Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Tutorial: DIY Mobile

I was blog-browsing one day when I came across these beautiful watercolor birds. They're free to print, and I thought they'd make the perfect start to a DIY mobile for babygirl's nursery.  The hubs thinks I'm crazy, but I just wasn't crazy about any of the zillions of mobiles out there in the baby stores.  So I set out to make my own.

First, I wanted to print the birds onto a heavier paper, but didn't have anything fancy, so I just tore a few sheets out of my sketchpad, cut off the scraggly edges, and voila- fancy paper! I printed two of each set of birds, for a total of 24 birds.  Next, I cut around the dotted lines and glued the birds onto a thin cardboard (I used gift boxes left-over from Christmas gifts).

I then went back to this place, which is one of my favorite shops for inspiration & awesome fabric, and cut a TON of "samples".  I suppose that was kind of cheating, but they do allow you to cut samples no larger than a dollar bill, and none of mine were larger than that- I may just have had 30 or so samples!!!

I cut the birds out of the cardboard once the glue had dried, and then set out to match the coloring of each bird to similar colors in the fabric.  It goes without saying that I only cut samples of fabrics that I felt would look good in the nursery, and were visually appealing to newborn eyes!!  Here's me playing around with matching birds to fabric:

I used Mod-Podge to glue the birds to the fabric, and then stacked books on top to keep the birds nice & flat.  (They may have stuck to the dining table in the process, but the excess Mod-Podge washed right off!).  I cut out the birds, and then Mod-Podged the fronts of the birds so they were nice & shiny and sealed.  Here they are drying, and this time I've wised-up and put a layer of foil down to prevent sticking:

From here I used a tiny brad nail to poke (hammer!) a hole through the lacquered birds & hardened fabric.  That required some trial & error, but using a hammer to tap the brad into the pre-printed hole turned out to work the best!  At this point I became a crazy-lady obsessed with finding the perfect branch while the hubs and I were on our neighborhood walks, in order to hang the birds from.  I went through quite a few versions of the perfect branch before I settled on THE perfect one!!  I was initially going to leave it in it's natural state, but then the idea to paint it a glossy black seemed perfect for the modern-ish nursery.

So I painted (with acrylic craft paint in glossy black), cut varying lengths of clear nylon string, and got to work stringing the birds from the branch.  Sorry, no pics of this process, but I think you get the general idea!  I then cut 3 long lengths of string, installed 3 eye-hooks in the ceiling above the crib and attached the mobile to the ceiling.  Done!!

It may have been a labor-intensive project, but it wasn't hard, just time consuming.  I think the results were well worth the effort though!  It's not just a mobile, it's an art piece.  And the best part is that babygirl absolutely loves it.  I catch her staring at it all the time- no better sense of accomplishment for this mama!!