Monday, December 10, 2012

Perler Beads: Baby Mobile

I apologize for the dearth of updates recently; luckily for you, though, this means I have lots of new projects and stuff to show off! I'll try to crank out a few posts this week to showcase it all and hopefully keep you mildly entertained.

So my friend Amy (who is my steampunk buddy, if you recall our steampunk photo shoot from back in April) moved away soon after said photo shoot, but she and her husband came back to visit over Thanksgiving break. She's also expecting now, so I got to go to a baby shower for her while she was here. Baby shower for someone who loves geeky stuff as much as me? This calls for something particularly awesome...
Perler mobile

And thus the perler baby mobile was born: fully customizable and 100% awesome.

To make your very own perler baby mobile, you will first need two embroidery hoops - any size you want, really, but it works best if one is smaller than the other. I got an 8 inch and 5 inch. You can get them for about $1.50 apiece at Joann's or a similar craft store if you get the cheap wood ones.

Remove the inner hoop (the one without the little metal bit) from each one - that's the only piece you really need. Then get some yarn in an appropriate color. I had some variegated blue-green Baby Bernat yarn (which you can get at WalMart) but really any color you want is fine. Tie one end around an embroidery hoop and start wrapping it tightly around, covering the hoop as much as possible. Find something to listen to or watch while you do this because it's kind of tedious... but it goes surprisingly fast; I'd estimate it only took an hour or two to do both.

When you finish wrapping one, tie it off and hide the knot inside the hoop. Now the fun begins.

Figure out which perler sprites you want to use. Try to pick smallish ones, and also ones that are all approximately the same size, or you'll have a headache trying to get it all to hang straight when you're done. I chose a Mario mushroom, Mog from Final Fantasy VI, a chocobo (overworld sprite from Final Fantasy IV), a slime from Dragon Quest/Warrior, fairy from Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, baby Yoshi from Super Mario World, the cat from ChronoTrigger, and a Cluckle from Zelda (the sprite used in Minish Cap). Once you finish making your perlers, you'll need a lot of string or crochet thread.

Mario mushroom, Chocobo, Mog, slime, Yoshi, Cluckle, Zelda fairy, ChronoTrigger cat

For the hanging step, the first thing you'll want to do is tie 4 strings to the big hoop (evenly spaced) and then tie them all together to form your base to hang the mobile from. You can do this a number of ways, but I ended up attaching them all to a ring (like the kind you use for a keychain) and then tying them to the hoop. To avoid lots of ends sticking out, I folded each string in half, put the ring on the folded-in-half-string, then stuck the ends through the loop where it folded over and pulled tight. Then you tie the ends to the embroidery hoop and hide the ends under the yarn. It looks much tidier overall.

Next you'll tie the small hoop to the large hoop. Get 4 strings the same length and tie them to the hoops, hiding the ends under the yarn again. The tricky part here is spacing them evenly and also keeping them the same length when you tie them - I found that sometimes my ends were longer than they should have been. You get to decide how far apart your hoops will hang; just pick whatever looks good to you.

Last, you'll tie each perler onto the mobile. I did 4 perlers per level. You can use the same trick doubling up the string and poking it through a hole in the perler beads to avoid string ends hanging all over the place; then it just becomes a matter of tying the perlers to the mobile in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. You can vary the heights if you want, so long as it stays balanced. Also, be sure to stagger the perlers so that they hang from a different area than where the strings you use to tie the two hoops together are, otherwise they will tangle up more easily.

Once you have arranged that all to your liking, and hidden all the ends under the yarn, then hang your new mobile up and enjoy!

And who am I kidding really? This is not really a baby-specific project. It would be awesome in any room.

(Project inspired by the mobile instructions found here.)


  1. This is AWESOME. Though I admit when I saw the picture at first I wondered if you were making an announcement... ;)