I knew I wanted to DIY a mobile for the Trikester’s room, and when I ran across Etsy seller sqrlbee (could the name be any more perfect?), I found the perfect inspiration. I loved these mobiles because they were modern, bright, and cheerful. I liked the fuzzy floating orbs and the whimsy. Now to make my own.
The first step was to figure out how to make the felted wool balls. Mama Tricycle is a fiber artist who works mostly in wool. She’d made hundreds of these fuzzy balls for my cousin’s wedding, so she was my go-to resource for the process. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail, but basically, to make felted wool balls, you do the following:
1) You need wool roving. You can order it online to get all kinds of different colors – just do a Google search, or you can get basic colors at places like JoAnn Fabrics.
2) I used a wet felting method. Basically, you coat your hands in dish soap and then pull off a hunk of wool. You add a tiny bit of water to your hands and carefully work the wool in a wet soapy ball. This is the most important step and it takes the longest. You have to treat the soapy wool like a delicate baby chick. You’re not compressing the ball at all, but rather just shaping it. If you don’t do this step right, you’ll end up with cracked balls. And no one likes a cracked ball.
3) Once you have a PERFECT fluffy ball where ALL the fibers are coated in soap, you start to add a little pressure as you roll the ball between your hands – just like if you were working with cookie dough. You then alternate between rinsing the wool balls in hot and cold water. As you do this step, the ball will become very dense. Here’s a good YouTube video demonstrating the process.
As an alternative to making your own felted balls, you can buy 100 of them on Etsy for $35.00. Honestly, if I were to do it again, I’d buy the balls (assuming I could find the right colors). There’s a big learning curve and it was pretty time consuming.
In addition to the felted wool balls, you’re going to need a mobile frame. I used this Kikkerland one from Amazon.
Here are the steps for assembling your mobile:
1) Count the number of hanging points on your mobile frame. You’ll need this many strands of balls.
2) Layout your balls in pleasing patterns. You’re going to want the same number of balls in each strand, or at least the same weight of balls in each strand. I did my arranging on a pizza box so it was easy to pick up and move the project without messing everything up.
3) Take about 24 inches of thread, and add a small bead. Move the bead to the center of the thread, and using an overhand knot, secure the bead.
4) Add a needle to your thread (unless you have really big balls a standard sewing needle should be fine) and begin stringing the balls by skewering them through the middle with the needle. Space the balls at the desired intervals as you thread.
5) Now you’ll need to find a way to connect your strand to the mobile. If you use the type of mobile frame I bought, you can tie jump rings to the top of each strand. Push your top ball down a little bit so you have some room to tie a knot. Add a jump ring to the thread, and tie it on securely.
6) Finally, assemble your mobile frame, and hang your ball strands from the mobile’s circular clips. It might take a little maneuvering to get them on (I had to use an metal nail file to pry them apart a bit), but it’s doable.
Volia! A felted ball mobile. If this sounds like too much work, but you still like the idea, you can always buy one from sqrlbee’s Etsy shop.