Make a Pretty DIY Paper Mobile

A simple and pretty DIY mobile is a great solution for sloped ceilings.

The story of this handmade paper mobile starts with the search for a sloped-ceiling solution. In New England, charming Cape Cod-style homes are ubiquitous. We bought our cozy mid-1940s Cape from the original owner and while we’ve done a LOT of renovations to overcome the formerly choppy layout on the first floor, we can’t do much about the sloped ceilings in the two upstairs bedrooms. I had visions of a beautiful mobile gently dancing above my daughter’s crib, but needless to say, the sloped ceilings put a wrinkle in that plan. All of the mobiles I coveted required a much higher ceiling clearance than I had, considering her crib is situated underneath one of the sloped walls.

Sloped ceilings are just a part of life in a Cape-style house.

Not only did I want to avoid banging my face into floating shapes every time I put Elsa in her crib, I also preferred that she not be able to reach up and yank the whole thing down, as toddlers are prone to do. With those parameters in mind, I put on my crafty pants and got to work.

I knew I wanted something that would be a close match to the DwellStudio bedding she and I both love so much. We talk a lot about “her birdies” during our bedtime routine, so if felt like it would be the perfect connection to have some sparrows flying overhead as she drifted off to sleep.

This DwellStudio print is, sadly, out of production now. I’m pretty happy I gulped big time and splurged on it while I could.

Once I had my inspiration, it was all a question of pulling out my scissors, supplies, doing a few measurements in my daughter’s room, and sitting down for some trial and error engineering.

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Step 1

 Open GalleryThe first step was to grab a dowel from my local hardware store. I wasn’t too concerned with the length, because as long as it wasn’t longer than her crib, I knew it would work. I primed it and painted it, then gave it a few days to dry completely and let any paint fumes dissipate.

Step 2

 Open GalleryI did an image search for a sparrow that looked similar to those on the bedding and printed out a reduced size copy that I used as my template for all of the sparrow cut outs. For the flowers, I traced one of the flowers from the bedding, scanned it and printed out an enlarged copy, which then became my template for the flower cut outs. I made a trip to my local craft store to find scrapbook paper in the same colors as the bedding, which was fantastically successful — the colors are nearly exact! Then it was time to sit down for a long session of meticulous tracing and cutting. Eeesh. Hello, thumb blisters.

Step 3

 Open GalleryI wanted to alternate and stagger the sparrows and flowers, but also decided that for the bottom row of cut outs, I’d actually thread them on. This decision was based purely on mommy paranoia — I wanted to make sure that if by some miracle our little climbing, jumping wonder of a toddler did manage to reach one of the sparrows or flowers, the paper cutout would just tear off, instead of pull the whole thing down. I had some invisible thread in my sewing basket, which was easier to work with and knot than fishing line, and was also lightweight enough that the paper cutouts hung properly.

Step 4

 Open GalleryAfter I had my bottom row done, I tied off the strands to the dowel using the measurements I’d taken in my daughter’s room. I wanted the mobile to hang low enough to be pretty, but it had to be short enough that I wouldn’t knock into it getting our daughter in and out of her crib, AND it had to be high enough that there was no way she could reach it. Once the strands were tied off on the dowel, I was ready to fill in the upper rows.

Step 5

 Open GalleryFor the upper rows, I sandwiched two identical cutouts together with glue, positioning the thread between them. The double layers added some weight to an otherwise featherlight mobile. (Ha! Sparrows, FEATHER-light … errrrr, sorry. Bad bird pun.) I measured the distance up between the row beneath, and then worked my way up, alternating the different color sparrows and the flowers.

Step 6

 Open GalleryOnce everything was dry and ready, I used two 3M Clear Command Hooks to attach the dowel to the ceiling. I chose this route instead of anything more permanent because, though I like to pretend our girl will always be a toddler, she’s not THAT far off from a big girl bed and then a millisecond later, arranging her room herself. (Sigh.) I wanted to avoid having to patch unsightly holes in the ceiling if possible. I did some minor adjusting to the strands and quick as a bunny, the mobile was finished. She gets a huge kick out of it every morning, going from sleepyhead to shouting “Good morning!” to her birdies each day. Not a bad way to kick off the day — on a cheerful note.

Materials

  • Invisible thread or fishing line
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Wooden dowel
  • Glue
  • 3M Clear Command Hooks

Tools

  • Scissors
About Ellen Foord 

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As the founder, designer, and one-woman workforce behind Minnow + Co, a tight budget has never stopped this DIY-girl-at-heart from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every ...

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2 Responses

  1. atkokosplace says:

    What a lucky little girl to have such a wonderfully creative mom!

  2. Charlie says:

    Really enjoy your tips and suggestions…please keep them coming.

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