I find watching a mobile gently dancing on a breeze completely mesmerising so I have chosen to make this mobile using a very simple structure that emphasises balance and movement. I've used wire and fishing line to hold my objects in place, but you could just as easily use a heavier framework of thin dowels or even smooth branches and string or ribbon.
My objects have some dimensionality because I think mobiles are best if they are interesting to look at from a range of angles. This is especially true if the finished item is to hang above a child or baby's bed or change table. I've used a mix of wet felted wool balls and sewn felt stars with a few beads thrown in for interest.
Materials you will need
Wire coat hanger or other wire
Pliers with wire cutters
Wool rovings in a range of colours as well as undyed
Bowls with hot soapy and cold water
Needles and cotton, including one very long or 'doll making' needle
Beads or other embellishments
Fishing line or strong thread
Hot glue gun
Making the structure
Using fishing line attach the shorter pieces (the lower tier) the longer piece (the upper tier) using the loops on the upper tier and tying the line roughly in the centre of the lower pieces. Don't worry about being too precise, you will be adjusting the exact location of the line on the lower tiers once the objects are attached.
Making the objects
To make the felt balls start by choosing your colour palette from dyed wool rovings.
I chose the warm colours of yellow, orange and red, but cool colours also look great.
Prepare two bowls of water for the felting. Fill one with hot soapy water, the other with clean cool water.
For smaller balls you can make beads in a single step. Take a handful of wool and roll it up tight into a ball.
As you roll, the wool will gradually shrink and harden to felt. As it firms you can apply an increasing amount of pressure. Occasionally dip it again into the soapy water to keep it wet and if it becomes too soapy rinse it with a dip in the cool water. When the ball is firmly felted rinse in the cool water, roll out excess moisture on a paper towel and leave to dry.
For larger balls start with a core of undyed wool. You can use coloured wool, but as you won't see this inner layer it is more economical to use undyed wool. Take a handful of wool and repeatedly pull apart to 'cut' the fibres.
Until you have a nice fluffy pile.
Ball the wool in your hand, dip it in the hot water and very gently start to roll the ball between cupped hands.
It will take some time to reach a smooth ball so you need to be patient. The more wool you start with, the longer it takes and the harder it is to get a good finish, so start modestly.
When it is firm and roughly ball shaped you can start adding skins. If you would like to greatly increase the size of your ball you can add one or more undyed skins to make it bigger before adding coloured skins for decorative effects.
Make a mat of wool that is roughly even in thickness and large enough to fully cover your core ball.
Pull the mat over the skin to form a new ball
Dip in the hot water, roll between your palms as before. As you start the skin will be much looser than the underlying ball so be careful to be gentle and to try and work the skin evenly as it shrinks.
When the ball is well felted you can rinse and then add further skins using the same method. Using a mat that is uneven or only partially covers your ball will create interesting multi coloured effects on the final skin. Be careful to start the felting gently so as not to dislodge the covering and create a lumpy finish.
To make your other objects, choose a shape and cut this from felt. I have used a simple star here, but any shapes or motifs work just as well. For each object you will need two matching shapes to sew together either in the same colour or different colours if you want more variation.
Embellish your shapes before you sew them together. I have used a mixture of contrasting felt shapes, beads and flower shaped sequins on my stars. Shapes can also be painted or stamped using wool compatible dyes.
Stitch the two shapes together using blanket stitch and stuff with wool rovings.
Putting it all together
Assemble the mobile by adding objects to each of the loops on the lower tiers, and one centrally to each of the three wire structures. I have chosen to do this symmetrically, adding balls to each loop and stars to each centre but you can just as easily create beautiful asymmetrical mobiles by adding more or heavier objects to one end or other of the supporting wires.
Once all the objects are attached, hang the mobile from a doorframe or other free standing position and adjust for balance. Do this by sliding the fishing lines in the centres of the wires to the side until the objects on that wire hang in balance. When all the lines are correctly placed and in balance place a small dot of glue from the hot glue gun over the lines to secure their position.
You can also find this tutorial, along with my Steiner doll tutorial and a whole stack of other great projects in this great book. Available in bookstores in the UK, Australia and the US.