An Easy Handmade Nursery Mobile

Wanna see a pregnant lady in a crib? Boom, there it is.

Yes, this is a story all about how my life got twist turned upside down I made our little man a mobile. It’s kinda rustic (it’s made from a manzanita branch) and kinda modern (there are fun circles in a bunch of colors and sizes that hang down at different lengths) and most of all it makes me smile. Is it weird that hanging this actually made me feel more ready to have the little guy in my arms? Like “OK, the mobile’s up – now the baby party can start.”

Much like the mobile I made for Clara’s room (that one was comprised of little floral orbs made from wire, faux flowers, and glue)…

… this one was pretty simple to put together. Clara even helped!

First I dragged my decorative manzanita branch out of the storage room (what? everyone doesn’t have a decorative manzanita branch standing by? well, that needs to be remedied). It was sold by West Elm a few years ago, so it has been bleached and debarked and it’s nice and solid – so there’s no worry of anything flaking off like old bark and falling into the crib. I thought leaving it this raw color would be a nice counterpart to the colorful round disks I wanted to add. As for the dangly strands, I had two paper banners from Target that I picked up for $2.18 on clearance a few months ago without any earthly idea of what I’d eventually use them for.

Once the mobile idea popped into my head, well, they seemed perfect. Except of course they were colors/patterns that didn’t really fit into the nursery scheme thus far. But it wasn’t anything a little craft paint couldn’t solve. So I laid them out on a few old cereal boxes from our recycling bin and Clara had fun helping me paint them. They needed two coats to cover those patterns underneath, but it was pretty easy to get done – even with a wiggly three year old assistant. Mostly it was one of those we-both-hold-the-brush-so-we-don’t-get-paint-all-over-the-strings projects, but she has a lot of pride over the mobile she made for “her baby” and it was a fun thing to do with her.

While those freshly painted circles were drying, I realized they probably wouldn’t be enough to fill out the entire branch (even if I snipped them into smaller 25″ strands). So I broke out some white embroidery floss and decorative paper. Using a few round items around the house I traced multiple versions of three similarly sized circles to the ones in the pre-made banners onto craft paper in similar colors to the paint I used. For the smallest circles I used the base of the craft paint that was still out on the table, the middle ones were from tracing the bottom of another slightly larger bottle I had, and the biggest circles were from the base of a small cup. Then I just cut them out, making sure I had an even number of each.

The even number was important since I used them to sandwich my white embroidery string with some Aleen’s Tacky Glue. Just pressing them together over the string after dabbing them with some glue dots seemed to do the trick, and I spaced them by eye, using the spacing of the Target banners as my guide (those were around two inches apart).

I made each strand around 25″ long, just like the pre-made banners that I had snipped apart to make sections of that length. When everything was dry, it was time to tie them firmly onto the branch at different increments for a nice dangly effect. I hung the branch over the back of two chairs so there was room for my strands to dangle while I tied them on, and I just randomly spaced them so they were all slightly different widths from each other.

At this point Clara was over the project and happily putting stickers on the window nearby (that’s a really nice look from the curb, by the way), but Burger did mosey on over for a peek as I went.

On the topic of hanging things over a crib, we’re definitely paranoid with a side of neurotic. For example, in Clara’s nursery we hung a mirror over her crib, but we actually drilled directly through the frame in multiple places to secure that thing to the wall so tightly that even John couldn’t yank it off the wall – even though it was out of Clara’s actual reach.

So although this mobile weighs a fraction of a pound, we relied on three heavy duty brass plated plant hooks (they each support 10+ lbs and have extra long screws so we could be sure they were either hitting a ceiling beam – two of them did – or a heavy duty anchor that we added) along with extra strong fishing wire that’s almost invisible, so it looks like it’s floating. We just knotted the fishing wire to the branch in three spots that needed some support (both ends and the triangular middle branch area) and connected them to the plant hooks that we secured to the ceiling, directly above those points. And that’s how this pregnant lady found herself chilling in a crib.

