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  • Writer's pictureisabellerieken

Materials: Baby Mobile(not suitable for babies)

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

Prompt: Fabricate something using primarily two different materials.  Let’s say the project is roughly 40% one material, 40% the other.  The materials cannot be acrylic or plywood (unless you are gluing up your own plywood).  The work should be held together using fasteners of your choosing.


I wanted to experiment with a different kind of wood for sure. My original goal was to use a new machine, but I didn't quite get there this week. I need however learn to shape wire for mobiles which I really wanted to do (Thank you Ben!).

My idea was to make a whacky mobile. In my mind that may of been made up of colorful acrylic, but seeing how we couldn't use acrylic and I wanted to experiment with a new type of wood, I chose walnut. For the whacky aspect I chose to make the hanging shapes limbs of a creepy baby doll.

Materials: 1/8" thick walnut, aluminum 18 gauge wire, tung oil, hydrogen peroxide

Learning to bend wire & cutting pieces (Day 1):

I still chose to laser cut the walnut pieces to get the intricate shapes that I desired. There were some burn marks, but I wasn't upset with them. I left small holes in the top because I was going to fasten them with a thin thread to the wire. The one downside of laser cutting, is the other side is not as pretty and mobiles often rotate. Online they sell "protective" film, but I had no way to get any in time and wasn't sure if it would work in our laser cutter.

Because the wire was already coiled, I struggled to make arms that were as straight as I wanted, but I kept practicing and made some compromises with my design.

To make the top/middle loop, I tightly wrapped the wire around a screw driver. For the loops at the end I used the "wire looper" (I couldn't find the name) that we were introduced to in the first couple weeks of class.

I made many of these that I wasn't satisfied with, but they got better with each one I made.

Here are a couple first tries:

Official wires and layout (Day 2):

The goal this day was to complete all the pieces and have them ready for assembly and finish. In total I made 5 wire arms. The tactics I used to make them all look a little bit more uniform including hammering them as flat as I could and also cutting them to approximately the same lengths.

The layout:

The next step I was more worried about... I wasn't sure how to balance the mobile perfectly. The only thing I could think of to do was put it together to visually see the weight distribution.

Finishes and Assembly (Day3):

I started my finishing the wood pieces with tung oils. This worked out great after testing it out on my too small baby head (you can see the difference on the right). It also really blended in the burn marks on the back of each piece from the laser cutter so it looked a lot nicer.

Unfortunately, I did not find time to polish the steel wire with hydrogen peroxide but I plan on it!

Lastly, I had some problems with the overall physics of mobiles. I didn't put in a lot of thought to the physics and balances and kind of just built it how I thought it should look. So it turned out lopsided and a little crooked, but I still am proud of the product and think I can improve upon my mobile building skills in the future.

Final Product:

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