing them to spin and move freely with a delicate touch. This mobile is great for boys or girls, a baby shower gift, and nursery decor. Once your baby outgrows the mobile, you can remove the elephants and use them as soft toys!
Step 1: Supplies
Supplies For Elephants:
Elephant Pattern from "Vanna's Choice - Easy Crochet Critters"
1 Skein 100% Acrylic Worsted Weight Yarn (White, approx. 150 yards)
Size F Crochet Hook
Stitch Marker (I used a bobby pin)
Plastic Large-Eyed Needle
8 Plastic Shank Back Animal Eyes (Black, 6mm)
Fiberfill Polyester Stuffing
Supplies For Mobile:
4 Wood Dowels (5/16" diameter)
1 Wood Cube (1.5" X 1.5" X 1.5")
Tiny Eye Hook
100% Cotton Crochet Thread (White)
5/16" Drill Bit
3/32" Drill Bit (this bit size is for the eye hook hole, which could vary depending on the size eye hook you buy)
Sandpaper (600 Grit)
There is a lot of room for variation in the mobile. The exact wood dowels and cube don't need to be used, you could go bigger or smaller. Just remember if you get different sized dowels you will need a drill bit that corresponds to the same size dowels you buy.
Step 2: Crocheting the Elephants
The mobile is designed to hang four elephants. I used an elephant pattern found in "Vanna's Choice - Easy Crochet Critters". The pattern is fairly simple, but each elephant from start to finish took a bit of time. Of course this will all depend on your ability to crochet and read patterns. This part of of the mobile is where you have a lot of creative freedom to choose the animal/pattern/color/size/etc of your choice. I opted for small to medium elephants, with the idea that after the baby is a bit older you could take apart the mobile and use the elephants as toys.
I used 100% Acrylic worsted weight yarn and crocheted the elephants with a size F crochet hook. There are many options out there for animal eyes, but I used 6mm Shank Back Animal Eyes (Black). These eyes you have to attach before you finish and stuff the elephant. Assembling elephants I used a plastic large-eyed needle to sew the legs, ears and tail on. Many patterns call for a stitch marker, which you can buy at most craft stores (or wherever you buy your yarn). However, I just use a bobby pin because I have plenty of them and they work perfectly.
Elephant Pattern: Make 4
st = stitch
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch
ch = chain
sc2tog = single crochet decrease
hdc = half double crochet
Head and Body:
Starting at the end of the body, Ch 2.
Round 1: Work 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook. Place marker (in my case a bobby pin) in the 6th sc, marking the beginning of the next round. Move the marker up as each round is completed.
Round 2: 2 sc in each st around (12 sts)
Round 3: (2 sc in next st, sc in next st) Repeat 6 times (18 sts)
Round 4: (2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts) Repeat 6 times (24 sts)
Rounds 5 - 15: Sc in each st around (24 sts)
Round 16: 2 sc in each of next 6 std, sc in last 18 sts (30 sts)
Round 17: (2 sc in next st, sc in next st) Repeat 6 times, sc in last 18 sts (36 sts)
Round 18: (2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts) Repeat 6 times, sc in last 18 sts (42 sts)
Round 19: Sc in each st around (42 sts)
Round 20: Sc in next 24 sts, (sc2tog, sc in next 4 sts) Repeat 3 times (39 sts)
Round 21: Sc in next 24 sts, (sc2tog, sc in next 3 sts) Repeat 3 times (36 sts)
Round 22: Sc in next 24 sts, (sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts) Repeat 3 times (33 sts)
Round 23: Sc in next 24 sts, (sc2tog, sc in next st) Repeat 3 times (30 sts)
Round 24: Sc in next 24 sts, (sc2tog) Repeat 3 times (27 sts)
Round 25: (Sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts) Repeat 6 times, 2 sc in each of next 3 sts (24 sts)
Round 26: (Sc2tog, sc in next st) Repeat 6 times, sc in last 6 sts (18 sts)
Following the package instructions, attach the eyes. You have the freedom to attach them wherever you like, but I tried to attach them slightly higher than the horizontal midline of the face, around Round 22 or 23. You can also crochet small circles for eyes, use buttons, etc. After attaching the eyes begin stuffing the elephant body. I used Fiberfill Polyester Animal Stuffing, which was easy to find and easy to use. After this the trunk starts to take shape and it is harder to stuff, so make sure you add stuffing as you go. I added stuffing about every two rounds. Using the end of a pencil or crochet hook helps to stuff the trunk because it is so skinny. The more stuffing you use, the stiffer the elephants will be. Its important that they have enough filling to hold their shape, but if you do too much (in the trunk for example) the trunk won't have as much flexibility to take on different shapes.
Round 27: (Sc2tog) Repeat 6 times, sc in last 6 sts (12 sts)
Round 28: (Sc2tog) sc in next 2 sts (9 sts)
Rounds 29 - 36: Sc in each st around (9 sts)
Round 37: Sc2tog, sc in last 7 sts (8 sts)
Round 38: Sc2tog, sc in last 6 sts (7 sts)
Round 39: Sc2tog, sc in last 5 sts, Fasten off (6 sts).
Ears: Make 2 Per Elephant
Rounds 1 and 2: Work rounds 1 and 2 of head and body
Round 3: (2 sc in next st, sc in next st) Repeat 5 times, 2 hdc in next st, hdc in last st (18 sts)
Round 4: (2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts) Repeat 5 times, 2 hdc in next st, hdc in each of last 2 sts, Fasten off (24 sts)
Legs: Make 4 Per Elephant
Rounds 1 and 2: Work rounds 1 and 2 of head and body
Rounds 3 - 9: Sc in each st around. Fasten off (12 sts)
After crocheting the legs, stuff them.