I really loved this way of hanging it since it’ll always be out of baby’s reach (this method makes it really easy raise if we ever think it’s within grabbing distance – although once the baby is more mobile we’ll drop the mattress so it’ll be even further away).

It’s amazing how much sweeter the crib feels now. Like it’s saying “bring on the baby!”

Once we got it hanging there was a split second where I wished it was a little bigger, just to fill up that wall more, but it’s almost three feet wide and around 16″ deep and 25″ long, so if it was any bigger the function of it might hinder us since it’s a real-life 3-D object that’s hanging there (we feared we’d hit our heads on it every time we leaned into the crib if it were much bigger). So after staring at it for a while I’ve come to peace with its size.

John actually ordered two samples of Spoonflower wallpaper that he thinks could be fun to further fill out that wall between the built-ins (a complete surprise to me!) so maybe we’ll end up layering in some sort of interesting color or backdrop behind the mobile. It takes 12 business days to arrive, so I can’t wait to get it. Might be a total “nope that would look crazy” moment, or something that we’re both enamored with, so we’ll keep you posted. We’ve also talked about some sort of accent color with paint, just between those two built-ins, so we’re definitely open to seeing where this thing goes.

Either way, it’s pretty cool to see a room that used to look like this…

… looking more like this these days.

As for what’s left on the list in here, there are just a few outstanding items.

  • possibly tweak the wall behind the crib with wallpaper or some sort of accent color
  • add an overhead light on a dimmer (nothing’s there at all right now)
  • redo the closet for little clothes (paint it, add a second hanging bar or some cubby storage, etc)
  • finishing touches (some other small art/accessories, etc)
  • just add baby

It’s nice to be in the home stretch! Both for this pregnancy (I’m still having morning sickness at 33 weeks) and for the room. Most of all we’re just excited to meet the little guy who’s doing the macarena in my tummy right now. I think he’s a very good dancer.

Oh and since a few readers have passed along an awesome tip about making sure to look at a mobile from below to check that it’s interesting from that point of view, here’s what the bun will see when he glances up. Little spinning slices of color and a nice branchy background. Although I don’t think his eyes will focus that high up for a little while…

I contemplated adding something facing him to the bottom of each strand (ex: a small animal-shaped piece of paper that would look flat from the side, but read easily from his in-the-crib perspective) but since his bedding has elephants marching all over it, I wondered if it might be more soothing to just see some dancing disks. We’re definitely open to evolving this little creation as he grows though. So if he’s really into some sort of creature (remember how much Clara got into worms and dragons?) I can work those in later. Just don’t want to stimulate him too much since it’s a spot for sleep.

And just because it might be more fun to see a grown man lying in a crib than a pregnant lady standing in one, there’s this:

Is anyone else making mobiles? Or putting the last few touches on a different room that you’ve been working on? What about hanging out in cribs? I’m telling you, it’s kind of a good time.

Comments

    • says

      Thanks Lisa! It’s from Joss & Main a few years back. It used to live in our kitchen across from the fireplace, and then was in the corner of our office when we moved, but it wasn’t getting much use there.

      xo
      s

    • says

      I’ve been meaning to leave a reply to someone asking this, because I saw this chair’s Swedish cousin at IKEA last weekend! It’s the Strandmon. Hope this helps the 100s of people looking for a chair like this!

  1. Kelly says

    This room is looking SO good! Playful but sophisticated! Fun but not too themey! LOVE it!

    Will you be putting a small table or something similar near the chair? I always found it so convenient to have a place to set a glass of water or my Kindle while baby and I were settled into the chair!

  2. says

    This turned out so sweet! We have something similar for our toddler – her aunt and cousins made a mobile out of painted branches with owl cutouts hanging from them. It’s a fun way to bring nature into a nursery.

