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DIY: BOHO CRIB MOBILE
When creating any items that are intended to be used for a baby, please research your local laws and regulations to make sure that your projects are up to safety standards. We do not make any claims of safety on our projects or the products used in them, and since we cannot supervise your individual project or its use, we cannot guarantee that it will be safe for use. Therefore, we shall not be held responsible if your project causes any injury to a baby or child.
For this project, you will need:
- (8) Plush Shapes (3″-4″ tall) – I hand-stitched mine out of felt and added Cricut vinyl faces
- (2) 12″ Dowels – 3/8″ round recommended
- (4) Dowel Caps – Make sure that the hole is the same size as the dowels (3/8″)
- (1) Cup Hook
- Cotton Twine
- Paint (optional)
- Assorted Craft Pom Poms
- Rotating Music Box
- Crib Arm (or wood and supplies to build your own)
- Scissors, Needle, Thread, Pliers, Industrial Glue (such as E6000)
1. Create Your Shapes (and Plan Your Arrangement!)
The first step is to create (or buy) the 8 shapes that you want to put on your mobile. Each strand will have 2 shapes on it. For this design, I created 4 “sky” shapes and 4 “ground” shapes, so that the sun/moon/star/clouds would be floating above the animals/mountains/cactus. If you have a Cricut Maker, you can nicely cut some felt shapes with the rotary tool then simply stitch the shapes together. You can also add accents like animals faces using Cricut iron-on vinyl.
IMPORTANT: When choosing shapes, plan ahead as to which shapes will be paired together, and in what order they will hang. You will want to make sure that the strands that hang OPPOSITE of each other are of equal weight. Otherwise, your mobile will tilt and look lopsided. In my example, you can see that the clouds and the mountains were about equal in mass/weight, so I hung these opposite of each other. The llama and cactus were smaller but also similar in mass/weight, so those hung opposite each other as well.
2. Build Your Frame
You can create an X-shaped frame using two wooden dowels. In this example, I used two 3/8″ round x 12″ dowels. If you have a laser cutter (or other woodworking skills), you can create two flat notches in the center of the dowels so that they lay flat against each other. Glue them together with some industrial glue, then you will reinforce them later when you screw in the hook. If you don’t have the ability to cut out notches, you can simply tie the two dowels together in an X-shape with the twine.
3. Paint & Prepare
If you prefer the look of the natural wood, you can leave the wood as is. If you’d like to paint it a certain color, now is the time to do that. First, glue the dowel caps onto the ends of the dowels. Next, paint the dowels with acrylic paint to create a durable finish. Lastly, screw the hook into the center of the dowels. Make sure that your hook is long enough to go through both of the dowels to make sure that they do not separate and break under the weight of the mobile. When your frame is dry and finished, start working on your first strand by tying a long piece of twine to the edge of the dowel.
4. Make Your Pom Poms
When making my mobile, I wanted to add a little something more than just my shapes. To make these pom pom balls, simply take a few pom poms in your favorite colors and sew them together into a ball shape. There’s no specific way to do this… just keep sticking the needle through them until they squeeze together into a ball. Cut the string and knot it when you’re done.
5. Attach Your Pom Pom
Since the twine is quite thick, unless you have an extra large needle with a large eye, it may take a few tries to get all your shapes onto the twine. A trick I like is to tie a regular needle and thread to the end of the twine, which you can then use to pull the twine through your shapes. The best way to get it through the pom poms was to simply wiggle it through the spaces between the individual pom poms. The twine will be too thick to try to force through the pom pom materials themselves.
6. Prepare Your Shapes
In order to attach your shapes to the twine, you will need to puncture a hole similar to the size of the twine. For this cotton twine, a Cricut weeding tool was just the right size to create a nice, open hole.
IMPORTANT: Before puncturing your shape, figure out where the center point of the weight distribution is on your shape. Otherwise, if you puncture your hole too far to the right or left, your shape will be crooked when it hangs. You can find this center point by sticking a small needle into your shape and seeing which way the shape spins. Once you find the point where the shape stays straight up, you have found your center.
7. Attach Your First Shape
After the hole is punctured, pull your twine through it using the needle and thread to guide it. If you feed the needle through but the twine doesn’t fit, take it out and make the hole a little bigger. Once it is through, cut the twine and knot it tightly around the shape. If you plan on adding another shape below this one, repeat these steps at the bottom center of the shape (with a new string) so that you can attach another shape.
8. Attach Your Second Shape
Once you have tied the twine to the bottom of your first shape, puncture a hole through the center point on your second shape. Again, remember to the find the center point of your shape’s weight. As you can see on the wolf below, the center may not necessarily be in the center of the head, but rather off to the side to balance out the weight of its tail.
9. Seal Your Strings
When all the shapes on your strand have been attached, cut the twine closely to the end, and seal it all around with a dot of industrial glue. This will keep the twine from unraveling. Once you complete this step, your strand is permanent, so make sure that you are happy with the height and layout of your mobile.
10. Decorate and Attach Your Music Box
When your mobile is ready to be hung, you can add a little extra personalization by decorating the rotating music box that it will hang on. In this example, I created a blue chevron pattern out of vinyl on my Cricut. When you are finally ready to hang the mobile onto the music box, take a pair of pliers and gently squeeze the hook on the mobile so that it fits tightly onto the music box, and you are confident that it will not fall out on its own.
11. Attach the Mobile to Your Crib
If you have a pre-made crib arm, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly attach the arm and mobile to the crib. Alternatively, you can build your own by screwing together 2 pieces of wood in an L-shape and screwing (or clamping) it to your crib. Attach a cup hook to the underside of the wood to hang your mobile. When determining how high to hang your mobile, make sure that the bottom shapes hang at least 18″ above the top of the mattress so that you baby cannot grab them. Also make sure that all hooks are closed tightly, all shapes are attached firmly, and you are confident that nothing will fall on your baby while the mobile is in use. Also, remember to remove the mobile once your baby can sit up.