Modern Paper Mobile for Babies

When the twins were one month old I made them a mobile like this and hung it over their crib.  Looking at it was my daughter’s favorite activity for almost 6 months.  The contrasting black and white shapes are perfect for infants’ undeveloped vision.  It’s also very simple to make, using only cardboard, paper and some thread.  At the bottom of this post is a template that you may download and print, or you can design your own black and white shapes.

Update: Someone over at the Made by Joel Facebook Page, uploaded a photo where they attached the printed squares to a tree branch, like I did on the Nature Mobile. A very easy, and beautiful solution! Nice one!

This is how you can make one:
- Cut two strips of cardboard about 14 inches long. (I used illustration board and painted it red, but any cardboard will work.) Then lay them in a cross and use some double sided tape (or glue) and stick them together.
- Print the template and cut out the mobile shapes.
- Cut 4 pieces of thread, about 9 inches long each.
- Tape the strands of thread to the ends of the mobile arms. Just lay the string on top of the arm and stick tape on it, then fold the tape under.
- Next mark the center on the back of each mobile piece and tape the other end of the thread onto it so that the thread attaches near the center.
- Take another length of thread (about 12 inches) and tie each end to the cardboard stick that’s on the bottom. (See photo.)
- Now tie one long piece of thread onto the loop you just made, and attach the other end to the ceiling. You can use masking tape to attach it because it’s so lightweight, or you can use a small hook.
- Once you have it hung, you can adjust the balance by sliding the threads around where you tied the knots so that it hangs level.

That’s it!  Hang it so that the baby can see it while lying down.  When it spins around, they really start to track with their vision.

Template: Click on the image below, then print.

29 Comments

  1. Lori Henriques
    June 9, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    love your patterns. reminds me of something in our childhood house...very 70s. i wonder if you might consider posting le mademoiselle et le mobile...? :)

  2. Jill
    June 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    at first glance i thought the shapes spelled "love"!

  3. n. davis rosback
    June 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm
  4. Mutsuko
    June 9, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Très chouette ! J'adore !

  5. Joel Henriques
    June 9, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks everybody!

    Lori - Yeah, I need to find of good copy of that movie with Tess and the mobile on my backup hard drive. I only have a super tiny version. I'll try and do that. She's so cute in it.

    Jill - Cool, you're right. It almost does look like "love". Perfect!

  6. wabili
    June 10, 2010 at 7:15 am

    what size for the squares to print please?
    I love it, I'll do it for my niece.

  7. Joel Henriques
    June 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    wabili - If you download the jpeg it will print automatically on a regular 8.5X11" piece of paper. The squares will be 4X4 inches. You can print it smaller though if you'd like. (If your printer doesn't have borderless printing.)

  8. Belliflora
    June 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    That is exactly what i'm looking for, thank you !

  9. Genie
    June 13, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Perfect. My sister is due with their first baby this fall and this will be a part of the gift that I am sending them. Homemade and perfect. I think instead of cardboard for the crosses though that I'm going to use painted paint stirring sticks. Thanks!

  10. Joel Henriques
    June 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Genie - Nice, yes wood is a good way to go too!

  11. Dolores
    June 2, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Joel, how can I thank you ? Our 3 m. old daughter was so restless, we tried everything from swaddling with white noise to letting her cry for 5, 10 and 15 mintues, nothing worked, I started getting pretty worried as our first child would fall asleep anywhere ant any time without any problem. Anyway I decided to make your mobile, and ever since I hung it on top of her cot, she is soooo quiet and happy to be lying down, she even falls alseep on her own ! Merci, merci, merci from down under !!!!!!!!!

  12. June 5, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Dolores - Wow! What a wonderful story. I'm so glad the mobile helped! I know my daughter loved looking at the high contrast shapes when she was a baby. Very fun!

  13. June 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

    [...] can download templates to make the same mobile as on the pictures on Made By Joel. There are also detailed instructions with photos of the process of making this [...]

  14. August 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    [...] you’d like to try making the mobile, you can click here for instructions and printable [...]

  15. August 26, 2011 at 8:49 am

    what type of metal did you use for the stand?

    1. August 28, 2011 at 10:31 pm

      The metal was some old wire that I got from my wife's grandpa. It was repurposed. I can't remember what it was for, but I think it's aluminum, or steel, or a blend of the two.

  16. Jackie
    August 30, 2011 at 4:50 am

    Awesome! Thanks again for another inspiring idea!

  17. September 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    [...] today I made a paper mobile for my infant son, K, using the directions found here and hung it over his crib.  I love that this mobile only cost me a bit of time this afternoon and [...]

  18. Cassie Combes
    March 31, 2012 at 2:20 am

    I love your mobiles. But am very interested in how you made the mobile stand. What sort of wire etc...

    1. March 31, 2012 at 7:24 am

      I'm not sure you could find the exact wire I used. It was old repurposed wire that I got from my wife’s grandpa that was salvaged from a grocery store. I think it’s aluminum, or steel, or a blend of the two. Then I just drilled a hole and poked it into the wood. I'll let you know if I ever see any wire like that in stores.

  19. October 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    [...] Made by Joel heeft een heel simpel en mooi ontwerp voor een mobile, die je gratis kunt downloaden. Het is een simpel knutselprojectje, maar je zult echt zien dat een baby heel anders op deze mobile dan op een grijs Nijntje mobile. [...]

  20. March 27, 2013 at 9:09 am

    [...] Modern Paper Mobile for Babies The contrasting black and white shapes in this mobile are perfect for infants’ undeveloped vision. There is a printable for the shapes, so it’s fast and easy to make. Your baby will love it! [...]

  21. July 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    [...] Veja o tutorial e imprima as figuras aqui: Made by Joel [...]

  22. sandra
    September 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    hi, my 9 year old dd and I just made the mobil and are super excited to hang it... are the pics supposed to lay flat facing down or at an angle

    1. September 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Great! Yeah, I've done it both ways. When a baby is lying directly underneath it, then it's nice to have the pieces lay flat so the baby can see the designs below. But hanging them upright is totally good too.

  23. sandra
    September 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Hi...how do get them to layflat ? :) we cant seem to get them to lay flat

    1. September 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Yes, I know what you mean. I just put a small piece of tape in the middle of the square of paper, then unstick and re-stick until it's close to flat. It's almost impossible to get it really flat. But close is good enough! It kind of swivels around better that way anyway. Fun to look at! Oh, and another trick is you can kind of slide the thread left or right, under the tape, to make small adjustments too.

  24. Andrea
    February 27, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I love that your projects are so simple/high contrast and so elegant and beautiful. More art to see for kids is always a good thing. We think in pictures, young ones have to non-verbally communicate, it's very powerful.

    1. February 27, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Thanks Andrea!

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