I have always, always been a crafter. Even when I was out pursuing my other career dreams over the years, I would come home and spend my nights and weekends on DIY projects. A few years ago it finally occurred to me that I should find a way, if possible, to turn what I enjoyed doing in my spare time into something I could do full time. That is when my party decor brand Sweet Orange Fox was born. Truly, I have never been happier.
Even now, after two years, I still get excited with each and every new order I receive, but there is something absolutely exceptional—although slightly terrifying—about creating items for friends and family. So when I was approached by Toni to design and construct a mobile for Baby Girl Hunt’s nursery, I was flattered, thrilled, and maybe even a bit intimidated!
I spoke briefly with Toni about her color scheme and inspiration for the nursery, and she was completely open to any and all design ideas which is so refreshing. The colors—nude, pink, red and orange—immediately sparked the vision of a tiger jumping through a flaming hoop, but I worried that the concept may be a little out there. After a few days of further brainstorming, I kept coming back to the tiger design and decided to run with it, praying that Toni would be on board. I wanted to put something together that was completely original and could be considered a piece of art but that also felt like it belonged in a baby’s nursery. I hoped it would still resemble a traditional mobile in some fashion.
When I presented the finished product to Toni, I was elated that she loved it as much as I did! While tigers may not necessarily have anything to do with the room’s theme, the playfulness of the concept and the whimsical design will fit right in. She totally got my vision, and I was able to breathe a big sigh of relief!
I’m almost embarassed to admit how simple the construction really is, but I tend to see the most genuine beauty in simplicity. Follow my vibrant tiger mobile tutorial below to create a design of your own, and remember as always to add, omit, edit or otherwise change the individual elements to fit your personal style and decor.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
(2) 19″ silver steel macrame rings
Assorted ribbons, trims, lace*
0.7mm fishing line/jewelry elastic
4 pound fishing line/monofilament line
Fabric scissors (sharp)
*I used approximately (36) spools of assorted trims, ranging from 3 yds to 10 yds each. Choose different textures including organza, burlap, rope, lace, and even tulle to give your mobile more dimension. Also, don’t be afraid to throw in a few colors that aren’t part of the “theme.” I included some mustards, metallics and lots of neutrals to complement the original colors.
Begin by cutting your trims into approximately 7- to 8-inch strips. I cut each strip as I went, because I wasn’t quite sure how much I would need. Using the luggage tag technique (refresh your memory here), attach each strip to the hoop, alternating trims as you see fit. Try to make the knot as tight as possible, and push the strips closer together after every five or six strips. This will help to give you the most possible texture while also keeping the strips secure.
Once you have both hoops filled with as many ribbon strips as possible, it is time to create your 3-D hoop. Insert one hoop through the other, attempting to get them as square as possible. Lining the hoops up with the grout lines on your tile and looking down from above is a great cheat for this.
Gently slide two strips apart on each hoop to expose a section of metal. This will prevent the strips from becoming tangled in the fishing line as well as give you a more secure bond. Using the 0.7mm (or thicker) fishing line, wrap both directions of the junction a generous number of times and secure with multiple knots. Repeat this for even more security. Because of the nature of the hoops, there will still be some movement which is fine.
At this point, I trimmed some of longer strips to make the hoops a little more uniform. After working more with the mobile, the strips may experience some minimal fraying or movement, but you can always go back and trim it up again. It is important also to note that the strips DO move within their place on the hoop, so you will need to adjust them back into position after the mobile is set down on a flat surface, transported, or worked with.
You can also tuck some of the strips behind one another and style as needed for any strips—especially those closer to the top—that may not be hanging as you’d like.
To make the tigers, start by selecting your desired image. Print it out, cut around the tiger, and trace it onto a piece of cardboard. Of course you can freehand your shape as well! Cut out the cardboard figure. Next, start wrapping the cardboard with yarn. Alternate colors, create multiple layers, and get as creative and abstract as you want! Toni mentioned that her nursery had somewhat of a Basquiat inspiration, so I tried to mimic the feel of some of those works in the style of my tigers. You may need a few spots of glue here and there to secure the ends of the yarn, particularly in some of the nooks and crannies between the legs.
Using a needle, feed the 4-pound fishing line through each tiger, leaving an extra long piece of line. Tie a small knot as close to the tiger as possible, and trim the knot’s tail. Hang each tiger in your hoop, placing as desired, and secure with multiple knots at the top of the line. Trim the tails, not too closely, and tuck any visible line into the ribbon strips.
At this point, I decided to add a few yarn poms to give the mobile just a little extra whimsy, but you can certanily stop here and do your final trimming and adjusting. This makes a gorgeous mobile as is!
For the yarn poms, select a medium-sized serving fork and your desired pom colors. Start by wrapping one loop around the fork and tying a knot. Continue wrapping the yarn around the fork, just as you would spaghetti! For this size pom, I usually wrap about 120 times, depending on the thickness of the yarn. After 120 loops, cut the yarn, leaving a long tail. Next, cut a piece of yarn approximately 12 inches long, and insert it through the middle of the fork at the bottom. Bringing the loose piece up on both ends, tie as tight of a knot as you can at the top of the yarn ball. Cut through the yarn ball along each side of the fork (right and left), and slide the ball off of the fork. Start trimming the pom all the way around, little by little, until you have the perfect pom shape. Making poms is definitely something that takes a little bit of trial and error and a lot of practice, so don’t get discouraged if your first few aren’t perfect!
Using the same fishing line technique we used to hang the tigers, attach your yarn poms at various points within the hoops.
You’ve done it! All that is left is hanging the piece in your space. You can play with the height and use different cording or line depending on the look you want to achieve. Always be sure it is secure when suspending over a crib or in a nursery, of course. Have fun with the tiger mobile tutorial. Make it your own. And then enjoy your new, one-of-a-kind mobile.
If you have any questions about adapting this mobile to a different them, leave them below, and be sure to share your creations with us!