Thursday, 17 November 2011

Octahedron mobile tutorial

--> The Octahedron mobile is the second mobile in the Visual Mobile Series and it is probably the easiest to make yourself (the first is the Munari Mobile).  Most of my crafting goodness takes place after lights out so I'm sorry that the pictures are a little dark :)

But first a reminder of why these mobiles are offered to babies in order and what the benefits are:

"For the first few months, a mobile over the child-bed helps to develop the baby's abilities to explore the world visually. The baby gradually develops focus on a moving object, tracking of an object, and perception of colour and depth. The mobile is changed every two weeks or so to accommodate the infant's habituation to that particular mobile and to match her progressive visual development.  Hence, the first mobile portrays flat, black and white geometric shapes and reflected light from a glass sphere. Subsequent ones are introduced in ordered sequence: three octahedrons of coloured metallic paper, ideally each in a primary colour; five Styrofoam balls covered with embroidery thread in gradations of the same colour and hung in ascending order from darkest to lightest; stylized paper figurines of light metallic coloured paper that move with the slightest current of air; and finally, stylized wooden figures painted in pastel colours" (Montessori From the Start)

An octahedron (plural: octahedra) is a polyhedron with eight faces. A regular octahedron is a Platonic solid composed of eight equilateral triangles, four of which meet at each vertex.

To make the Octahedron mobile all you need is 3 sheets of metallic or holographic card (red, gold and blue), some invisible thread and a wooden dowel with a 6mm diameter (this dimension is not essential).

Draw an unfolded octahedron onto the back of each piece of card with a pencil.  Thissite has a template that you can print onto paper, cut out and draw around onto the card.

The next step is to cut out the octahedron shape and score along the fold lines.   It is important to score these sides well to get a crisp finish to the shape so I used a scoring adaptor on my paper cutter.  An alternative is to use a ruler and the back of a craft knife.

Place double sided tape onto the tabs and cut to size.  This tape goes on the metallic side of the card (I did it wrong first time).

Then just take the backing off the double sided tape and fold up the shapes as shown above.  Take care to line up all the edges well to avoid gaps.

Just before you close the last side of the octahedron insert the end of a length of nylon thread with a knot tied in the end.  This knot then sits inside to stop the thread pulling out.

Assemble the mobile and add a length of thread to hang it.  Do this in whatever way works best for you.  If you don't have a wooden dowel how about hanging the octahedron from a wire coat hanger?

If you want to know which mobiles to offer at what age take a look at this post and if you want ideas for how to hang them look here.

And last but not least here is Henry (6 weeks) enjoying his mobile.  I hung his quite low down close to him (but not in reach) and he studied it very intensely and giggled with delight if it moved slightly with a breeze.

Next up is the Gobbi Mobile!.


  1. These look fab. I am in awe that you make all this and mind two babas and blog as well. Your time-managing must be great.
    Anyways I was wondering if i could ask you about the montessori training you are doing and the montessori materials you got. Just why you chose this training really. Whenever you have time....

  2. Hello, I am a new follower. I like the things on your website! If you get a chance, check out my blog, Cachey Mama's Classroom. I have a feature Thinky Linky Thursday as well if you would like to link to it on your linky page. Thanks!

  3. hi Rach,
    Post coming soon to answer your question but for me I couldn't do half as much as I do without such a wonderful an supportive husband (who takes Freddy on a 2 hour nature walk every day)

    Thanks so much following me, it's really nice of you.
    I took a look at your blog and found some really interesting ideas to try. I'll be sure to link up.

    Best wishes

  4. I love your mobile, Rachael .. it looks so attractive and professional! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. Happy to feature your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

  5. I love it! Can't wait to try it.

  6. what a fabulous mobile - love the colors you chose and your baby looks so intent gazing at it :)

    Thanks for linking your idea to the Sunday Showcase last week. Hope to see you this week!


  7. I happen to LOVE your blog!!!! Thank you so much. You are actually doing what I had hoped to do with mine but I haven't been able to keep up with posting. I'm so excited to follow your instructions for this mobile. The one we made for our daughter a couple years ago was not as easy or as clean.

    1. Thanks Charissa,
      Yes it can be really difficult keeping up with the posting! I had a look at your blog and would LOVE to hear lots about your Montessori training and how you have applied it at home.

    2. Well my training was for ages 3-6 so I had to nearly start from scratch for this infant toddler age. I learned so much in the classroom from the other directresses/leads and children that I often feel at a loss at home with this younger age that I am not formally trained on. Plus being a directress is very different than being a Montessori parent. Children interact very differently because they have the unconditional love and intimacy from the parent. One of the books I read when Eva was still nursing (under 1 year) was about the Reggio Emelia method and I definitely want to know more. From what little I know about it, it is very similar to Montessori...not just in the practice but also the history and origin.

      Hey! About this Octahedron mobile!!! I jumped the gun and ordered ORIGAMI paper :S instead of cardstock. So as you can imagine I'm putting this thing together feeling like a dolt, wondering how yours turned out so crisp and clean. I'm chocking back the laughter as much as the tears. Needless to say, our 6 week old son, Walter, is using the Octahedron mobile that I made for our daughter a couple years ago. It looks fine in photos but up close it's unfit in construction. Ug. Hopefully our children's scientific minds will gain something.

  8. I realise this post is quite old now, so please accept my apologies for posting on it so late. I found your blog while googling for a guide to making mobiles. I just wanted to thank you for making such thorough and lovely personal guides. Your son looks like he is really focusses and enjoying himse

    1. How lovely of you to say so. Thank you :)

  9. Hi! I really want to do the this mobile, however, the link to the template doesn't work... could you please fix it??? Would be AWESOME, thanks!

    1. Just fixing it now Melanie. Let me know how it goes!

    2. Hi Rachael,
      thanks for fixing it! I just wanted to start doing it but I wondered how long the sides should be. 2 inches maybe??? Or longer or shorter??? Hm, maybe you can let me know?!

      Thanks again,

    3. When I print out the template it looks pretty small, about 1/3 of a page, is that correct?

  10. Thanks so much for this tutorial, I just finished making mine and it is definitely the most easiest out of them all. So simple but turned out beautiful. Thanks again!!

  11. Just finished making this beautiful mobile. Thanks so much for this very helpful tutorial!! I must say it was my favourite to make as is is so easy compared to the others. Thanks again :)

  12. Hello, I wanted to say that your website is wonderful! I'm putting together an early childhood development program for children living in orphanages in developing countries and trying to incorporate as much montessori as possible. All of the toys and activities in the program must be able to be made locally, so your site is very helpful in helping us break down and figure out how to do that. Did you ever make the Gobbi mobile or any of the others? I can't seem to find the links.
    Thanks again for your wonderful site :)

    1. Hi Jessica,
      What a great cause you are working on! Yes, I made all of the mobiles and really must update my blog to include them. I'm afraid that all I can say is that I will try to as soon as possible but life with three little ones does not leave me much time.
      I'll make a big effort though <3
      best, Rachael


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