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Monday, 7 April 2014

Hanging Mobile #001 - construction manual & plans

Photo of Hanging Mobile #001 in front of a tree stem
This article comprises plans and a brief construction manual for Hanging Mobile #001, shown on the left. Below, you can watch a video of the harmonic motion of the mobile. The design is inspired by the work of Alexander Calder.

1. Materials and Tools
2. PDF Plans for download
3. Construction Manual

1. Materials and Tools


  • Plywood (thickness between 4 and 8 mm, 20x30cm)
  • Robust cotton thread
  • Paper glue pen
  • Wood stain, transparent varnish (optional)


  • Jigsaw or scollsaw
  • Drilling tool
  • Drill, ⌀ ≈ 3mm
  • Sandpaper (fine ≈ P100, very fine ≈ P220)
  • Black-white printer

2. PDF Plans for download

Plans for the wood parts are available for download as PDF.

Plans for Hanging Mobile #001
Plans for Hanging Mobile #001. Use high quality PDF for printing. Download PDF.

3. Construction Manual

Construction of the mobile is very simple, consisting of cutting the parts and connecting and balancing them from bottom to top.

Step 1: Printing the plans

Download the PDF plans. Print the plans, either as provided on A4 paper, or scale them to your needs and print on larger paper if necessary.

Step 2: Gluing plans onto plywood

Glue the entire printed plans sheet onto a piece of plywood. Use a water-soluble paper glue pen.

Step 3: Sawing out the parts

Saw out parts 1 to 6 using a jigsaw or a scrollsaw. Also saw out the large oval holes in parts 1 to 5.

Step 4: Drilling

Drill holes A1 to A5 at the tips of the parts, as well as B6 for the circle, using a drill of 2-3 mm diameter. Do not drill holes B1 to B5 yet! These holes will need some fine adjustment during assemblage.

Step 5: Removing plans from plywood

To remove the paper from the sawed out parts, moisten it, wait half a minute or so, and peel it off. Remove remains using the very fine sandpaper.

Step 6: Sanding the parts

Sand the cut faces and round all edges using first the coarser, then the finer sandpaper.

Step 7: Connecting the parts

Assemblage of the mobile must be done from bottom to top (part 6 to part 1). This way, the parts can be balanced thoroughly.
Start by connecting holes B6 to A5 using the thread to result in a distance of approx 2-3 cm. Now, hold part 5 between thumb and index finger at the mark for hole B5, and let part 6 hang down. Adjust the exact position for B5, so that part 5 is more or less horizontal, with the tip slighly below the large end. Mark the position of your fingers after balancing and drill a hole of 2-3 mm diameter.
Next, connect holes B5 to A4, again with 2-3 cm of tread. Balance part 4 near B4 like described in the above paragraph. Continue this way until you have drilled hole B1. Finally, fix a long peace of thread to B1.

Step 8: Staining and varnishing

You can colour the hanging mobile using wood stain, and additionally varnish it. For only staining, the entire assembled mobile can be painted, including the threads. For varnishing, the mobile should be disassembled first.

Enjoy tinkering! Your feedback is welcome.
Yours sincerely,
Turnvater Janosch

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