Monday, 3 October 2011

Homemade Munari mobile tutorial

This post is the first in a series where I hope to show that you can make all of the Montessori visual mobiles yourself (if so inclined of course!).  I love any opportunity to make something myself so I couldn't wait to get started on them.

The first mobile in the series is the Munari and I think it's also my favourite.  It's simplicity and design really appeal to me and the fact that babies seem to love it made me sure that I wanted one for Henry (2 weeks).

Maria Montessori stressed the importance of early introduction of sensorial activities and she explained that the use of mobiles provides newborns with a great opportunity to exercise their mind.  She said that: “Mobiles are an aid to the visual sense. Babies of only 2-3 days have been observed in concentration of 20-25 minutes watching the black and white images of the Munari mobile.”


The Munari mobile is the first in the Montessori Visual Mobile series (although some people present black and white pattern mobiles beforehand).  It is black and white to provide the greatest contrast suitable for the infant's developing vision and provides the infant the opportunity to do his first 'work'.

I have found these mobiles for sale as kits on Etsy in the US but when you factor in international shipping to Europe they are just too pricey.  So I decided to make my own based on the instructions that I found online at L'Atelier Montessori (a French blog).  There are three documents that will help you to make the mobile:
  1. A diagram of the constructed mobile.  This PDF shows you how to assemble the individual components to get the balance correct.
  2. A calculation sheet showing the size relationships between each piece.   The calculation sheet is necessary because all of the dimensions of the mobile are based on the diameter of the glass (or plastic) sphere that you use.  
  3. An interactive spreadsheet to help you to calculate all of the dimensions.  This is very useful if you have a sphere that is not the same size as the example given.
Or, alternatively you could just follow these instructions exactly to end up with a mobile the same as mine.

So here is how I made mine:

First of all I bought my clear sphere.  I wasn't exactly sure whether or not I wanted to use glass for the sphere so I decided to try this mobile with a glass and then a plastic sphere and decide which I preferred afterwards.

The advantage of a glass sphere is that they are visually more appealing and catch the light much better than plastic although they are of course more expensive and potentially more scary to have hanging above a baby (although in reality the mobile is never hung directly over the baby).  The advantage of the plastic sphere is therefore price and 'safety'.

I found a very lightweight 80mm glass sphere at Xmas Direct (a UK based company) which cost £10.49 for 6 and a nice 70mm plastic sphere from Buttinette (in France) which cost €3,95 for 6.  I decided to base my dimensions on the size of the plastic sphere (70mm).

The next step is to create each of the pieces.  Some people just print them directly onto paper or card, some people paint onto card or use sticky backed plastic and I have also seen a rather nice looking mobile using balsa wood from Woodworks Craft Supplies.  I decided to use black and white coloured card stock and then laminate each piece together.



The black and white circle

I drew an 82mm circle onto the black and white card using tin of Golden Syrup which just happened to be the right size!  The lid for the tin is pretty much the right size for the internal circle (72mm) which is then drawn onto the cut larger circle.  If you don't have a tin handy i.e. everyone outside of the UK you can try to find a glass or cup with approximately the correct dimensions and use that or use a compass if you want guaranteed accuracy.

Put all the pieces together and glue or laminate (If glue is used keep a heavy book on top whilst it is drying to prevent curling.

The square based trapezoid

Next I drew an 82mm x 82mm square onto the wood then divided it in two and marked the centre point.   From this point follow along the drawn line 35mm in each direction from the centre to give a combined length of 70mm.

Use the ends of this line to draw a line to each of the 4 corners of the square resulting in the trapezoid shape which is then cut out and sanded as before.


Once again pieces were cut from card and stuck together.

The rectangular based trapezoid

For this piece draw out a rectangle 164mm x 82mm.  The draw a line dividing the rectangle in half length ways.  Use the end point of this centre line to draw lines out to each opposite corner as shown in the pictures below.


The wooden dowels

There are three wooden dowels needed to hang the pieces of the mobile.  The longest is painted white, the middle sized is painted black and the shortest is white with a black stripe.  My dowels were 6mm diameter (18" long) and came from Woodworks Craft Supplies.

