Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cascading flowers mobile

Our friends' baby Hannah should be entering the world any day now. And I felt like I wanted to make something for her and her parents (partly because I had no idea what to get if I were to buy something). I don't normally give handmade items as gifts because handmade items tend to be quirky and not of professional quality and thus not everybody's cup of tea. Somehow it seems a little different with babies.

 It's as if the general emotional turmoil of having a baby mixed with the complete adorableness of the baby itself makes it easier to get away with giving something quirky. The baby can't protest the gift at the time it's given and by the time the kid is old enough to have an opinion the gift has been long buried under the masses of other gifts, toys and clothes. It's kind of a time limited gift of sorts and at least the parents may appreciate the time and effort that went into the gift to their precious little baby.

Since the color theme for Hannah's room is brown/white/pink I decided to go neutral with brown and white. It's classic and classy and will work with anything.

 These are the supplies I started out with. A large metal circle from the craft store, a wire hanger or two, brown ribbon, thin wire and vellum paper. I also used fishing line but it isn't pictured here. I ended up not using the flower shape thingy and the swabs in my final product.

 I started by building the structure for the mobile by shaping the wire hanger into a swirl and attaching it with the thinner wire to the large circle shape.

This is my first version with the little daisy flower shapes alternated with swab "beads" (the cotton part of the swabs cut off). I started this weeks and weeks before I had planned to have it ready. It was slow going and I just couldn't bring myself to liking the look of it. Too busy and regimented somehow.

 So the day before the gift was supposed to be delivered I scrapped this first version altogether and started over. In the above pic you can see the lone strand of lily flowers I hung to see if I liked it better than the daisies. And it was exactly what I wanted. Graceful, soothing and organic. Needless to say I spent that whole day and most of the next frantically working to make little lilies and threading them on fishing line. I never quite had the time necessary to think it all the way through to perfection but I ended up with something I felt OK with gifting.

I do apologize in advance for some of the following pics that are blurry and I didn't get as many good after pics because of time constraints. And I can't retake them since I don't have the mobile here anymore :) It turned out cool enough that I still wanted to share with you, though.

How to make the flowers

I experimented with card stock beforehand to determine what size and shape my paper cutouts needed to be. And each vellum paper (A4 format) was folded 4 times and cut into 16 little rectangles.

For each little rectangle I rounded off two opposite corners into kind of an eye shape.

From one side of the eye shape I free handed 5 "fingers", or petals. It won't matter that they're different shapes and sizes, it'll just look more organic.

The two outer petals were joined together and the whole "hand" was shaped into a cone and secured with a snippet of matte scotch tape. I made the hole at the narrow end of the cone as tiny as possible but still able to let the fishing line through.

Each little petal was then shaped by hand into this cute lily shape (my hands are green because I was dyeing bathroom towels yesterday). You can shape them over a pencil. I have my own little thing where I just kind of pinch the petal back gently while pulling on it. It's hard to explain and of course I don't have a video but the pencil will work too :)

And then I just tied a length of fishing line to my metal structure, strung one flower on, tied a simple knot on the line for the flower to rest on, strung another flower and so on. I did two tiers even though it's hard to see in the finished pics because of the wispy nature of the fishing line. I think I used 8 flowers per strand on the outer tier and 10 or 12 for the inner tier. In the very middle I strung a plastic jewel as the finishing touch. Baby Hannah needed some bling :)

Before I started the flower stringing I used the brown ribbon to make a hanging device. And when all the flowers were in place I used the same ribbon to cover the outer metal circle of the structure (using hot glue for this). This is the part where I felt like I could have come up with a better way of doing it so it would have looked more professional. And if I had had the time the little swirl of the structure would have been covered as well. But, oh well. I didn't and my time was up.

Here's the finished result. It was hard to get good pics of this too but you'll hopefully get the idea.

I had it hanging from a clothes hanger while I was putting it all together. Not the most glamorous, but it worked :)

 Baby's perspective.

It ended up being too long to hang safely over a crib for very long. But it should be perfect in a corner hung from the ceiling for quite a while. The strands of flowers are lightweight enough to sway gently in the breeze from a window or the AC and should be quite soothing to look at.

So, I'm dying to know. Would you guys have felt OK getting a gift like this for your firstborn daughter?

Ps. Linking up with
Someday Crafts

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  1. Titti!
    You are such a goddess! If ANYONE would not adore something so beautiful, I can't even imagine! You are brilliant! I LOVE your brilliant ideas! So sweet and soft for a baby! Good job!

  2. Very Pretty, I would have wonderful imaginings if I could lie under that every day. Lucky baby.

  3. This is beautiful! thanks so much for sharing! I would be thrilled to receive this as a gift!

  4. this is such a great project it looks great thanks for sharing xxx

  5. I know I often say "yeah, I'm gonna make this", and I sincerely intend to, but then it ends up forgotten on my pinterest. This baby, however, will get started tomorrow. I can do the cutting of the flowers at work (Boring night shifts, here I come!) and assemble them at home. Only I might use book pages instead of white paper. And the result WILL end up in my bedroom, because it's exactly what I want to look at when falling asleep. If I had received this as a gift for my kid... sorry, kiddo, grow up and make your own!


I really appreciate you taking the time to comment because I know you didn't have to. Additional ideas or related techniques are always welcome, the more we brainstorm the better all of our end products will be.
While I try to answer all comments I sometimes don't make it or have your contact info. If you don't hear back from me it doesn't mean I hate you, I just ran out of time (or simply had no way of contacting you).
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