Since mobiles often hang over baby’s cribs, they’re the first artwork many of us see. But making a DIY Artist Mobile Craft is a fun project for kids of all ages—and a creative activity for a playdate, party, or summer afternoon. It’s a fun and unexpected way to learn about an artist, or to tap into the artist inside of each of us—and to upcycle cardboard boxes or paper you might have around the house. Once you’ve finished your mobile, it’s a great DIY gift that proud parents, grandparents, friends, and any art enthusiast can use as a mobile or wall hanging.

Ciphers and Constellations in Love with a Woman at The Art Institute Chicago

The basic idea of this mobile is to tape pieces of colored cardboard to string tied to a stick or dowel, which you can then hang as a piece of decor. We made ours using colored paper taped onto cutouts from recycled granola bar boxes, but there are so many things you could do.

Mobile Techniques and Materials

Cut out paper and/or cardboard shapes
Paint cardboard or paper shapes
Color in cardboard or paper shapes with markers or crayons
Collage using magazines, newspapers, comics
Tie on found objects onto the strings—beads, feathers, charms, shells
Recycle graphic packaging à la Andy Warhol, hanging empty soup cans or their labels pasted to cardboard
Hang photos
Paint, color or decorate the cups of egg cartons, make a hole in the middle and thread the string through

If you plan on hanging your finished artwork against the wall like we did, only one side has to be decorated. If you’re suspending it from the ceiling where both sides can be seen, the other side will be visible too, so you might want to decorate that, color it in, or cover it with paper.



Artist-Inspired Mobile Activities

A great way to jump start your mobile is to pick an artist you admire, look at their work, and take inspiration from their graphic shapes or colors.

Have an “Art Class” In a group, choose the same artist and see how everyone interprets it differently.

Host a “gallery talk”: Gather friends, or kids’ parents, and have each mobile-maker pick a different artist and present their artwork and the artist who inspired it. That way, everyone in the group learns about a variety of artists.

Mount an exhibit: Give your finished projects as gifts or donate as decor to a hospital or doctor’s office

Have an art auction: Sell the group’s pieces and donate the proceeds to charity.

For our wall hanging inspiration, we chose the bold work of Joan Miró, specifically his Ciphers and Constellations in Love with a Woman, now at the Art Institute of Chicago. Calder, Jackson Pollock, and Picasso are other artists who are popular with kids and whose work lends itself to mobiles. There are so many great possibilities! If you’re making a Miró-Inspired Art Mobile like ours, you can start by downloading our printable template of his organic shapes. Scroll down for the how-to


Other Things to Do with Your Mobile

Once you’ve finished your artwork, there’s so much you can do with it.

Give it as a gift
Use it as Decor
Make it a photo backdrop at a party or ceremony backdrop at a wedding
Keep it as a souvenir of the fun you had creating together!


For more art-inspired activities, click here.

What You’ll Need

Miro-Inspired Mobile Template
Cereal boxes or other thin cardboard boxes to upcycle
Colored cardstock/paper
Stick or dowel—ours measures about 18”



Step 1: Download Miró-Inspired Mobile template, print, and cut out. You can print the shapes on white paper to use as templates or print them directly on colored paper in order to skip a step.

Step 2: Trace template onto colored cardstock or paper and onto flattened boxes or other cardboard. Cut out.

Step 3: Glue paper to cardboard making sure the colored paper covers cardboard pieces.

Step 4: Cut string into several strips of varying length; we went for six pieces of9.5 -inch to 12-inch each, but you can vary to create any design you like!

Step 5: Tape cardboard pieces to the string pieces and tie them to the stick, spacing them equally. (Ours were about 3.5 inches apart.)

Step 6: Cut two equal lengths of string to hang the mobile. Tie one end of each string to the end of the stick, then tie the two remaining ends together. Now you’re ready to hang your Miro-inspired mobile!