DIYdiy projects

diy wednesdays: origami mobile

by Grace Bonney

we’ve been wanting to make a mobile for a long time, but it always seemed a little intimidating. what gauge wire should we use? how will we get it to balance? finally we decided to try making one with some supplies we had on hand: floral wire and origami papers. floral wire is great because it comes in pre-cut lengths and is super easy to bend. the origami paper is light and every piece tends to weigh pretty much the same, which made assembling this goldfish themed mobile a snap. click here for the full instructions or just click “read more” below.

have fun!
derek & lauren

Origami Mobile

here’s what you’ll need:
-6 pieces of origami paper in corresponding colors and patterns
-double-stick tape
-sewing needle
-3 pieces of 18″ fabric covered floral wire
-needle-nose pliers

1. following these instructions (or this video), fold 6 origami goldfish (or whatever motif you want!) use double-sided tape to close the bottom. try to use pieces of paper that are around the same size, so that the weight will be evenly distributed when you hang them.

2. cut 6 pieces of thread that measure 12-18 inches long. thread your needle and tie one end to the top of each fish. set aside.

3. using your needle-nose pliers, bend one piece of floral wire in half and wrap around the tip of your pliers, creating a circle. carefully bend a small loop at each end.

4. cut the remaining two pieces of floral wire in half using the cutter at the base of your pliers, and discard one of the four pieces. repeat step 3, creating three loops on each of the three pieces of wire.

5. attach a piece of thread to the center loop of the large piece of wire and suspend (from a tack on the wall or in the ceiling, from a light fixture, etc.) so you can make sure the mobile is balanced as you assemble it.

6. tie three pieces of thread to the loops on the long piece of wire, and attach all three short pieces through their center loops.

7. attach the origami goldfish to the 6 loops, adjusting the length of your thread and trimming off any excess. if the mobile doesn’t balance, you can add a little weight to some of the fish by slipping tiny pieces of tape or paper in between the folds until it hangs just right.

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  • These would also be fantastic using “scraps” of paper– as a graphic designer I am constantly keeping print-outs from my projects, or snagging great posters that have been stapled to walls or poles.

  • What a clever idea to use floral wire. It is so much easier to work with than fish gut or ordinary wire. I also love the goldfish – they are so cute!

  • ooooooo! love it! a fish origami mobile has been on my project list for a few months now, but my origami skills are sub par. this might be the kick in the butt i need to figure out my folds!

  • so cute! i am going to make it with little birds, and use twigs instead of the green wire. thanks!

  • Those fishes are really cute.. And thanks for the detailed explanation it is very useful for a learner like me.

  • This is exactly what I needed! I’ve recently designed origami papers at Chronicle Books, and wanted to make origami mobile for my 8-week-old niece Madeline. I have origami rabbit, horse, birds and flowers. I can’t wait to put them together. Thank you for the instruction!

  • I love this mobile! I’ve only ever made the cranes, but I would love to try it and give it as a gift to someone. I might like to try some transparent vellum so it could still hold a crease, but may have some transparent qualities. Very special!

  • I love this idea. I want to make one for a friend at work who is pregnant. As a baby, my uncle gave me an origami mobile that he bought in Japan. I remember it hanging above the crib of my younger brother and sister. The mobile was probably put in the trash years ago… Thank you for reminding of this cherished childhood memory.

  • I am always talked into purchasing something from school sales, so during holidays I buy a roll or two of wrapping paper, (not necessarily holiday style), and the quality is very nice. I use some of it behind photos on display and I’m sure it would be beautiful for one of the mobiles!

  • I just made this today for a baby shower, except I used cranes. Everyone loved it! And it was fairly quick to put together. My only problem was that it seemed to tangle very easily. Next time I’ll have to make the strings a bit shorter and hopefully that will help. Thanks for the how-to!