DIY High-Contrast Baby Mobile

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About: experience designer, interaction designer, information architect, and anthropologist. twitter: @eadahl

Intro: DIY High-Contrast Baby Mobile

I was given this challenge by my wife today: make a high-contrast mobile for our new son using only things we have in the house. Here's how to make a baby mobile on the cheap from items you have around the house. All you need is an internet connection, some extra wire hangers, some duct tape, cardboard, glue and some string. Its very easy to make, and much cheaper than buying one from a store.

Step 1: Obtain High-contrast Templates

The first thing I did was to check and see if anyone else had built something like this already. I didn't find anything I liked, but I found a few projects that I pulled ideas from. During my search, I found these great templates for the actual objects suspended by the mobile. The templates can be found at http://crafts.sleepingbaby.net/mobile.html You can download the templates as .pdf

Print the file, and cut out the images. Warning: this will use a lot of black ink.

Step 2: Prepare Wire Hangers

You are going to need 3 wire hangers. I used the kind that make a full triangle, but I suppose you could use the kind that don't have the wire on the bottom with a few modifications. You need to flatten the triangle to form a upside down "V" shape forming 2 legs. You should bend all 3 hangers in this manner.

Step 3: Tape the Hanger Legs

Using duct tape, cover the legs of the hangers in a spiral motion. you are going to want to leave a little of the end of the hanger exposed, so you can thread string through the created hole.

Step 4: Twist and Tape the Top of Each Hanger

The top of the hanger needs to be twisted around a few times to tighted up the top of the hanger. Once the wire has been twisted, it can be taped up as well.

Step 5: Combine the Hangers to Form the Mobile Structure

This step can be a little tricky. I found it easier to tape 2 hangers together, and then to tape the 3 hanger together, instead of trying to tape all three of them together.

I also straightened out the hook parts, twisted them together and taped them up.

Step 6: Making the Dangling Objects

There are lots of different ways to do this step, and I tried a few different ones myself. I found it easiest to glue the paper cutouts to the cardboard and then cutting them out after they dry.

From here, you can poke a hole in them and hang them, or you can add some more of the cutouts to the top in the shape of a "T" like I did.

Step 7: ...and You're Done!

Poke some holes, tie on some string and you're done.

The final, final step is to suspend it over your baby. You can do this in many ways. We re-formed the top back into the shape of a hook and attached it to an old floor lamp with a swing arm using some nylon webbing.

your homemade baby mobile is done...enjoy!

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    20 Discussions

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    madeforkids

    27 days ago

    This is a post I would like to republish this on https://www.madeforkids.co.uk for my very crafty parents who would definitely save a lot of money by making such a cute mobile toy

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    Great Idea, my daughter loves that high contrast pictures. I don't know why I didn't think about making mobile for her.

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    sfolline1

    4 years ago on Introduction

    That's so exciting, glad I saw this it was so helpful. Have you read about http://diybabymobile.com , another great website! Keep up the good work! Diy is the way! I love learning all of this Stuff.

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    Weasel87

    7 years ago on Step 7

    I wish I would have found this mobile 7mos ago before I settled with the one stupid monkey one that came with the crib!!

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    masilum

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I used to have something like this.. Then my child grew up and became Marylin Manson.

    If you did want to use colors, opt for bright primary colors, as opposed to pastels or other muted colors. As the author mentioned, it's a matter of focus and contrast.

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    It's not that colors are bad for a baby, or that black and white is necessarily better. As I understand it, newborns reflexively prefer to look at high-contrast edges and patterns, and a black and white pattern creates 100% contrast.

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    NutandBolt

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great baby mobile, I didn't know about the high-contrast edges matter, If I would lay under that mobile it would probably hipnotize me for a very long sleep :-) . I have to make one for my next baby.

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    Made one for my son. Hung it over his changing station and he just stares off at happily. Using string wasn't an issue since we didn't hang it close enough for him to get caught up in it. Wife and I had a blast making it using B&W photos of ourselves on a few of the objects.

    1 reply
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    stonehenge360

    11 years ago

    o0o0oo getting dizzy!!??!?!_+_#+

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    beaglebot

    11 years ago

    Other than just strangling themselves they can get hands and feet tangled and cut off circulation

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    lurker99

    12 years ago

    I wonder if the baby would like a high-contrast photo of mom or dad ? I.e., use photo manipulation software to scale-up/down a digital photo of a face, then use a software filter to change it from color to a black and white line drawing.

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    thedahlpod

    12 years ago

    my guess is that babys can (and have) get tangled in the string and strangle themselves. I know this type of thing has happened with cords for window blinds and the like. Right now our baby is only 5 weeks old and cant reach the mobile, but it would be a safe precaution to change the string to something like a zip tie as recommended by matt.t

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    DanIzzo

    12 years ago

    Can anyone enlighten me as to why no string around a baby? I can understand if the baby can reach the string that it might be a noose like choking hazard, but why is it a bad idea here (where presumably the mobile would be out of reach). I've got a baby on the way and was thinking of making one of these.

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    matt.t

    12 years ago

    A loop made from a zip tie would probably work in place of string. MT

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    billyzelsnack

    12 years ago

    Please don't use string around a baby. The commerical ones of these have plastic bits instead of string.