Mobiles are easy to make, but very time consuming. I'll be working on even a simple one, and suddenly look at the clock halfway through and realize two hours have passed. You have to have a lot of patience for repeatedly tying up and snipping off thread, and possibly re-doing a bunch of strands if the length comes out wrong. Here are some examples of ones I've made:
A couple of mobile-making tips:
- Snap up Christmas ornaments when they inevitably go on sale for 70% off two weeks before Christmas even arrives. You can often buy whole sets for a couple bucks during these sales. If you go for the colors and designs that are less Christmas-centric, you can make mobiles to hang all year round.
- Look for sales on necklace pendants and spacer beads. Especially look for metal and wood components that have holes for stringing on both the top and bottom. The first photo above is of a mobile I made pretty recently, and it includes necklace pendants, chandelier baubles, keychains, tiny bells, pieces from bracelet kits, metal flowers, and a cardstock Alice from Alice in Wonderland meant for including inside a greeting card. If it's got a punch hole in it or a jump ring attached, go nuts.
- Use black thread instead of, well, any other color when stringing your mobiles. Unless they're hanging in very bright light all the time, black thread will be almost invisible, and makes a huge difference when it comes to the aesthetic of the finished product. Also, once you've tied something off, try to cut the tail of thread down as far as possible, so there won't be little visible bits of it everywhere.
- The easiest way that I've found to make round mobiles is to use embroidery hoops. They're cheap and sold anywhere that has a craft section. Using really cool vintage found objects as bases for mobiles is the fantasy, but unless you hit up estate sales and such with the enthusiasm of a pub crawl, it can be very hard to find ring-or-round-shaped things like that to use. Don't even worry about the embroidery hoop colors. With the help of some glue or double-sided tape, they can be wrapped in whatever color ribbon you like.
- This one bears mentioning for absolute beginners: String your base and hang it to work on it. Add a really long string and hang it from the ceiling or a hook or whatever low enough so that when you're standing in front of it, it's at a height where your arms won't start painfully aching as you work. If you need to be able to sit, hang it even lower so that when you're sitting in a chair you can comfortably reach it. Hell, hang it above your bed to work on it, so you can REALLY be comfortable. (I do this a lot.) When it's done, you can shorten the string to whatever height you need.
That's about it. Enjoy!