Below you’ll find a quick and easy #ArtAtHome assignment: create your own Floating Mobile using objects you find in your home. This art-based challenge is part of a series that celebrates past ArtPrize-winning entries. More art challenges from this series are available here.

Floating Mobile

Make your own mobile to create a sense of balance or imbalance, depending on how you arrange the suspended elements. You can make this by upcycling objects you find in your home.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 sticks as the mobile’s base. You could use:
  • Small sticks you find in your backyard
  • Chopsticks
  • Plastic straws
  • Shish kabob skewers
  • Yarn or thread
  • 2 pipe cleaners (ribbon or tape can work for this step, too)
  • Tape
  • Objects to hang. You could use: Printed photos of your friends and family; Shapes cut out from colorful wrapping paper or tin foil; Puzzle pieces; Leaves and flowers from your yard; Plastic bottle caps; Small metal bells

How to make it:

  • Hold the sticks in an X shape and wrap tightly in place with the pipe cleaner (or ribbon or tape) to make the cross-piece for your mobile. Add a loop to hang it from if you would like. 
  • Cut 4 pieces of thread as long as your forearm and tie one to each of the 4 ends of the cross-piece.
  • Choosing from the hangable objects you collected around the house, tape your favorite along the length of each hanging thread.
  • Try hanging more strings from the cross-piece and see how it affects the balance of your mobile.
  • Hang your mobile up at home and see how the air currents affect the suspended shapes. Does it cast a shadow on the ground or reflect light onto the walls? Try hanging it in the sunlight to make it shine.
  • Make another mobile for someone in your family!

Our Inspiration for this Challenge:

Rain by Lynda Cole, Third Place Public Vote Winner at ArtPrize in 2011

Rain is a kinetic sculpture using squares of silver leaves on polyester film. The squares are suspended and move with air currents, creating a slow natural motion, like rain. Artist Lynda Cole compares the gentle feeling of this motion to the sensation one has when watching water on the ocean, shadows on the wall, or clouds against the sky. As the geometric shapes in this kinetic sculpture shift, they transform shape and cast new shadows on the gallery floor.

A mobile is a type of sculpture that is built out of delicate suspended components that move in response to air currents or motor power. A kinetic sculpture is a 3-D work of art that has the added dimensions of movement and time. Reflected light and cast shadows can expand out from a piece of artwork to change the feeling of a room.

By Allison Palm on