  3. says

    Absolutely adorable! And I really do appreciate the details you provided of how you made sure this mobile is sturdy. I just had a friend who freaked out on the topic of “over the crib mobiles” and I’ll be completely honest I never even thought of them as a problem before then. Just one more thing us child-free peeps have never thought about before!

    http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

  4. Kate says

    Cute!

    I’d be terrified to climb into my daughter’s crib. I know it’s solid, but I’d be really scared that I’d break it!

    • says

      I felt the same way! I have so many friends who climb in and snuggle/read to their kids (cut to me saying “wait, you get in the crib?!”) so I tried to keep that in mind and think ginger thoughts. Ha! It actually felt really sturdy when I was in there – just like the wood slats + mattress configuration on a larger sized bed.

      xo
      s

    • says

      We have so many pictures of Chris in Greta’s crib with her reading. It’s hilarious (because he’s 6’4″) but the crib is still going strong. Haha. (Also, love this mobile and am trying not to be too jealous that your nursery is so near completion. ;) )

    • says

      That’s amazing! I think it’s just that you think in your head “these are made for babies” but they have that same wood slat + mattress thing going on that real beds have, so they feel surprisingly sturdy!

      xo
      s

    • Crystal says

      Never got in the crib but we made our toddler bed (using 1x3s for slats) and after a couple of years I still sit/lay on it very slowly/carefully for free of breaking it!

      I love the mobile. Very cute.

    • Megan says

      My sister in law has the same crib from Walmart and it does not have wood slats– it’s wire. Did you guys modify yours? I like that idea since wooden slats are probably much more durable! :)

    • says

      Yes, we kept the wire base but we added wood slats that sit just below the mattress, because our AngelCare monitor called for a “rigid wood base” (we didn’t want to use thinner stuff like plywood since there are glues in it that can offgas). I can share a picture for you guys if you’d like. They’re just thick wood boards that fill the entire base under the mattress, so it’s more sturdy and rigid. I guess the Angelcare monitor just can’t sit on the metal spring pad since it’s not solid?

      Update: just ran upstairs and snapped a pic for you guys, so here ya go (the slat on the back says “Clara’s crib” since we labeled them when we moved).

      xo
      s

    • Megan says

      That’s awesome! I’ll share that info with her– I never knew that was an option. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • rachel says

      Structurally, a bed that is originally constructed with wooden slats is completely different from a crib with a metal/wire mattress support system with boards laid on top of it.

      In the video you posted of the assembly process several years ago (http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/02/nursery-progress-crib-notes/), it appears that the wire frame is connected to the sides of the crib in just four places. Those four connectors (I couldn’t see them to know what they are specifically) are bearing the full weight of the metal frame, the three boards you added, the mattress, and a full-grown adult when you climbed in.

      For people who try to be extra cautious about making sure things are safe, climbing into a crib, especially while pregnant, seems reckless.

      Why not just take a moment to move the crib away from the wall to avoid damaging the crib or injuring yourself and your unborn child? As you often say, safety first!

    • says

      Even when pregnant, I weigh less than John does, and he has been in the crib countless times (he used to jokingly curl up with Clara in there – kind of like Julia’s husband mentioned above). You’re right that it wouldn’t have taken a minute to move the crib, we just didn’t think it was necessary or dangerous as it has stood up to a lot more weight. Thankfully no cribs or pregnant ladies were harmed in the hanging of this mobile ;)

      xo
      s

  5. Michelle says

    I absolutely love it! My vote is to leave that wall as is. The mobile pops so nicely off it. Of course, maybe my mind will change once we see the wallpaper options. Congratulations on your little bundle to come.

  6. theresa a. says

    love it! i definitely vote yes on a colored accent wall or wallpaper, can’t wait to see those swatches! this room is so sweet and you guys have pulled it together amazingly as always. we just got our cribs we ordered for twins coming in august! so our nursery is very much in that empty room-needs paint plus everything else stage, but can’t wait to get started on it! :)