diy pinwheel mobile

Alrighty gang, I took on my first project for the nursery that ended up being a gigantic pain in my bum. Now that it’s all over and there are a dozen floating pinwheels swirling and twirling prettily over baby girl’s crib, I am happy I tackled it and didn’t give up, but nonetheless, it seriously was annoying. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So I started thinking about making my own crib mobile….the ones out there are cute but way too expensive and I’m always up for a new weekend project. So I started thinking about what I could hang from the ceiling that would be cute, easy to make, and be visually stimulating for baby girl. I found this picture from Measuring My Life in Love and was inspired (click on the picture for the tutorial):

I loved the thought of hanging a bunch of things instead of the usual round ring mobile you see a lot. I love pinwheels, but more so the kind you hold in the wind that spin, so I Googled and found this tutorial on how to make a pinwheel.

Let me tell ya, I felt like I needed a “Craft Items for Dummies” book because when I got to Michael’s for supplies I wandered that store for almost 2 hours looking for 1/8 – 3/16″ eyelets (I wasn’t exactly sure what an eyelet even looked like), the correct eyelet setter (haha, who am I kidding, what’s an eyelet setter, let alone the correct one?…did I need one if I had a hammer?…heck if I knew), a 1/8 – 3/16″ hole punch, and I don’t even want to tell you how long it took me to pick out paper (is it ok if it isn’t double-sided?…does it have to be cardstock?…why don’t they have more than 1 yellow pattern?…and why is 1 sheet of paper $1.50 and another is 4 for $1?). After picking out paper, I walked back and forth between the sewing aisle and the scrapbooking aisle 15 times trying to figure out the difference between the different packs of eyelets in both. Then after finding ones that were the same hole size as the hole punch and eyelet setter I found, I had settled on the sewing aisle eyelets only because they were all 3/16″, plus I figured “eyelet sets” made more sense than a package of eyelets that were all the same size. Right? One end fits into the other? Ya. Makes sense to me.

So after spending only $20 at Michael’s and leaving my sanity behind, I got home, printed out the pinwheel template (the original one plus another that I resized smaller so I could make big and little ones) , and I very quickly realized that cutting out 1 was bad enough, let alone tracing and cutting 40 more of them if I was going to make all 20 pinwheels that I planned. Ugh.

But Jaime Stewart persevered and made 12 which was 1 more than I actually ended up using.

Oh, and if anyone else is clueless like me, this is an eyelet setter:

I only know that because it said so on the package. I don’t know if they all come with the flower pattern on the end but it was the only 3/16″ one they had so I bought it. Eh, it got the job done.

On to the pinwheeling…

First, I printed and cut out my patterns:

(small one on the left, bigger one on the right)

For 1 pinwheel, I traced and cut out the same sized pattern on a solid color sheet and a patterned sheet of paper:

Then it was time to punch holes in the middle and on each of the skinny ends (where the template says “spoke”). Now considering I don’t have a self-healing mat (again, something that can be found in “Craft Items for Dummies” cause I actually don’t know what one is), I improvised. The first hole I punched through the paper was done over my mouse pad.

I now have a 3/16″ sized hole in my mouse pad.

So for the rest of the 1 million holes, I hammered my hole punch over a big book, a pad of paper, and a piece of foam I had in my crafty scraps. This part was really annoying cause I had to hit the punch with the hammer about 5 x per hole x 5 holes per piece x 2 pieces per pinwheel x 12 pinwheels:

Next I lined up my 2 pieces of paper and twisted together. You have to twist them in the direction that will leave your hole-punched ends on top (as opposed to underneath) like this:

Next I placed the longer-ended eyelet through the middle holes and gathered all the ends one by one in the middle over the eyelet:

Once all the ends were gathered, I placed the little eyelet over the big eyelet:

And with my shiny new eyelet setter, I hammered the crap out of the middle:

I took about 30 hammer hits until I felt they were super secure:

And the back:

12 pinwheels later:

(I made a few accordion-style pinwheels also like the ones in the first picture above but didn’t end up using them for the mobile in the end.)

