Kinetic mobiles are moving sculptures that react to stimuli—the wind, a hand, a moth—with motion. In their simplest form, they can be merely styrofoam balls on wire, bouncing in a breeze. At their most elaborate, they are giant art installations that move like living trees made of metal. To create your own hanging kinetic mobile, combine movement, colour and rigid structure in a delicate balance until you have a shape that dances the way you want.
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Wind chimes are a common form of kinetic mobile. To create your own chime, gather large beads, bells, shells and other objects that can dangle and rattle together. While wearing gloves, use wire cutters and pliers to create a small hoop of metal from a clothes hanger. String your found items onto fishing line and suspend the lines from the hoop. Use chain or additional fishing line to hang the mobile from a porch or patio, keeping the circle of metal level. When the wind blows, your bits of shell, glass beads and bells will rustle and move together.
Spinning Mobile for Kids
Children can make simple mobiles using paper plates and construction paper. Paint and decorate a paper plate, then cut it into a spiral shape, starting at the outside and curving inward. Cut out shapes from the construction paper—try animals, geometric shapes or stars. Tape the shapes to colourful yarn, then punch holes in the “arms” of the paper plate, and attach the strings of shapes. Hang the mobile from the centre of the plate. It will spin and twirl as the wind catches the paper shapes.
Use your wire cutters and pliers to bend two clothes hangers into arches. Secure the arches together at the highest points of their curves. From the ends of the arches, hang strings of beads, painted wooden balls, small dolls or any other item the wire can support. Stagger the sizes of the items so that one arch has slightly heavier items on its ends than the other arch. Once it is levelly suspended from its centre point, when the wind—or a hand—causes the items to move, the whole mobile will bob and swirl.
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