Butterfly Mobile

Several mobile projects have been presented. In this project, the paper butterflies will be suspended from rigid armature as shown in the picture.

This project is rated: MODERATE

Materials needed:
  • Computer paper or card stock
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Colored tissue paper or cellophane
  • Needle and thread
  • Wire, sticks, or dowel rod

Project Instructions

You will need 3 or more butterflies. Make each as follows:

  1. Print the butterfly pattern at right on regular computer paper or optionally on card stock.
  2. Cut out the interior parts of the wings. There are 8 pieces to cut out, 4 on each half of the pattern.
  3. Cut around the outside of the rectangle marked with dashed lines. This is only to reduce the size of the piece to make it easier to work with.
  4. Carefully fold the remaining piece along the dashed line. Fold it so that the printed pattern is on the outside and that the empty spaces line up perfectly with each other. When aligned, make a good crease along the dashed line.
  5. Open the piece so that the two parts are approximately at right angles to each other. Place the piece on a surface covered with a protective material such as newspaper. Cover the horizontal piece with glue. Select a piece of colored tissue paper (or cellophane) that is a little larger than the part covered with glue. Press the tissue paper into the glue.
  6. Re-position the piece so that the other half is horizontal and coat it with glue.
  7. Press the two halves together and let the glue dry.

  8. Cut out the butterfly around the outside edges, cutting through all 3 layers of the assembled butterfly.
  9. You can add some feelers to your butterflies, if you want. Use any material of your choice.

Mobile Instructions

  1. Cut a length of thread about 8 inches long.
  2. Double the thread and put the loop end through the eye of a needle. Knot the loose ends together.
  3. Find the balance point of the butterfly, and push the need through the body from the under side.
  4. Pull the thread through the hole until the knot is against the bottom of the body.
  5. Remove the needle. It may be necessary to place a dot of glue on the knot to secure the thread.
Butterfly mobile
Butterfly pattern

Once you have made the butterflies that you will use, it is time to make the hanging mechanism. You can suspend your butterflies from wire, like below, or sticks, or dowel rods.

mobile wire

If you select wire, the most commonly used type is coat hanger wire. It is good, but may be difficult to work with. Another choice is 18 gauge galvanized steel wire which can be purchased at a hardware store. You can make your wire (rod or twig) any length you find suitable. For the first piece, I recommend a length of about 8 inches.

Suspend the Mobile

  1. Take two of your butterflies and suspend them with thread (or string) from each end of your wire (rod or twig.)
  2. Next add a thread at the balance point to support this entire assembly. To keep the thread from sliding, it may be necessary to fasten it with a dot of glue.

  3. Set aside the part that you have made and cut a longer piece of wire (rod or twig) for the next step.

  4. Select a third butterfly and suspend it from one end of the long wire. Suspend the other part that you have made in steps 1. and 2. from the other end of the wire.

  5. Add a thread to the long wire to hold the entire completed mobile. You must position this thread by trial and error to find the correct balance point.
Butterfly mobile image
Butterfly mobile image

You have now completed a mobile. You can hang it from a light fixture or a hook in the ceiling.

You can make even more complex mobiles by repeating or varying the steps given. You can add another longer wire and butterflies repeatedly. Or, you can make additional two butterfly assemblies and incorporate them into larger mobiles. Or, you can make two or more mobiles as illustrated and use them to maker a single larger mobile. The options are only limited by your imagination.

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