If you are like me you take a lot of pictures, but most end up stored on the computer waiting for the right opportunity to be shared with friends and family, put into a scrapbook or album, or displayed in a picture frame. To be honest, I still have pictures from my old film cameras waiting in boxes to be sorted into albums or put into frames… Perhaps I keep pushing this off because of the time it takes to go through the pictures and organize them, perhaps it’s because of the cost of buying more albums and frames, or perhaps it’s because I’m waiting for the day when I don’t have to think about decorating a house without also considering the next set of orders and how much our stuff weighs and decorating the next house etc. etc. etc. But recently I came across a neat way to display pictures that is inexpensive, light weight, fun to make, and can fit into just about any room- it’s a picture mobile.
For this project I chose to use pictures of superheroes. My little guy is totally into the Justice League right now and this was an awesome way to add some superhero decor to his bedroom without spending a fortune on stuff. Also, since Superman and Batman fight bad-guys and Daddy does too, this was a perfect way to incorporate a picture of Daddy into my son’s everyday. It was also a great rainy day project for my son and I to do together.
1) Wooden dowels (2)
3) Heavy duty paper like card stock
5) Acid free glue
8) Hole Punch
9) Small, screw-in hook (1)
1) Measure out the space you are going to use. We had a 2.5 foot square corner of my son’s room to use.
2) Select dowels that will nicely fit into the space. We used 12 inch dowels so the mobile could be centered in the space with enough room to spin.
3) Determine how many pictures you want to use and how big you want them to be- this will determine how large you print your pictures and cut your paper in the next steps. We chose to use 16 images (1 on each side of 8 pieces of paper) and with a staggered height this meant that each paper could be about 4×6 inches.
3) Cut the paper into the shapes that work well with your image. We chose ovals because that worked well with the superhero logo shapes.
4) Print out pictures. We chose my son’s 6 favorite superheroes and their logos. We also used pictures of my husband, the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor (Daddy’s logo,) my son wearing his superhero cape and mask, and my daughter wearing hers. For this design we needed 16 pictures but actually used 17 because my son wanted 2 images of Daddy…
5) Trim the pictures into the same shapes but slightly smaller than your paper.
6) Center the pictures on the paper and glue in place. We glued the superheroes and their logos on opposite sides of the same piece of paper so that when they spin you could see each image. (The pictures of my kids are opposite each other on the same piece of paper.)
7) Punch a hole at the center of the top edge of each paper.
8) Cross your dowels so that they are centered on each other. Wrap a length of string around the “X” several times in each direction of the joint. I tucked the first end of the sting under the first layer of wrap to secure it and looped the 2nd end under the top layer of wrap to secure it. But before pulling the 2nd end tight I slid a separate loop of string through and centered it over the middle of the “X” thus creating the loop that would suspend the mobile from the hook.
9) Determine the levels of your mobile and cut a length of string to a little longer than required for each piece of paper. Any extra can be trimmed after securing the string around the paper and dowel. Our top level is 7 inches below the dowel, the middle level is 11 inches below, and the bottom level is 17 inches below.
10) Tie one end of each string through the hole punched, then wrap the second end around the dowel and tuck the end under itself and knot it in place. We did one tier at a time measuring to ensure that each picture would hang level with the others from the same tier.
11) Screw the hook into the ceiling and hang the mobile.
12) By using the same size paper for the pictures and shapes for each tier we ensured the weight of the mobile would balance out and hang straight. If yours is a little off balance just shift the position of where the strings attach to the dowels until they level out.
Note: You can use different materials like metal hangers or sticks instead of dowels – this is a perfect opportunity to repurpose stuff that you have lying around.
*** Alia Reese is the spouse of a US Marine and mother of 2 children. She holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and used her experience raising children through her husband’s multiple combat deployments to create the award winning American Hero Books® series. For more information please visit www.heartstarpress.com, connect with Alia Reese -author on Facebook, or contact Alia at [email protected].