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How to Make a Felt & Wire Mobile by Suzie Fry

The following tutorial is kindly provided by the very creative Suzie Fry. You can find further information about Suzie by visiting her blog: www.soozs.blogspot.com


I find watching a mobile gently dancing on a breeze completely mesmerising so I have chosen to make this mobile using a very simple structure that emphasises balance and movement. I’ve used wire and fishing line to hold my objects in place, but you could just as easily use a heavier framework of thin dowels or even smooth branches and string or ribbon.

My objects have some dimensionality because I think mobiles are best if they are interesting to look at from a range of angles. This is especially true if the finished item is to hang above a child or baby’s bed or change table. I’ve used a mix of wet felted wool balls and sewn felt stars with a few beads thrown in for interest.

Materials you will need

Wire coat hanger or other wire

Pliers with wire cutters

Wool rovings in a range of colours as well as undyed

Bowls with hot soapy and cold water

Wool felt

Needles and cotton, including one very long or ‘doll making’ needle

Beads or other embellishments

Fishing line or strong thread

Hot glue gun

Making the structure

Snip the three straight sides from the coat hanger and bend the ends to loops. Make sure the loops face the same way and the finished bent wire sits flat.

Using fishing line attach the shorter pieces (the lower tier) the longer piece (the upper tier) using the loops on the upper tier and tying the line roughly in the centre of the lower pieces.

To make the felt balls start by choosing your colour palette from dyed wool rovings.

I chose the warm colours of yellow, orange and red, but cool colours also look great.

Prepare two bowls of water for the felting. Fill one with hot soapy water, the other with clean cool water.

For smaller balls you can make beads in a single step. Take a handful of wool and roll it up tight into a ball.

Dip it into the hot water until it is fully wet and then gently roll it between your palms.

As you roll, the wool will gradually shrink and harden to felt. As it firms you can apply an increasing amount of pressure. Occasionally dip it again into the soapy water to keep it wet and if it becomes too soapy rinse it with a dip in the cool water. When the ball is firmly felted rinse in the cool water, roll out excess moisture on a paper towel and leave to dry.

For larger balls start with a core of undyed wool. You can use coloured wool, but as you won’t see this inner layer it is more economical to use undyed wool. Take a handful of wool and repeatedly pull apart to ‘cut’ the fibres.

Until you have a nice fluffy pile.

Ball the wool in your hand, dip it in the hot water and very gently start to roll the ball between cupped hands.

It will take some time to reach a smooth ball so you need to be patient. The more wool you start with, the longer it takes and the harder it is to get a good finish, so start modestly.

When it is firm and roughly ball shaped you can start adding skins. If you would like to greatly increase the size of your ball you can add one or more undyed skins to make it bigger before adding coloured skins for decorative effects.

Make a mat of wool that is roughly even in thickness and large enough to fully cover your core ball.

Pull the mat over the skin to form a new ball

Dip in the hot water, roll between your palms as before. As you start the skin will be much looser than the underlying ball so be careful to be gentle and to try and work the skin evenly as it shrinks.

When the ball is well felted you can rinse and then add further skins using the same method. Using a mat that is uneven or only partially covers your ball will create interesting multi coloured effects on the final skin. Be careful to start the felting gently so as not to dislodge the covering and create a lumpy finish.

When the balls are dry thread each one on to a length of fishing line using a long strong needle such as a doll making needle.

You can add beads or other decorations to the line if you wish.

To make your other objects, choose a shape and cut this from felt. I have used a simple star here, but any shapes or motifs work just as well. For each object you will need two matching shapes to sew together either in the same colour or different colours if you want more variation.

Embellish your shapes before you sew them together. I have used a mixture of contrasting felt shapes, beads and flower shaped sequins on my stars. Shapes can also be painted or stamped using wool compatible dyes.

Stitch the two shapes together using blanket stitch and stuff with wool rovings.

Once the objects are complete, thread on lengths of fishing line, again adding beads or other decorative items if you wish.

Putting it all together

Assemble the mobile by adding objects to each of the loops on the lower tiers, and one centrally to each of the three wire structures. I have chosen to do this symmetrically, adding balls to each loop and stars to each centre but you can just as easily create beautiful asymmetrical mobiles by adding more or heavier objects to one end or other of the supporting wires.

Once all the objects are attached, hang the mobile from a doorframe or other free standing position and adjust for balance. Do this by sliding the fishing lines in the centres of the wires to the side until the objects on that wire hang in balance. When all the lines are correctly placed and in balance place a small dot of glue from the hot glue gun over the lines to secure their position.

More About Suzie

Suzie teaches sewing classes with a difference in Melbourne and also makes and sells some wonderful patterns which we will aim to highlight in upcoming articles.  You may also like to visit http://shop.inkandspindle.com.au/collections/fabric-packs-and-kits where you will find some of Suzie’s patterns. Further patterns can be found at Ravelry or by emailing Suzie soozs.com@gmail.com