Row 1: Sl st in 4th ch from hook, ch 3, sl st in same ch, ch 3, sl st in same ch. Fasten off.
To assemble the elephant I used a plastic large hook needle. First, sew the ears to the side of the elephant's head. The placement is up to you, but I centered the ears behind the eyes. Then, sew the stuffed legs to the bottom of the elephant. I tried to space the legs out evenly so the elephant would be able to stand up. Lastly, sew the tail to the end of the body. As you finishing tying off all of the body parts, hide the ends of the yarn in the elephant body.
You may notice the elephant in the pictures is blue, not white like the finished mobile shows. The blue elephant was crocheted simply for step by step photos for this Instructable and was not used in the finished mobile. You will also notice one of its legs is green. I ran out of blue yarn so I made one green. There is a lot of room for creative freedom to make your elephant multi colored. You could add stripes to the body, make the 'hooves' of the feet different colors, etc, etc.
Even though crocheting four elephants does take some time, you can easily work on them here and there. I often crocheted while watching a movie and didn't try to overwhelm myself by finishing them all at once.
Step 3: Prepping the Cube for Assembly
In order for the mobile to hang as straight and balanced as possible, the holes must be drilled in the center of each face. Finding the center of a square is pretty simple. You just need a straight edge of some kind and a pencil. First decide what faces of the cube you want the dowels attach to. To find the center, draw a line using your straight edge and a pencil from corner to corner. Do this on four of the faces (the other two faces will be the top and bottom of the cube).
Now that the center of each face is marked, its time to drill the holes. Make sure you are using a drill bit that is the same size as the wooden dowels. The drill bit I used was 5/16". I set the drill press to drill a 1/2" hole. Carefully lining up the drill bit with the center of each face, I drilled all four holes.
Step 4: Measure and Cut Dowels
The dowels I bought were 12" long. I wanted them to be 7.5" long, which would mean after they were glued into the cube they would look 7" long. Carefully look at each dowel and decide which end you want to remove. I made sure I removed the ends that had any deformities or flaws. I made a mark at 4.5" from the end of each dowel I didn't want to use, leaving 7.5" of dowel behind that I would use for the mobile.
Using a band saw I cut all four dowels at the 7.5" mark.
Step 5: Sand Cube and Dowels
Using very fine sandpaper (600 grit) I sanded the cube and the dowels. They didn't need much sanding, just where I had drilled holes and made cuts. I smoothed out the edges of each hole on the cube making sure to remove any straggling pieces of wood. Then I sanded both ends of each dowel making sure they were smooth and uniform.
Step 6: Glue Dowels Into Cube
To glue the dowels into the cube, I used basic wood glue. Starting on any side of the cube, I filled the hole about half full of wood glue. Then I pushed the dowel completely into the hole. If any glue oozes out of the hole around the dowel, just wipe it up with a clean rag or paper towel. Then repeat this process with the three other dowels.
Once all the dowels are glued into the cube, set the mobile right side up to dry. I placed a small nut under each dowel so they would dry at a 90 degree angle to the cube. Without the nut in place, I was worried they would sag as they were drying.
I let the glue dry for 1 hour, even though the bottle said 30 minutes would be sufficient. I just wanted to be completely sure it was dry before I continued working on the mobile. I let the wood glue dry 24 hours before I attached the elephants.
If you were interested in staining the wood this would be a good time to do so. I liked the look of the natural wood, so I left it as is.
Step 7: Drill Hole for Eye Hook
First I found the center of the top face of the cube; the face that will hang the mobile from the ceiling. Using the same method as earlier, I found the center using a pencil and straight edge, drawing lines from corner to corner.
Then I put the 3/32" drill bit into the drill press. Because I didn't know exactly what size eye hook I had, I had to do some guessing and checking to figure out the proper drill bit.
I drilled a shallow hole for the eye hook. I didn't measure exactly, but it was close to 1/4" (or less) because it was such a small eye hook.
Then I manually screwed the eye hook into the hole, making sure I screwed it in straight and all the way to the bottom of the threads. If you felt like your eye hook was loose, you could add some wood glue to the hole before you screw it in.
Step 8: Hang the Elephants
After letting the wood glue dry for 24 hours, I hung the elephants from the mobile.
I cut four pieces of the cotton crochet thread approximately 2 feet long. I cut them excessively long so it would be easy to work with.
First, I tied the thread to each elephant at the back of its neck. I chose this spot on the elephant because it allowed the elephants to hang straight, not tilted up or down. I tried to tie the thread to each elephant in the same spot so they would hang evenly. I also hid the end of the thread inside the elephant so it wouldn't be an eye sore.
I don't know a specific name for the knot I used to tie the elephants to the dowels, so I will try to explain it. You could tie whatever knot you are comfortable with and that you think looks good. Basically, I just wrapped the thread around the dowel for about a 1/4". Then I tied a double overhand knot at the underside of the dowel. Before I started wrapping the thread around the dowel I made sure the elephant was hanging at a visually pleasing distance. I repeated this for each elephant, carefully making sure all of the elephants were hanging at the same height.
After tying all of the elephants to the dowels I used clear nail polish to set the knots. You could use super glue or any permanent clear drying glue.
Step 9: Hang the Mobile
This is the exciting part - hanging your mobile from the ceiling! I actually didn't complete this step because the mobile was a gift. When I mailed the mobile I included a few feet of the white cotton crochet thread. You can hang the mobile at any height you want, over a crib, or just as decoration. This part is up to you!
The mobile is finished. Enjoy!