Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Mobile

It has been months since I have posted! I moved into my very own apartment in March, and have been going wild with planning, buying furniture, decorating, and moving things around.  This weekend, I decided to make a paper mobile to decorate my bedroom! I have a ton of assorted textures, colors, and weights of paper left over from my graphic design classes in college. Since I am all about finding a use for everything, I decided I would make a mobile out of this paper.

Here's the finished mobile:

  • 5-6 pieces of cardstock weight paper, varying shades of white/cream
  • Scissors
  • Linen/Cream colored thread/string (thicker, like for bookbinding)
  • Butterfly, or other shape silhouette for the mobile
  • A sturdy, interestingly shaped twig from your yard, roughly 3 inches.
  • Clamp/clip/friend to assist.
  • Ceiling hook, screw in


1. Find a stick/twig that has an interesting look to it, and doesn't look too fragile. I washed it in warm water with soap, and let it dry overnight.

2. I chose a combination of white, off-white, and cream toned card stock. Some are more textured; others smooth. Either a monotone or more contrasting, bright color scheme could work! Pick whatever you want to match your space.

3. Then I folded the paper over to begin cutting out the butterflies. I freehand cut them out with the fold down the center of the butterfly. If you prefer more exacting butterflies, you can create yourself a template to make sure they are the same. I prefer the organic, freestyle aspect, as no two butterflies look exactly the same.

4. Cut out a variety of different sizes and colors, depending on how many different types of paper you have to use, and how busy you would like your mobile to look. You can make the mobile as long or as short as you want. I would just keep in mind where this mobile will hang, and what size will look proportional in that space.

5. Use the thread/string to tie around the center of each cutout. To make your butterflies hang and balance correctly, tie the knot at the "top" of each. You may have to experiment with the placement of the knot so that they will hang right. The way each hangs depends on the weight of your string and the paper you are using. Make sure to cut the length of the string for each butterfly overly long, so that you will have lots of options for placement. (I cut at least 4 feet of string for each).

6. After tying string to each butterfly cutout, I laid them all out on the floor so that I could see all of my options. If you have a vision of how you want this to look, you may want to sketch out the general layout of the butterflies. I like to just "wing it"  hehe.

7. This is the step where you may want someone to help you. To avoid getting everything tangled, have a friend hold the twig you washed in step one. Tie your first butterfly to the twig. Whatever excess string you have, wrap it tightly around the twig and finish with a tight knot.

8. Tightly wrap all excess string to the twig. This may take a while, and your friend may want a break for their arms :)

9. Repeat until you have filled out your mobile.

10. I saved one of my tiny butterflies to tie directly to the twig, to look like it just landed.

11. To create the little strap to hang the mobile, I used a little friendship bracelet inspiration from back in the day.  I used 5 pieces of string, roughly 3 feet each and twisted them all together. Then I folded them in half so that the string twisted together again, making a thicker 'string.' Using the looped end, I put it around the end of the twig. I tied off the other end as needed.

All finished!

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