24 July 2014

DIY Felt Ball Mobile

The mobile I envisioned for Madeleine's nursery was the big project that landed on the chopping block as her due date approached and my energy waned. Even though we never missed having a mobile in Madeleine's nursery, I prioritized the mobile a little higher this time around as it is part of my design vision for the room (rather than serving any real developmental purpose).

Between this pin and my good experience with felt balls at Christmas, I decided that I'd make a mobile from felt balls. Just like at Christmas time, I ordered the balls from Ornamentea and received them just a few days later.

So far, this is definitely my favorite part of the nursery. I love the colors, soft texture, and imperfection of it. What do you think?

Let's get into a few of the specifics in case you want to make your own. I started with these supplies:

Two embroidery hoops
Small container of wood stain
Invisible thread
Collection of felt balls (I only ended up using one large ball)
Scissors (not pictured)
Large needle (not pictured)
Hot glue and gun (not pictured)

First, I took the embroidery hoops apart and applied one thin coat of stain to each of the hoop halves that did not include the metal piece. I let those dry for a few days, even though this particular stain says that it only needs a couple of hours.

Next, to make the strands of balls, I cut varying lengths of invisible thread. I tied 3 or 4 knots on top of each other, threaded a felt ball using a large needle, rested the ball onto the knot, and repeated. I used my fist as an approximate spacer between balls. My strands were either long with four balls or short with three.

After I had all of the strands made, I applied a bit of hot glue to the knot below the lowest ball and trimmed the thread. It's a little more visible than I'd like, but I feel pretty confident that this will provide extra insurance for making sure that baby boy doesn't wake up one morning in a sea of felt balls of perfect choking size.

Once the hot glue had cured, I tied each of the strands to the hoops with at least three or four knots each. On the big hoop, I used eight strands, alternating four long ones with four short ones. I used four short strands on the small hoop. Once they were all attached, I trimmed the thread.

To begin assembling the whole thing, I cut eight quite long strands of invisible thread (four for each hoop) and tied one end of each strand equal distance from each other around the hoops.

Then, I threaded the needle with one thread at a time, putting the thread through the larger felt ball from bottom to top, repeating until all of the assembly strands went through the large felt ball and came out the top.

This where I called in the reinforcements (aka George) because two hands is not enough to get everything evened out. We pulled and released and tightened and loosened the threads until the hoops were hanging in the balance we wanted. To secure the strands, we put a healthy dot of hot glue at the top of the large felt ball where all of the threads emerge.

Then, by some miracle, George was able to tie the group of eight strands onto the hook we'd installed in the nursery ceiling.

Madeleine calls this "party time" for some unknown reason. I know we're taking a chance by hanging the mobile above the bed, and I'm sure hoping that her brother doesn't think it means party time in the middle of the night!


Janie said...


Megan said...

I love the felt balls and have been meaning to experiment with some myself- maybe by Christmas! As for the risk of hanging a mobile- we felt the same way, but fell in love with some strands of butterflies made out of feathers and hung them over Ellie's crib anyway. I suppose in a sense we were lucky that Ellie isn't that interested in standing up in her crib (yet) and she's almost 1! So the butterflies remain...for now...good luck!