Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Here fishy fishy...Origami Mobile

This week we've been kicking back and creating a few gifts for someone we know who just had a baby boy. My son and I teamed together to make a mobile using origami. It was well received, but you don't have to make one just like ours--borrow some books on origami from the library, experiment and let your imagination go!

Our journey into origami began last Christmas when my oldest son received an Origami For Beginners Dover Fun Kit from Dover Publications from an aunt. The kit is awesome! It contains 3 starter books, 54 traditional sheets of origami paper in 18 vibrant colors, 24, rainbow sheets in 6 patterns and 18 metallic sheets in 9 shiny foil shades. The retail price on the Fun Kit is $14.95 (US)--what a great deal! My son has used the kit so much throughout the last few months and made all sorts of gifts. That brings us to this week's craft...The Origami Fish Mobile. It's simple to make (my son needed a bit of guidance, but was able to do the origami pieces and gluing himself) and it is inexpensive. It is also a unique gift and he was so proud when the mom opened the package at the hospital. Great job, Big Guy!

Origami Mobile

Supplies Needed:
  • 1/8" Ribbon (about 8 feet or so), we used metallic blue/green
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 10" Wooden Embroidery Hoop
  • 2 Squares Origami Paper (same color) for Sailboats
  • 4 Squares Origami Paper (Various Colors) for Fish
  • 2 12"x12" Sheets Scrapbook Paper for ocean waves (we used aqua blue and a light blue dappled sheet)
  • Glue stick
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Directions to make fish and sailboat (not included due to copyright restrictions, but you can purchase the Dover Kit, borrow books at the library or search online for examples you like)

1. Cut two 48" lengths of ribbon. Holding them together, find the middle and make a knot about 1" from the middle to hang the finished mobile from. 

2. Make another knot about 4" below the first. The space between the knots is where the sailboat will go.

3. Next, separate the two pieces of the embroidery hoop. Place the inside hoop on the table and make four marks that are evenly spaced around the hoop. Attach each of the four strands of ribbon to the hoop using the marks as a guide. I attached the ribbon to the hoop with pieces of tape about 8" from the bottom knot. Make sure you measure appropriately or your hoop will be crooked when the mobile is hanging!

4. Slip the outer portion of the embroidery hoop on and tighten the screw to secure.
5. Cut a few wave-like shapes from the scrapbook paper. Make the ends of the waves pointed so you can overlap them easily. Attach the waves to the hoop using a glue stick, overlapping the waves as you go around the hoop. A couple of layers of waves looks nice.

6. Make the origami fish (you'll need four if you're following these instructions) and the sailboats (you'll need two). I also made two little waves for the sailboat to "sit on" and attached them to the sailboat with a glue stick.

7. Using a hot glue gun, attach the sailboats to both sides of the ribbons between the knots at the top of the mobile. This will allow a boat to be seen from both sides as the mobile turns.
8. Using a hole punch or scissors, snip a small slit in the top of each fish so that you can slip the ribbon into the fish to hang. I unfolded the fish shapes and attached the ribbon to the fish with a dab of hot glue to secure & then refolded the fish. I also trimmed about 4" off of two of the ribbons so my fish were staggered a bit.

9. You are done! Enjoy your mobile & make sure you hang it far from a little one's reach and remove it from the crib as soon as the baby can sit up.


  1. Well done indeed! Your mobile is a success! Great creations. Thank you for sharing. Isn't Dover Publishing just the thing for getting a big bang for your buck? :O)

    1. Thanks, Merrie! I loved making this with my boys--my son was so proud to give it to the new mom! And Dover is so wonderful! I really can't say enough good stuff about them! I subscribe to the weekly Dover Sampler (yay! free stuff!) and I am constantly amazed by all of the titles they offer! Enjoy!


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