halloween bat mobile

by Whitney on October 21, 2010

A while back, I saw a bat chandelier in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and considered getting it. Since it takes me eons to make any decision, the impulse passed and I got caught up in the next wave of holiday decor. Still, the simplicity of the chandelier stuck with me.

This summer I deconstructed the concept to better fit my space. Instead of a chandelier, I designed an expansive mobile to decorate my entryway.

My five year old and I created the mobile together over a couple of weeks. The project is not complicated–I am. I don’t like crafting under pressure, so we start projects early and work on them here and there. You could crank out a couple of bats and have them hanging over the doorway in less than 10 minutes. Tip: We hung one just over the door, so that when opened the rush of air causes it to “fly.” Scared the neighbor, which was fun.

How to make a bat mobile:

    Materials: black posterboard, pencil, fishing line, packing tape, hand needle
    Ages 2+ can help to some extent with the first three steps.

  1. Referring to an image in a book or online, use pencil to freehand bat silhouettes onto black posterboard. (I searched Google Images for “bat silhouette.”)
  2. Cut out the bat shapes.
  3. On the ceiling-facing side, put a small (3/4″) square of tape in center of bat’s body.
  4. Thread a needle with fishing line (also called filament thread).
  5. Starting a 1/8″ or so from the tape’s edge, poke needle down from the ceiling side. Come over about 1/2″ and poke back up, so that you get a short horizontal (wing-to-wing) line.
  6. Attach to ceiling or trim. (I used packing tape on our picture rails.)

In addition to the option of customization, going the DIY route opens the door for learning. Threading the fishing line and cutting around all of those arcs tests fine motor skills, and referring to a template and drawing it freehand strengthens eye-hand coordination and observational skills. Seeing your handiwork come to life is a confidence builder, for children and adults alike.

Stuck in carpool or under a baby all day? Crafts not your thing? You may want to look into ready-made options. Here’s a chandelier style mobile, from Etsy shop Naked Angel Works. I also like Martha Stewart’s versatile silhouettes.

What works for you? Make or buy? If you enjoy solitary creative pursuits, but have trouble working kids into the mix, stay tuned for a related post.

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