Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DIY Cloud Mobile

One of my goals as of late, has been to put more tutorials here on the ol' blog.  I'm pretty crafty by nature, and usually when I see something I like, I do a mental scan to see if it's something I can make myself.  Of course, it's also been my goal to finish the nursery before Ruby goes off to college.  Then the Youngsters issued their seasonal Pinterest challenge, and that was just enough to light a fire under my buns.

You'd think that being a Seattlite, I'd be cloud-averse, but nope.  Upon checking my Pinterest board, I noticed I had several inspiration pictures of cloud mobiles pinned already.

sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Looking at the above images, I knew that this was a project in the scope of my (and most people's ability), and as an added bonus, I had a lot of the supplies already.  I only spent about $5 to get the remainder of what I needed.  None of these images had tutorials, so why not make my own?

First, gather your supplies.

It would be wise to make a template of sorts for your clouds and drops.  I made mine out on graph paper, so I could keep things somewhat symmetrical (especially for the drops).  You'll also need felt in white and several coordinating colors, thread to match, polyester fiberfill, a 12" embroidery hoop (just the inner circle, craft paint, fishing line or clear beading string (which is what I used, since that's what I found at the craft store), a needle for hand sewing, and an eye hook or cup hook to hang it.  I also used scissors (duh), a cheap foam paint brush, some hot glue, and an air-soluble marker.

The first thing you want to do is paint your hoop.  I learned the hard way that spray paint on a hoop is NOT the way to go.  I couldn't really get it on the sides, so I switched over to white craft paint.  Sorry that part is not pictured.  I actually decided to make this tutorial after I was already finished!  I think you all know how to paint, though.

Using your templates that you made, cut out six cloud pieces and 18 drop pieces.  If you're using all different colors like I did, make sure your fronts and backs are matching.  I found it easiest to trace the clouds first (this is where I used my air-soluble marker, but you could use a pencil), but for the drops, I just held the template on there and cut around.

Once you have your pieces, it's time to start stitching.

Start on the inside of the two pieces, to hide your knot.  Make sure you're using thread that matches the color of your clouds/drops.

Side note: I had every color thread I needed except for orange.  I really didn't want to go buy orange thread for one little drop, but I had a genius moment.  I threaded up my needle with the right length of yellow thread, then ran an orange sharpie over the length of it!  It worked (and matched) perfectly!

Anyway, continue sewing around until you have about a thumbs width left of space to go. 

I found that starting my thread in that particular spot (about 1/3 of the way from the top) made it easiest to stuff.  Which is your next step.  Stuff the drops as much as you like...

Stop to take a picture of your sweet doggie when she wanders into your work area...

And stitch that bad boy the rest of the way closed.

To hide this knot, place your needle between the two layers of felt (as shown above), and pull through. Knot your thread, then point your needle down between the layers and push it out through the puffy part of the drop.  Like so:

Pull your thread all the way through, a little bit tightly, and snip your thread.  When you let go, the tail will suck back into the stuffing and your knot will be hidden!

Repeat those steps for all of the drops and the clouds.  The process is exactly the same for the clouds, only you'll want to leave a slightly larger space for stuffing.

Once you have three stuffed clouds and nine stuffed drops, it's time to put them together.  Lay out all of your pieces and decide on a color arrangement for the drops that looks good to you.  I made sure I had none of the same color per cloud, and that none of the repeating colors were in the same positions (so, like, one light pink was centered, and one was on the side). 

Now cut a length of your fishing line.  Knot one end and thread your needle.  Find the bottom center of 
a drop and separate the two layers of felt (like you did when you were about to knot your colored thread).  Insert the needle there and finagle it up through the center of the drop so that it comes out at the point in between the two layers.  Pull it all the way until the knot reaches the felt.

You can juuuuust barely see the clear knotted fishing line in the photo above.  We don't want to see it at all, so gently tug the string until the knot pops into the drop.  You don't want to pull it completely through and out, so once it pops through the bottom, stop.

