There are several different methods you can use (some slightly unconventional) depending on what suits your house or budget.
Here is a summary of the methods I recommend:
Michael Olaf mobile hanger
By far the best way to hang a mobile in a fixed position (i.e. above the bed or crib) is to use the Michel Olaf perfect mobile hanger. It is clear plastic so very unobtrusive and it fixes to the wall rather than the ceiling. I have one of these above Henry's bed and it's marvelous. It costs $12.
- Easy to install (with 2 screws in the wall)
- If you are outside of the US it's virtually impossible to buy them anywhere else so international shipping fees, as well as import tax, must be considered
- Only suitable for very light mobiles (card stock and paper only)
- Not suitable for use with any of the reaching or grasping mobiles or ring on elastic etc
- Once installed the position is fixed so you may need to buy several for other rooms in your house
Wooden tripod toy hanger
wooden tripod toy hanger from Michael Olaf is great for hanging mobiles or toys above a baby without the need for fixings in the wall or ceiling. Many different items can be hung including the rings and bells on elastic that are recommended during the reaching and grasping phase. The three wooden legs are held secure by rubber rings at the top and it can be adjusted to a variety of heights. It is easy to fold up and move from room to room as the child spends time with his family in different areas of the home.
I don't think that it would be too hard to copy this design if you wanted to make your own but you must be careful about the feet being non slip. Perhaps you could also use an old camera tripod?
- Can be used as a frame for a tent as the child grows up
- Suitable for reaching and grasping activities
- Not suitable for hanging mobiles that need lots of space to move around e.g the Munari mobile would not work with this
- Expensive at $95
Hook in the ceiling
Here is a video I found to show how to install a ceiling hook.
The hooks are readily available at DIY stores and you can always ask for advice on how to choose the best one for your house.
- Suitable for mobiles and toys designed to be grabbed and touched
- Cheap to buy and install as long as you have the tools
- Fixed position only
The mobile can then be positioned in just the right place without any unsightly additional equipment. Just make sure that the lamp is stable enough to take the weight of the mobile and will not topple over.
- No additional equipment needed
- Very portable solution
- Simple alternative to wall or ceiling fixtures
- Potentially expensive if you don't have a suitable lamp available
Hanging basket or shelf bracket
Using a hanging basket or shelf bracket can be a good compromise if you are unable to buy the plastic mobile hanger from Michael Olaf. There are many different types of brackets to choose from (IKEA has a good selection) and they are easy to install.
It is important to choose a design that allows you to securely attach the mobile. If securely fastened the bracket could support the elastic hanging toys and mobiles for the reaching and grasping phase.
- Simple and easy to install
- Provides a fixed place to hang mobiles in one place
- More unsightly than the transparent version from Michael Olaf
Umbrella bucket and fishing rod
OK, don't laugh at this one until you have tried it! If you don't want any holes in the walls or ceilings and you want to be able to hang your mobiles in any room you could try this method. Take an umbrella bucket (or a similar tall narrow bucket) and fill it with heavy stones so that it cannot b easily knocked over. Then buy an old fishing rod from EBay or a charity shop and strip off all of the fixings except the metal ring right at the tip. You could then paint or spray the rod in a nice colour to blend in with your home. When you want to place a mobile above your baby just put the rod in the bucket (so that it goes right down to the bottom) and hang your mobile from the metal ring at the end.
- Quite a cheap solution especially if you already have these bits lying around
- Fishing rods are usually very strong so in theory you could also hang mobiles that are meant to be grabbed and touched (although this will depend on your set up)
- No holes in the walls or ceiling!
- The mobile can then be hung in any room and it is easy to get the position just right
- A bit of preparation is required to get the fishing rod looking a bit nicer especially if you buy an old one
An existing light fitting
I would not use this method for grasping toys but it works extremely well for simple mobiles when Henry is hanging out on our bed (which he does often).
- No cost solution
- Very simple
- Suitable for lightweight mobiles only and not toys designed to be grabbed and touched
- Fixed position only
What do you think? Do you have any unconventional ways of hanging your mobiles? I'd love to hear about them.