From there, I strung a couple of feet of fishing wire through the back of each pinwheel to the front, through a bead too big to fit through the eyelet, then back through the pinwheel and tied a knot at the back.

My initial thought was to hang these all individually on the ceiling over the crib with tacks but then the image of a thumb tack falling out of the ceiling and landing in my baby’s eye changed my mind. I Googled and Googled and every ceiling mobile I found told how to make it but not how to hang it. So I summoned my inner Jaime Stewart again and decided to use some flexible wire I had left over from an old project. I sketched out the best way to use as many of the pinwheels as possible with the little wire I had and I started building it while it dangled from my dining room chandelier. Ah, but flexible wire bends I ended up with a sagging excuse for a mobile:

Then I somehow managed to convince Scott to put 3 big holes in the ceiling without actually knowing if this whole thing was actually going to work, let alone look good. 3 dry wall anchors and 3 screws later, I had something to attach the mobile to:

And although I hated the process, when the pinwheels started spinning and twirling above and I declared that I wanted one above my bed, too, I knew I loved it. This is what baby girl will see when laying in her crib:

And the best part is that someday when she gets too big for her crib, we can take all the pinwheels down, put them on dowels and play with them in the summer wind in the backyard.

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19 Comments

Filed under crafts, DIY, nursery, pregnancy, pregnant

19 responses to “diy pinwheel mobile

  1. Brin

    Jaime, you are so patient, i was frustrated for you just reading about it, haha j/k – but those look AMAZING! What a great idea! 🙂

  2. I love this! It looks SO great! We too tried our hands at a DIY mobile project this weekend… ours is still in progress, and doesn’t look NEARLY as cool as yours… JEALOUS! 😉

  3. Holy cow, that is adorable! Great job!!

  4. those are SO cute…..that looks like a lot of work but the final project is adorable!

  5. Jane

    I’m going to make some in metallics for my room. Possibly to hang from my ceiling fan, too.

    I think I may justuse the duct tape and glue method, because thinking about eyelets, holes, and the different sizes confuses the hell out of me.

  6. So adorable and SO worth all the hard work! I kinda want this above my bed now too!

  7. Simona

    You are so talented! You should totally make and sell these on eBay or Etsy.

  8. Wow — that’s amazing! Great job! (And, channeling your inner “Jaime Stewart” totally made me laugh.)

  9. Those look amazing! Way to stick through them. Her room is looking fabulous!

  10. how absolutely gorgeous is this! awesome job!

  11. You did such an awesome job! I love the pop of the yellow! This is definitely something I could do!

  12. maloke

    I think your pinwheels look awesome, and you did a great job on them! It looks like your inspiration picture is actually accordion “fans”, I like your pinwheel spin on it. Baby’s room looks lovely, btw 🙂

  13. WOW! That is SOOOOO cool!! It looks awesome

  14. Kat

    LOVE how your pinwheels and mobile turned out! Congrats on your pregnancy and have enjoyed reading through your blog this morning.

  15. Pingback: the nursery to date | rabit stew

  16. Shannon

    I just did the same pattern for my wedding. Your right, what a pain in the butt. I made the mistake by laminating the cardstock. I did this so I can use the pinwheels again in my garden and not worry about rain. But they were too thick to use an eyelet I had to use brads. I had to hammer a hole in the middle so the wire would fit through. Finally they are spinning. 2 down nowanother 10 to go. I can’t wait until they’re done.

  17. emily

    How did you attach the pinwheels to the fishing line to hang them? I cannot figure out how to do this. Thanks for your help!

    • I pulled the fishing wire through the hole in the pinwheel, strung a bead onto the wire (the bead had to be too big to fit through the pinwheel hole), then looped the wire back through the pinwheel and tied a knot. I hope that makes sense!

  18. Kathie

    Very creative! You are more patient than I would have been! 🙂

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