Calder Mobiles
May 16, 2006 8:25 PM   Subscribe

I want to learn to make mobiles!

More specifically, the type/style made famous by Alexander Calder. It looks like it should be easy, but the simplicity of his mobile art is probably deceptive. So my fellow MeFi folk: have any of you made a mobile? What do you recommend as building materials? Can you steer me in the direction of a book, or an online tutorial that I could use to teach myself? I have been unsuccessful in finding much useful information online up to this point. Huge enormous bonus points if anybody knows of an art studio in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapell Hill region where I could learn!
posted by msali to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The principle of Calder's mobiles is simple: making sure the center of mass of everything you're hanging balances on exactly one point.
posted by Mr. Six at 8:32 PM on May 16, 2006

in wiki how to there is a how to make mobiles.....good luck
posted by jamie939 at 8:47 PM on May 16, 2006

Here's what I would try:

Get some very strong fishing line and a lot of small metal junk (nuts, bolts, etc.) from a hardware store. Make sure the line strong enough to hold the total weight you expect to hang from it. (For permanent stuff, maybe you want wire.)

Now you just need the cross-supports. You need light, strong, flexible rods -- try a hardware or hobby shop, tell them what you need, and see what they can come up with. Maybe skinny (1/8th inch? 1/16th?) steel rods.

Get a hacksaw suitable for cutting the rods and maybe a vise to hold the rods while you cut them.

You'll need a way to keep the lines from slipping on the rods -- sudden imbalance could make the whole thing collapse -- so maybe some strong clamps or tape for temporary stuff, then a good glue for making the finished thing permanent.
posted by pracowity at 5:13 AM on May 17, 2006

Instead of steel rods, maybe you could use lengths of straightened wire clotheshangers. At the ends and middle, twist into a loop with needle-nosed pliers and hang your objects. This wouldn't work for heavy stuff but thin sheets of metal and wood would probably work.

I may do this myself.
posted by codswallop at 6:54 AM on May 17, 2006

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