Decorating With Mobiles: A DIY Project

“To most people who look at a mobile, it’s no more than a series of objects that move. To a few, though, it may be poetry.” Sculpture artist extraordinaire and mobile master, Alexander Calder may have been the first to philosophize about the connection between art, poetry and mobiles, but many have embraced using mobiles as home décor. Babies particularly enjoy mobiles with bright dingily objects that capture their attention as they float above cribs.

My uncle channeled the “poetry” in the art form and created gently moving mobiles inspired by Calder. In the 60’s, my cousins and I would whiz by the handmade mobiles that my uncle crafted, as they moved suspended by thin wire or fishing line in the house. Some of his mobiles were a direct homage to Calder with dangling brightly colored shapes. Others would become early renditions of eco-art, as they reflected the environment of the family’s mid-century waterfront home. These mobiles were created from driftwood, shells or whatever flotsam and jetsam caught his fancy during walks on the beach. He was an engineer by trade, and it seemed that he could easily balance objects to make them float like they were suspended in mid-air.

5 quick facts about mobiles:

1. Mobiles were developed by Alexander Calder in 1932 and named by Marcel Duchamp.

2. Mobiles were often constructed of colored metal pieces connected by wires or rods, the mobile has moving parts that are sensitive to a breeze or light touch.

3. Mobiles can be designed to hang from the ceiling or stand free on the floor.

4. Mobiles became popular in the 1950’s for interior decoration.

5. Mobiles are considered to be a type of moving sculptural artwork.

Want to add a mobile to your home’s decor? Try this Calder inspired project from Wikipedia’s How to Create a Calder Mobile.

Here are some other DIY mobiles to inspire and create:

This is a beautiful bird mobile  that would be delightful in any nursery (and a great shower gift). It could be made using fabric scraps and twigs.

Craftzine has posted a mobile made from recycled magazine pages here.

This mobile uses simple wood shapes from a craft shop. It could easily be created using natural objects found at home.

Here are a bunch of eco-friendly art mobiles from YUMMY INK.

Photo credit: wikipedia

Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley. 

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David Jones
David Jones5 years ago


gail d.
gail dair5 years ago


Parker Lindsey
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing information on mobile, since last eight years I am using mobile phones but I don't know about any above mentioned facts.


Maija Sarkkinen
Maija S6 years ago

ohhhh.. i'm excited! you know how 'things' seem to come when the time is right [read: coincidentally], well, just yesterday i read a book on bedroom decorating fen shui style. i think a mobile might be the perfect touch! thank you so much Ronnie
[by the way, to me coincidentally really is synchronistically]