Your needle should still be threaded with the fishing line, now with a drop dangling at the bottom.  Pick up a cloud.  Find the desired location of where you want your drop to hang, and make a few stitches right on top of the white ones you did when you were sewing your cloud together.  The fishing line is slippery, so pull the string only to the desired length of your drop (I made my middle drops hang a little longer and just eyeballed the side ones until they were about even with each other.

Just like you did before, you're going to hide your knot.  Stick the needle through one layer, knot, and push it up into the middle of the cloud, then out.  Pull a little bit and cut your string so that it sucks back inside.  Knot hidden!  Repeat with all of the remaining drops.

To attach the clouds to the hoop, first I did a bit of math.  I wanted them evenly spaced around my hoop, so I found the circumference (12" x 3.14 = 37.68), but then divided it by 3 (since I have 3 clouds) to get 12.56".  So, I needed to hang my clouds roughly every 12.5".  Since pi is pretty close to 3, you could just use the diameter and hang them 12" apart, but one section would obviously be a little bigger.  Have I lost you yet?  =)  Just measure around the hoop and make little marks every 12.5".

Cut a long piece of fishing line and attach it to the top of the cloud with a couple of stitches and a knot (use our now-familiar knot hiding technique).  Wrap the other end of the line around the hoop at your mark, and tie a knot.  I wrapped mine around a few times for strength and to get a length I liked.  Then, because the end was sticking out a bit, I secured everything with a dab of hot glue.

Same thing goes for the other two clouds, but I varied the length of the strings, so I had a short, medium, and long (they ended up at 5", 7.5", and 10").

Now we need to make it hang.  I cut three really long pieces of fishing line.  I just looped it under at the same spots where the clouds were attached, and tied a knot (see pic above).  Once I had my three double-strings, I grabbed them all and, evenly as I could (I held it up to check for balance), tied them all together in the middle.

I knew I needed to make some sort of loop to make it hang.  After rummaging around, I found that I only had an eye hook.  If you're using a cup hook, you can just make the loop and hang it afterward.  If you use an eye hook, like me, thread all 6 pieces of your string through the eye, then knot them all together by your first knot.  Pull very tightly to make sure the knot is secure (this string is slippery!) and trim the ends if they are really long.

Here's where I ran into a problem.  How was I going to hide the ends?  I decided to cover them up with a little heart "cloud".  I cut two identical hearts out of white felt (about 1.5" across).  I started at the top and sewed half-way around, then sandwiched the heart around my knots, tucking the ends of the string in too.  I added a little bit of poly-fill here too, for good measure, then continued stitching my way around.

Screw your hook into the ceiling, and you're done!  Stand back and admire your work.

Admire the little whimsical, hand-stitched details...

Stop and take a picture of your adorable baby's crazy bed-head...

And admire some more.

Ruby just loves it.  Whenever we're by her crib, she points or reaches out for it, and loves to stare up at it when she's laying in bed.

I should say that I don't actually let her touch it, because I don't want the screw to loosen.  Our house is rented, so I did not put in an anchor or find a stud.  The mobile is very light, so I'm confident it will not come down on it's own, and it's high enough up that Ruby can't reach it on her own.  If you're worried about safety, though, anchor yours.  Still, with the strings, it shouldn't be hanging down where baby can grab it anyway (which is true of any mobile).

If you have any questions, please leave a comment.  Like I said, I decided to make this tutorial after I completed mine, so I didn't have pictures of every step.  If anything is confusing, please let me know!

There are lots of other great crafty projects linked up already, too, so go check out what everyone else made!


  1. very very cute. love the rain cloud. and your adorable baby too! your tutorial was fab, really detailed.

    1. Thanks, Rhiannon (you have a very cool name, btw)!

  2. This is absolutely adorable, thank you so much for sharing!! Xxx

  3. Very cute! Is there a way for you to upload the templates you used for the clouds and rain drops? This would really help me as I plan a similar project.

  4. Thank you so so much . I'm plannibg a similar project and this really helped.