Create your own mobile using clip art

Applies to
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Word 2002

Mobiles are a great way to customize a child's room or add some flair to that dark corner that is gathering dust and cobwebs. This project is fun for the whole family, so be sure to get the kids involved.


About this project

This method of creating a mobile offers a twist to conventional methods by using vellum, a thick and translucent type of paper. By printing on vellum, you can see the image on the paper through the reverse side.

There are endless ways to personalize your own mobile project, so don't be afraid to get creative.

Getting started

First, make sure you have all of the supplies you will need to complete the project:

  • Fishing line or string
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • X-acto knife
  • Small hole punch
  • 2 wooden dowels (we recommend balsa wood)
  • Vellum (or regular paper, if you can't find vellum)
  • Color printer
  • Eight pieces of clip art from the Clip Art and Media site on Microsoft Office Online


Creating your mobile

Place all of your supplies on a large flat surface. This helps make the project efficient and safe since some of the supplies are sharp or toxic.

To create the frame

  1. Measure and cut each dowel into two equal lengths. The length of these dowels determines the width of your mobile.

 Note   For dowels made of balsa wood, use an X-acto knife for a clean cut that won’t split the wood.

  1. Mark the center of each dowel lightly with a pen or pencil.
  2. Apply a small bead of glue to the pen marking on one dowel, and then place the center of the second dowel in the glue. The dowels should make an x-shape. Repeat this step with the remaining two dowels, and set aside to dry.

Hands cutting dowels Hands applying glue to a dowel Hands gluing dowels into an x-shape

To prepare the clip art

  1. Search for clips on the Clip Art and Media site.
  2. Select eight pieces of clip art.
  3. Cut and paste those clips in a new Microsoft Office Word document, and then save the document.

 Note   Arrange as many clips on the page as you can to conserve paper.

  1. Print the document.

 Note   If you are printing on vellum, set the properties to Draft quality. Typically you can do this when you select the Print option. With Draft quality, less toner is applied to the paper, which helps to prevent smearing.

  1. Cut out the clips with a sharp pair of scissors, choosing any shape you want. For a whimsical look, cut around the clip in an abstract shape. Or for a clean-cut look, choose a more symmetrical shape like an oval or square. Be sure to leave a margin of space around the top of the clip so that you can complete the next step.

Hands cutting with scissors

To assemble the mobile

  1. Use a hole punch to punch a small hole in the top of each clip.
  2. Measure and cut eight lengths of string or fishing line.
  3. Thread one end of a string through the hole in each clip and tie a knot, making sure to leave some slack so as not to damage the paper. Cut off the trailing edge of the knot.
  4. Secure each piece of clip art to one x-shaped pair of dowels. Set the other pair aside for the moment.
  5. After the strings are secured to the pair of dowels, attach the two separate pairs to create the overall frame. To do this, cut a piece of string and secure one end to the center of each dowel.
  6. To hang the mobile, attach a piece of string to the top pair of dowels by securing each end of the string to an opposite end of a dowel.

Hands using a hole punch Hands threading string through paper

Other mobile ideas

Try varying the shape of your mobile

Instead of using two x-shaped dowels, try gluing four equal pieces into a square. You could also try making a frame with more than two levels — this gives you the chance to add more clip art as well as more depth to your mobile.

Experiment with different paper

Vellum is a great variation, but for a sturdier mobile, try using a thicker paper such as cardstock or regular paper. If you use regular paper, try matting each clip onto a colorful piece of construction paper.

Choose your own supplies

There is no reason why you can't use wire instead of wooden dowels or ribbon instead of fishing line. This project is easily customizable to fit your unique tastes and creative ideas.

Applies to:
Word 2003