Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY.

Bob's Bloggers

A community of bloggers who live and die to DIY

nursery, decor, diy

DIY Paint Stick Mobile

By House*Tweaking on Mar 23, 2012

Today I’m sharing how I DIY’d the mobile in baby’s corner. It was super easy and inexpensive. Plus, it’s completely temporary so when we blow this joint {our interim apartment housing} we should have no problem taking it with us.

First, let’s talk supplies.

1 - embroidery hoop I bought a small one {~16″ circumference} at JoAnn’s for $1.

2 – double-sided scrapbooking paper I found this metallic gold 12″ x 12″ sheet at JoAnn’s for $1.

3 – paint samples I chose coral and red swatches {Martha Stewart’s Bergamot MSL019 & Maine Lobster MSL024} and had a sample jar of each mixed up at Home Depot in the Glidden brand. This was more than enough paint but I wasn’t able to find the colors I wanted at my local craft store in a smaller container. Also, purchasing the paint samples at the home improvement store made asking for 16 paint sticks more palatable. The two jars of paint cost me $6.

Of note: The paint desk employee informed me that Home Depot will no longer be carrying the Martha Stewart Living paint. However, they will have MSL formulas in their computer so they can color match them in their Glidden brand.

4 – small foam brushes I bought cheap foam brushes to apply each of the paint samples to my paint sticks. They cost me $2.

5 – 3M Command hook I always have a slew of these on hand. With a hanging weight capacity of 5 lbs, this hook is strong enough to safely support the light mobile from the ceiling.

6 – scissors I used these to cut the scrapbooking paper into circles.

7 – fishing line Another item I always have on hand to hang decor. It’s extremely durable and invisible. I used the fishing line to suspend the paper circles from the mobile and to secure the mobile to the adhesive ceiling hook.

8 – paint sticks Since I was buying paint samples, I kindly asked the paint desk employee if I could have 16 paint sticks. He was more than happy to let me take as many as I wanted because I was a paying customer.

I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to ‘borrowing’ paint swatches/sticks for DIY craft projects. Although they are free products, I’m assuming home improvement stores tack on the cost of that lost inventory to other items somewhere down the line. Who knows? Maybe someday we’ll have to pay for our swatches and sticks. Remember when you could put air in your tires at no cost?

To determine the number of paint sticks you’ll need, simply measure the circumference of your embroidery hoop in inches.

Mine was ~16″ around. Paint sticks are roughly 1″ wide, so I grabbed 16 paint sticks knowing there would be a little space in between each stick on the mobile. I ended up only using 15 sticks.

9 – pencil {not shown because my baby brain hadn’t thought of it yet} I traced circles onto the scrapbooking paper with a pencil.

10 – tape {not shown because I think Everett was playing with it} I used clear packing tape because that’s what we have on hand at the apartment for moving day.

11 – hot glue gun & glue sticks {not shown because I had it plugged in} This is what I used to secure the paint sticks to the hoop.

Once I had everything set out, I got to work.

I removed the inner embroidery hoop {the one with no tightening screw} from the outer ring {the one with the fastener} to use as my mobile base. Essentially, you could make two mobiles from one store bought embroidery hoop if you wanted.

I separated my paint sticks into two equal piles and placed plastic shopping bags under them to use as drop cloths. I reused my JoAnn’s and Home Depot bags…waste not, want not!

Using the foam brushes, I gave each paint stick two coats of paint front and back. I didn’t bother with the sides since I wanted a homemade, imperfect look. I thought the raw wood edges would give me that. I made sure to let them dry in between each coat.

Before glueing the painted sticks onto the hoop, I tied some fishing line onto my hoop so that I’d have something to hang the mobile from.

