Sunday, February 6, 2011

Craft(y) Project: Tropical Fish Mobile

I asked my friend what sort of theme she wanted for her adorable brand new baby boy's shower gift, and I got "I'm thinking fishies" and "Yes!" to, "What about cute sharks?".

Originally I was going to decorate the little basket I found (for $1.99 at Saver's) by painting it with fish, and it was actually my mom's idea to make a mobile. I filled the plain basket with Johnson & Johnson's bath stuff, Desitin, Vaseline, etc., as well as a little handmade gift for mom for a total of about $16.

This posting is more instructional than anything else, though, and I'm hoping somebody gets an idea for another unique, inexpensive gift from it.

Though I knew how I wanted it to look, I made this one-sided frameable collage card in about 15 minutes from supplies I already had.

I'm admittedly extremely lucky when it comes to finding last-minute costume essentials and other extremely specific things at the first thrift store I go to. There was an entire bag of all these fish - most of them brand new craft supply fiber fish with hanging loops already attached - not too far away from the little basket I found. 
Normally I check the bins/stapled bags of small kids' toys for stuff like this, but the housewares/craft section handed me a jackpot this time. This bag was $5.99, and believe it or not I actually debated for several minutes about even buying it. That's kind of steep for me.

I know, right? smh.

So anyway, I ended up using most of the fiber craft fish and half of the total fish. Most of the rest would later end up glued to adjustable ring bases. I still have that orange seastar ring, actually.

If you're starting a mobile this way - be it with toy dinosaurs (which are super cheap at Party City), mini Barbies, birds, planes, or whatever - lay everything out in front of you and try to distribute the weight, colours, and varying heights evenly. 
You don't want a bunch of things at the same level bumping into each other, getting tangled, etc., and you don't want to cram too many things on and compromise the mobile's structural integrity, either. This is serious business. Algorithms. Engineering. Math. Glitter.

Using a small hole punch, I strung fishing line through each branch to connect it to the main cross at the top, and then to make the hanger above that, which also has a simple keyring for hanging. 

I had the cardboard, acrylic paint, hole punch, glitter, glue, fishing line and random keyring on hand. Later I added the seaweed-looking stuff - which I'd originally bought for my Poison Ivy costume but never used - because it looked unfinished. And finally, noticing the glitter's tendency to flake off and thinking about how bad that could be right above an infant's face, I sealed it on with clear spray paint. Thankfully the smell was gone after I'd hung it outside to dry for only about an hour.

You can see the glittery texture well in this photo, but see how it looks kind of sparse?

And finally, the finished product! 
I'm really happy with how it turned out and how easy it was.