You can craft a mobile in almost any theme. The basic structure for most mobiles is the same, but after you have built the structure, imagination is the only limit in crafting an interesting mobile design. Mobiles are useful for both decoration and education. Hang aeroplanes, delicate origami or brightly coloured toys, or you can even make mobiles to teach mathematics.
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Use wooden dowels and yarn or twine to craft the basic structure of a hanging mobile. For the sturdiest mobile, drill holes in the ends and the very middle of the dowels with a small drill bit and thread the twine through. Tie and knot the twine. Each level of the mobile will take up more space than the one above it, so start with just one or two levels. To begin the structure of the mobile, make a cross by placing two dowels on top of each other. Match up the middle drill holes. Thread twine through both holes and tie together. To secure the cross, wrap twine around the dowels where they touch. Knot to secure, and leave some extra twine from which to hang the mobile. Thread and knot pieces of twine through the holes on either end of each dowel in the cross. You should have four ends with strings hanging down. Thread the bottom of each of these four strings through the middle hole of a dowel. You now have four dowels hanging below the cross. Thread and knot twine through the end holes of the four hanging dowels; eight strings are now hanging down.
Attach lightweight hanging objects to the ends of the eight pieces of string to complete the mobile. Origami cranes or other shapes make effective, lightweight mobiles. Attach fancy paper aeroplanes to a handcrafted mobile. Or, choose small stuffed animals; you can sew the bears yourself out of fabric scraps and pillow stuffing to match the decor of the room where the mobile will hang. In the winter, hang snowflakes doilies, and in the summer, look for pictures of butterflies on stained-glass paper to colour and hang.
Heavier objects are not recommended because of the potential for accident or injury should they fall. However, you can craft a mobile with wire instead of twine to make a sturdier structure. Find appropriate wire at any craft store's jewellery findings section. Alternatively, use fisherman's monofilament line to make your mobile elements hang almost invisibly in an airy, lightweight manner that is very strong, using 5.44kg. or even 11.3kg. test line to ensure the line will never break.
You can demonstrate math concepts using simple mobiles crafted in the classroom. Craft classroom mobiles demonstrating prime factorisation of numbers. For this project, don't make the typical cross at the top of the mobile. Start with a simple, wire coat hanger. Use a clothespin to attach a piece of paper to the hanger. Write a large number on the paper, the number that must be reduced to its prime factors. Use a hole punch and yarn to hang squares of paper down the mobile. For example, to create a mobile that demonstrates the prime factorisation of 36, start with the number "36" clipped to the coat hanger. Punch two holes in the bottom of 36, and tie two pieces of yarn. Since 6 x 6 = 36, tie two papers with "6" written on each under the slip of paper marked "36." And, in 2 x 3 = 6, since 2 and 3 are prime numbers, under each "6," hang a "2" and a "3."
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