Once all the painted sticks were dry, I started hot glueing them to the hoop. I found it easier to place the sticks by applying the glue directly to the hoop…not the sticks. I chose to attach the sticks about 2″ – 2.5″ down from the flat end {not the end with the curved indentations that are meant to act as handles when used to stir paint} and left about ¼” gap between the sticks. I held each stick firmly in place for 10-20 seconds after glueing it. I alternated coral, red, coral, red, coral…you know what comes next.

Placement wasn’t perfect. I didn’t measure as I went along glueing. I just eyeballed it and figured I could make adjustments at the end if I ended up with a gap or two reds next to each other…you know, just hang that part facing the wall. Ha! Luckily, it all worked out and the worst that happened was that I had to squeeze in my last paint stick. In the end, I used 7 coral sticks and 8 red sticks.

I let the glue dry while I moved onto the paper circles that would dangle from the mobile.

To keep things simple {and to keep me from getting up off the floor!}, I used one of my paint sample jars as the template for my circles. I traced around the bottom of the jar and filled my paper with circles.

I cut out the circles by hand. An easier option would be to use a large circle punch but I don’t have one and wasn’t willing to spend $10+ to buy one. Yes, to me, cutting by hand for 10 minutes is definitely worth the $10 saved!

Using tape and fishing line, I attached my gold paper circles to the inside of the mobile. I found this step easier when I hung the mobile from something {in my case, a floor lamp so I could stay on the floor…still} which let me see how the circles were falling and vary their heights accordingly. Basically, I hung the circles at random distances from the bottom of the mobile for a loose, casual feel. Oh, and I didn’t use all the circles I cut out. After suspending 10 circles, I felt any more would feel too busy.

Then I hung the whole thing from the ceiling via a 3M Command hook and more fishing line. I tried taking a picture of this so you could see it in more detail but fishing line is invisible and the ceiling is white, so this is what I got…

Instead of looping the fishing line around the hook as you would if you were hanging something from a wall, I looped the fishing line around the back of the adhesive hook {yup, right where the adhesive is} and just in front of the actual hook part that juts out. That arrow is pointing to where the fishing line is tied since it’s not highly visible. You could always use a screw-in ceiling hook but, again, I was trying to keep things as damage-free as possible since we’re renting. The adhesive hook is working really well so far. I’ve had it up for over a week now with no signs of it pulling loose – even with the textured ceiling.

I said it before. I just love the playful pop of color and whimsy that the little DIY mobile brings to baby’s corner.

Of course, there are all kinds of ways you could tweak my design into something different:

  • use even more paint colors for a happy, striped effect
  • use a larger hoop and more paint sticks for something bigger…like a tween girl’s faux chandy
  • fold/cut paper into different shapes
  • leave the outside of mobile natural {not painted} but paint the inside a bright hue for an unexpected surprise
  • add inexpensive cord lighting to create a pendant

Do you have any other ideas for alternative spins on my DIY paint stick mobile? I’d love to hear your brainstorming!

In other baby news, well, nothing really. I’m 38 weeks. I was 3cm dilated at my last OB appointment. Just last night I had several hours of regular contractions {about every 5-6 minutes, lasting about 1 minute}. I took a shower to see if that would stop things, thinking then I’d know if it was the real thing. The shower had no effect. We had my dad and his wife come to pick up the boys in case things progressed. I called my doula just to let her know what was going on but assured her that my contractions – while quite strong and regular – were not crazy intense and that I was coping well. She encouraged me to rest, so I did. I got some sleep off and on for a few hours with contractions still coming and going. Then all of a sudden at 8am this morning {nearly 10 hours after the contractions began} everything came to a screeching halt. HH is working from home today and I’m just going about my day, pretending last night didn’t happen.

The popular midwife adage is holding true for us: Firsts are long. Seconds are fast. Thirds are unpredictable.

FYI – Click here to see if you won the BrideBlu giveaway this week! I really enjoyed reading about all the creative ideas for ‘something blue’ on a wedding day. So much has changed since HH and I got married!

images: all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Visit House*Tweaking »

blog comments powered by Disqus