Foam and Wire Mobile
A step by step lesson plan that shows you how to construct a foam and wire mobile.
By Diane Overmyer [Diane is an artist and art educator: www.dianeovermyer.com]
When I teach several different lessons with children I like to teach some aspect of art and then follow it up with an art project that reinforces what I am trying to teach. For this lesson I came up with a fun mobile project that each child could make. This was pretty easy for all of the kids, (ages 9 – 11) in my class and they really had a blast with constructing the foam dangle portions for their mobiles. I would highly recommend this project for young and old alike, simply because it is easy, yet can be as involved as anyone would like it to be.
What You Need:
- Plastic wrapped medium weight wire. (The author purchased hers in the hardware department at Wal-Mart).
- Needle nose wire cutters. The needle nose cutters work well for bending the little loops at the end and in the center of each wire.
- Fishing line, or heavy thin string. The mobile in the photo is made with black button thread, but the rest were made with fishing line, which looked even better.
- Flat Fun Foam sheets. (The author picked these up at Hobby Lobby, but they are found in other arts and craft stores as well).
Note from the author: In addition to a box of 5 x 7 multi-colored sheets, I also purchased a box of bright small precut shapes and some fun stick-on shapes, such as flowers and sports balls for the kids to use. You of course may opt to use more and let your creative juices flow! Also if you don’t have the foam, any number of other light weight yet fairly rigid materials can be used. I.E. poster board, things from nature, etc.
- A paper clip (to punch the holes for the fishing line)
- White glue that dries clear.
What You Do:
- Precut top (25′ or so) and button (13′ or so) hanging wires. Depending on the ages of the children that you are working with, you may want to have all of the wire bent for the children, so they only have to worry about the foam dangles. Due to our time crunch, I did this prior to the beginning of our class.
- Make a sample for children to see. I cut some spiral shapes and then made a single cut halfway into the spiral, and another cut halfway into a small foam piece. I then intersected the two pieces at the place where they had been cut. I also cut out some random shapes and using the same technique I made some other shapes. There is no right or wrong way to make the dangle portion of the mobile, just be sure that the pieces to get too wide or too long, so that they collide and stop the mobile from moving freely.
- The joints to the foam, or any over laid sections, can be easily glued with a drop or two of glue.
- Once the glue is dry, poke a hole with one of the single wires of the paper clip into the top of each dangle creation.
- Tie the two pieces of wire together, leaving 3″ to 6″ of space between the two wires. Tie the fishing line fairly tight onto each of the eyes at the end of the wires, and in the center of the bottom wire. Leave about 4″ to 5″ of line hanging and attach a dangle to each end. Also tie a loop of line onto the top of the mobile so it will twirl easily.
- Double check the knots to make sure they are tight. You many need to double tie them. A square knot works well, but you can always drop a dot of glue onto each knot just to be on the safe side.
- Hang the mobiles in a place where there is air movement, such as in front of an open window.