I cut my dowels to the following lengths 210mm, 350mm and 420mm and painted as before with acrylic paint.  To make drying easier stick a pin into the end of each dowel so that it can be hung to dry or if you are lucky enough to have a wooden dowel toy handy just use that!.


If you find it too difficult to do the striped line you can just paint the dowel white and wind around a piece of black electrical insulation tape.

Putting everything together

The next step is to assemble everything.  For each of the 3 shapes I used a needle and invisible thread (available at most craft stores) to hang each piece.  To secure to the dowel I wrapped the thread around a few times (after being sure of the length required) and secured with a knot.


Starting from the bottom to the top, hang objects according to the pattern. (bottom line of the sphere on level with the top of the circle etc.

I then used a hot glue gun to put a blob of glue over the thread to stop it from moving but only when I had added all of the pieces.


Getting everything level and balanced is probably the most tricky part of assembling the mobile but just remember to balance it from the bottom up and not the other way round.

That's it! I'm really pleased with the results but more importantly Henry seems to like it..........



He will watch the mobile with wide eyes for 10 minutes if you catch him at the right time of day and he has even let out a little squeel whilst studying the ball.

Next up the Octahedron mobile......

24 comments:

  1. Detta är ett bare exempel på varför man ska lära sig matematik!
    Kul och se lille Henry igen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, quite technical for a babies mobile eh?
    x

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am interested in buying or making these mobiles, but I don't really want to hang them from the ceiling. Do you know of a place that sells something similar to a play gym to hang them from or do you have clever ideas on how to make something like that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's lovely! I didn't make our mobiles but really enjoyed having mobiles when my kids were babies. I used a child-safe horizontal mirror on the floor next to my baby's mat that I hung the mobiles on. Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. I feature your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

    ReplyDelete
  5. Quite striking! I have a post for a vision mobile and I used a plant hook on the wall.

    http://www.workandplaydaybyday.com/2010/08/making-your-own-infant-mobile.html

    Heidi

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Kylie,
    I have a few ideas to share with you but I want to give you some links so I'll quickly add a post with the info in...
    Thanks for stopping by!
    Rachael
    x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks again Deb! I can't wait to see the ebook that you and John are putting together.
    Rachael
    x

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Heidi!
    Thanks for sharing your link; that mobile looks great and such a saving!
    Great minds think alike with the plant holder :)
    Rachael
    x

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great tutorial, I have a little niece arriving any day know, I think I'm going to give it a try! Cheers
    Maria
    forskoleburken.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for sharing.... I made one, it was a wonderful experience, my premie is probably too small right now to focus for much longer but I see her occiasionally staring at it.
    You are doing a wonderfil job, I appreciate your enthusiasm, and imbibe much from it.... keep it up :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Perfect! Just what I was looking for! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just finished making this for a baby boy we are adopting who is due in one week. I used thin balsa wood and spray paint, and it turned out great. Thank you so much for making this mobile easier than I thought it would be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful! so happy to hear that!

      Delete
  13. Please help. The 3 links do not appear to work. Can these be fixed or can someone send me the attachments. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know - I'll reload them in the next few days for you.

      Delete
  14. Please help. The links above do not appear to be working. Can someone please send the attachments. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you so so much for posting this.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is an awesome tutorial. I've just made all the paper shapes and have the ball. My dowels are only 12" long though... If I leave the longest at full length and make others smaller will everything be too crammed? :(

    ReplyDelete
  17. how did you attach the thread to the sphere?

    ReplyDelete
  18. awesome site!!! thank you so much!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. so... my mobile is all out of balance. not sure where i went wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for the tutorial! I made one and hung it from the wall using a plant hook - http://homeinthecountry.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/diy-munari-mobile/ My little one seems to enjoy it, and I look forward to following more of your tutorials to make more mobiles!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for the tutorial! I made one for my little one and hung it using a plant hook: http://homeinthecountry.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/diy-munari-mobile/ She seems to enjoy it! I am looking forward to using your tutorials to make other mobiles for her to enjoy as she grows! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...