Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to make a Kinetic Mobile Sculpture by Carolyn Weir of Skysetter Designs - Part 1

Ok, call me crazy!  But you asked for it and here it is.  This is a very rough draft of a Beginning Kinetic Mobile Sculpture Workshop. (come back often as I will update/improve this instruction soon) Enjoy!

Skysetter Designs Kinetic Mobile Sculpture Workshop Part 1 – A little different from the Master
Introduction to the world of Kinetic Mobiles – The adult mobile

Tools I use to create miniature mobiles (completed 36” tall/wide or smaller)


Aluminum Flashing (standard rolls at the hardware store - ask the cashier where aluminum flashing is kept) - or thin plastic plates make great mobiles also.  I would advise against using paper to make your mobiles.  Too light and doesn't hold up to humidity changes.
Jump Rings (you can make your own - instructions coming soon)

There are some styles of Skysetter Design mobiles that utilize the same length of wire throughout (fountain style) and others with varied lengths.  When beginning your journey of mobile making, it is advised to begin with the same length of wire for each component focusing more of your attention to balancing your components.  When you have achieved some experience balancing / creating mobiles, you are free to vary the wire lengths of your mobiles to accommodate the weight and design of your sculpture. 

Cut 14 pieces of wire at 7” each for your first project.

Put 7 pieces of wire aside that you will use for your finished mobile.  The other 7 pieces of wire will be used to practice some loops.

The Basic Loop – You will need to learn make loops on the ends of the wire.

For this beginning lesson, we will make loops on both ends of each practice wire.

1.Take care to place the end of the wire in your round nose pliers where the wire does not go past the round nose pliers.  Click on the first picture in the series below to see correct placement in a larger picture.  Don't forget to press your "back" button in your web browser to return to this page.


2.  Now, practice creating a loop in the middle of each practice wire.  Start with your loops pointing down. Place your pliers in the center of the wire (mid point between the two loops.  Grab one wire half way between the pliers and loop and pull the wire so it meets the loop on the other side (make it do a u-turn)

Don’t worry if your practice wires don’t look exactly like the pictures above (lol, the pictures above aren't the best examples either).  It takes practice to create perfect loops in stiff wire like stainless steel.  Keep practicing and you will do great!

Lets look at how to open and close the loops on the end of the wires. 
You will grasp the loop in your chain nose pliers and push the loop away from you.

Balancing Act

Now to begin your 1st balancing act.  Kinetic Mobiles are created from the bottom to the top.  You will find a balance point on the bottom piece of your mobile and then add more pieces from there.

When I began making mobiles, I would use the following technique:

  1. Make Loops on the ends of 1 wire
  2. Prepare aluminum pieces by cutting 7 abstract shapes.  The shapes shouldn't be more than 3" x 3".  You can leave these aluminum pieces flat or give them some personality by giving them some nice curves or some edgy bends.
  3. Cut 1 hole in each aluminum shape close to any edge.  
  4. Attach 1 jump ring to each aluminum shape.
  5. Attach a few components to the loops by opening the loops, threading the jump ring on the rectangle and closing the loop.  In the following pictures, I used peace signs instead of rectangles.
  6. Find the balance point of your component group and place your round nose pliers at the center of that balance point.

(yes, it is quite apparent that photography is not my best quality L)

  1. Pull one side of your component group to the opposite side so they meet. 

6.  Then take the side you have not moved and pull it in the opposite direction

7.  When you have completed moving the wires into position, turn your component over and check its balance.

A balance is not necessarily parallel.  For more interest, a balance can easily have one side higher than the other.

It has been far too long but here it is.  I have completed the workshop.  Follow me to my website to view a new and completed workshop on How to Create Your First Kinetic Mobile Sculpture  http://skysetter.com/how-to-make-a-mobile


  1. Thanks for the great tutorial :-) I got interested in this just yesterday and there you had a brand new tutorial waiting for me :-)

  2. Did you create Part 2 of the tutorial?!?!


  3. Really helpful -- wish I would have found this 10 years ago when I tried (and sorta failed) making my first mobile. Inspiring me to get back on the horse. Please add Parts 2, 3 and beyond!

  4. What wire gauge and hardness do you use?

    1. mhhjgfyjgjkjklk

    2. Stainless Steel Wire - 18 gauge 1/2 hard. Spring stainless for the longer bits.

  5. thanks a riot!! they help me a lot....