With a new baby just weeks away (and with the high price of Montessori toys) I opted to construct my own Munari mobile. In the Montessori world, there is a series of mobiles to interest newborns. The first in this series (can be used from birth to week 7 or 8), is called the Munari mobile. It’s a delicate balance of black and white shapes and rods. I decided to save some money and do it myself. It was definitely more complicated than it originally appeared but my husband helped out and we got it done in one afternoon.
First, I purchased this on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1461649492
It included SOME instructions. I say “some” because a lot of it was guesswork and there was some math involved. I made a list of the supplies I needed and found them all at Hobby Lobby or had them around my house. I gathered:
- A 4mm thick dowel
- A clear, glass Christmas bauble (the one I found was 66mm wide so I used the template for the 70mm mobile)
- Clear “illusion cord” or fishing line
- Card stock
- Black and white paint
I also needed a drill with a teeny tiny drill bit for pilot holes, a hand saw for cutting the dowel, a thumbtack, and a small, flat paintbrush for making those lines on the dowel.
First, we (my husband, really) measured and cut the dowel into three pieces according to the instructions in the Etsy template. I painted the longest one white, the medium one black. The smallest one was painted white and then I used my flat paintbrush to carefully make black stripes across it. You can also use black electrical tape if you don’t want to hand-paint it.
Next, I printed out the shapes onto card stock and carefully cut them out and glued them together per the instructions. I opted not to laminate them because I didn’t want there to be a big reflection as they spun around. It’s a little more delicate without that protection but since it really won’t be touched anyways, I’m not worried about it. And with the two pieces of card stock glued together, it actually ended up being very sturdy anyways.
Then, I took the thumbtack and put a hole at the top center of each of the shapes where I wanted it to hang. I gathered the bottom two shapes (according to the picture and tied some fishing line to each one. Then, I had my husband drill pilot holes equally on both sides of the black/white striped dowel. I fed the other end of the fishing line through the holes and wrapped it around the dowel and through the hole several times before tying a knot. I did the same thing with the other shape, ensuring they both hung at the same level.
After that, I took a piece of fishing line and tied it around the middle of the dowel to see where the dowel balanced. I carefully moved the line across until I could hold the fishing line and the dowel would be balanced. Then, I marked the spot, untied the fishing line, and drilled a pilot hole on the spot, making sure it was in line with the top of other holes. Then, I knotted the fishing line on, feeding it through the hole and around the dowel several times to ensure its security.
Next, I grabbed the black dowel and the last paper shape. I put a pilot hole equally on either side of the black dowel. On one side, I tied on the black/white striped dowel, and on the other side, I tied on the last shape, making sure the bottom of the shape lined up with the tops of the other two shapes. Then, I found the balancing point of the black dowel and drilled a pilot hole at that spot and threaded fishing line through, knotting it securely.
Then, I got the white dowel. I drilled a pilot hole equally on either side of the dowel. On one side, I tied on the black dowel and on the other side, I tied on the glass bauble, ensuring the bottom of the bauble lined up with the top of the shape on the black dowel. Then, I balanced the white dowel, drilled a pilot hole at the balancing point, and threaded fishing line through. This time, though, I threaded a big loop of fishing line so that it would hang from a hook.
It was pretty tedious but very rewarding to lay on the floor while my husband held the finished product above my head. I actually marveled at the mobile! It bobs and weaves with the airflow in the house and is mesmerizing!