Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile


We have a fun guest post today: a tutorial for a Rainbow Mobile to make with your kid(s), written by our friend Jennifer. Jen is a print editor and the fact that she is a Stumbles & Stitches reader keeps us dotting our i's and crossing our t's, very literally. All kidding aside, Jen is also a busy, creative and crafty mama of two. When she shared this project with our circle of mom friends, we knew it would make a great guest post. Enjoy!

by Jennifer Goode Stevens

My daughter colors rainbows. All the time. On everything. One day she took a piece of lined notebook paper and colored each line a different rainbow color, ending up with a whole page of rainbow stripes. It stuck in my head, and a few days later this idea popped in. You could use any colors, or any simple picture, really, but the rainbow turns out really pretty.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial


Shrinky Dink plastic – the rough/frosted, translucent variety
Colored pencils
A sheet of lined notebook paper
Two little pieces of tape
Standard hole punch
Sharp scissors
Baking sheet
Two pieces of parchment paper
A book that’s big enough to cover most of your baking sheet
28 quarter-inch jump rings. Single rings would work, too, and be easier to assemble.
Small, needle-nosed pliers
Bamboo skewers, like for grilling out. Tiny dowels would work, too. They just have to be small enough for the rings to go over them.
Hot glue/hot glue gun
Several yards of yarn, whatever color you like with your rainbow. We used purple.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Gather all your supplies.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
And then the one thing you forgot.

Tape the shrink plastic onto the notebook paper, so you’ll have guides to color your stripes.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Tape the shrink plastic to the notebook paper.

Color your stripes, horizontally on the page.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Enlist rainbow-happy 4-year-old.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Be patient, because even rainbow-happy 4-year-olds have short attention spans.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial

Mark along the top edge so there will be 14 strips. Number them in pencil, 1-14, right at the edge of the plastic.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Mark and number the edge of the plastic before cutting.

Cut the plastic into strips and punch a hole in the end of each one, being careful not to punch out your number.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Punch a hole close to one end of each strip.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Get a large baking sheet and two pieces of parchment paper. Line the baking sheet with one of them.

Put two strips on the baking sheet, put them in the oven for 2:30 minutes. Have a couple of the bamboo skewers on hand.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Don't bake more than 3 at a time. And start with 1, just to practice.

The strips probably will curl. Open the oven and straighten them using your skewers before you take them out. Pull out the baking sheet and quickly lay the second sheet of parchment on top of the strips and set the book on top to flatten. Let it sit for 15 seconds or so. Then lay the strips aside and get more. The most I could handle baking at once was three – any more and you can’t straighten them out before they start to harden.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Flatten them after they come out of the oven.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
An unbaked-baked comparison. Don't worry if they're not perfectly straight.

When they’re all done, thread a jump ring through each hole, then another ring onto each of the first rings. You’ll have to use the pliers to bend them apart a little, then to squish them back together. (This is when I was lamenting not having any single rings.)

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Jump rings attached.

Plug in the hot glue gun.

Make sure they’re in number order, and thread them onto a skewer. I then laid the skewer across my biggest plastic container so the strips hung down inside and spaced them evenly, about a quarter-inch apart or so.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Line them up in number order. This makes the stripes consistent when you hang it.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Put them on the skewer/dowel and space them evenly.

Lay a bead of hot glue along the top of the skewer over the rings – this tacks them all in place. Let it cool.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Fire up the hot glue.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Lay a bead along the top.

Wrap the skewer with your yarn to cover it and the glue and the top row of rings, and tie it off. Cut another piece of yarn to tie on as a hanger. Clip each end of the skewer with your sturdiest scissors or the clippers you use in the yard.

Guest Post: Rainbow Mobile Tutorial
Wrap with your yarn and tie a piece on for a hanger.
And then don't get so excited that you take pictures before you snip the burned ends of your skewer off with the gardening clippers.

TA DA! A rainbow mobile.

* * *

Jenny-mini-button Isn't it fun? I have got to get Shrinky Dink on my next craft store run, I think Ben would love this project! If your rings are big enough, you could hang the rainbow pieces onto a stick found outside too. I can think of so many variations for this project, can't wait to try it out.


  1. How beautiful! I'm into rainbows lately!


  2. I would love to try this! Maybe even with a photo... I'll have to ponder the possibilities more. I really like the idea of using a small branch from outside as the crosspiece, to give it a more nature-like vibe. Thank you for the awesome post!


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