In a world of watercolory wisps and geometric forms, I’m counting down the days until this trend gives way to thick, textured paint streaks, crusty from layer upon layer of heavy oils and acrylics. While I love a good color wash, I’m anxious to see a heavier approach as the season changes — and maybe even a move towards more structured patterns and traditional florals. While I’m not much of a painter, I’m pretty handy with fabric and glue, so I thought I’d try to merge some modern materials (copper) with some more conventional florals in a purely decorative, minimalist form. For me, DIYs are all about exploration, seeing what can be made with everyday materials and refashioning motifs that have been absent for a while. I thought to myself, “What would it look like if I mixed wood and copper with traditional florals and an abstract bespoke design?” And so my hanging mobile was born!
I love the fact that it is “reversible” and shows two very different decorative approaches depending on the gauge of wire you use and random movement. It’s exactly the type of subtle movement that I need to gaze at when I need a quick meditation break during the day and I’m not able to get outside. Making this tied in really well with the exercises in my Beauty of Self Care lessons on Patience and Purpose. It’s really challenging to actually sit down with materials and not be frustrated by “mistakes” or disappointed with the finished product — but it’s so worth it. While my mobile may not show up on the pages of a glossy magazine, I love that I took the time to experiment, explore and enjoy the finished product!
If you’re looking to practice a little patience and to let go of expectations, I’d love for you to make this sometime soon. It is a wonderful way to take a timeout to appreciate something that you made in a proud, meditative way. See my full instructions after the jump! –Caitlin
*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Waverly Inspirations. This project, ideas, and words are my own and I was happy to share this freeform DIY with our readers. Thanks for supporting our sponsors that help us create and publish original content three times per day. The Waverly Inspirations collection is available at Walmart.
- Balsa wood panel or sheet
- Thin wooden dowel (Chop sticks or twigs can work too!)
- Copper jewelry wire (26 gauge is easy to use even without pliers.)
- Assorted paints
- Floral fabric
- Scissors or an X-Acto knife
Step 1: If you’re using a floral fabric, cut out 3-5 flowers from the pattern, cover the back of the fabric pieces with glue and place on the balsa wood. Smooth them so they are flat on the wood. Let dry.
Step 2: While the glue is drying, take out your paints and brushes and mix colors that will either pair with or contrast with the flower or fabric that you’ve glued onto the wood. Once you have a few shades that you like, and the glue is dry, cut out your shapes from the wood with scissors using small snips or with a straight edge.
Step 3: Flip your shapes over and paint the reverse side with your colors. You can also leave the wood unpainted. This looks lovely with the copper wire, too. Let dry. You can embellish this side more if you’d like. I used my balsa wood scraps to make an abstract leaf design by gluing them on top of the paint.
Step 4: Once the shapes are dry, play around with the placement of them to see how they will look when they are hanging. When you have an arrangement you like, snip your dowel in several pieces so you can attach your shapes to them with the copper wire. Lay the dowels down on a flat surface well enough above the shapes that you can use a length of wire to vary the distance of each shape from the dowel. You don’t want all of the wires to be the same length, otherwise your shapes will all be clustered together.
Step 5: Now that you have your shapes arranged on a flat surface and your dowels in place (which they will hang from), cut lengths of the copper wire for each shape you’re attaching. Be sure to add an additional 3″ of wire on each end for wrapping the wire to the dowel and to the shape!
Step 6: Pierce a small hole at least a 1/4″ from the edge of each shape. Insert one end of the copper wire through the fabric side of the shape, creating a small loop on the painted side that will prevent the wire from slipping out of the hole.
Step 7: Wrap the other end of the wire around the dowel. Repeat with each shape. Feel free to hold up the mobile to see how your flat arrangement is working. You can add new tiers and dowels as you see fit. Don’t worry if your shapes are not hanging straight. You can straighten them when you’re finished, before you hang it.
Step 8: Once all of your shapes and dowels are connected and hanging from one dowel at the top, cut a long length of wire the appropriate size for where you will hang the mobile. If you don’t have a spot yet, 18″ is a good length to start with. You can always add or take away length. Make a “rabbit ear” loop, leaving 2″ at the tail so you can wrap it around the loop to secure it. This will be your hanger. Now you’re done! Hang your mobile and straighten any copper wire so it hangs straight. Enjoy!