Friday, September 30, 2016

Pattern Play Paper Animals in the Playroom

I can't decide if I like these or not.

The kids and I got this book, Pattern Play, free from some publicist or another (fun fact: when you blog, sometimes you get random packages of free stuff in the mail. Usually I know who they're from, but seriously, sometimes I don't! Should I be concerned that anonymous publicists apparently have my home address?), and while we super liked constructing the animals--



--I was kind of freaking out as we were making them, because omg our house is so cluttered already. There is already so much crap on display, from decorative bean mosaics to layers of the ocean posters to potted plants to Harry Potter fanart to jars with colored sand layered in them to coconut monkeys to the freaking Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria!!11!!!! (and yes, I did compile that list from what's basically right in front of me as I sit here at our school table. I'm not even telling you about our table covered in school stuff and the entire wall of books and the keyboard and telescope AND camera tripod in the corner. Sigh...)

Where the hell are a bunch of adorable 3D stand-up paper animals supposed to live, I ask you?!? In bed with me? Next to the cat dish? On top of the dryer?

Or--ooh!--how about in a mobile hanging over the kids' computer? They'd flutter and waft in such a lovely fashion. We don't have any mobiles in the house! In fact, I've never even made a mobile before!

How hard could it be?

Uh...

The first couple of steps that I figured out were brilliant. We found the balance point for each animal as we were constructing it, poked a hole there--


--and threaded a piece of invisible thread through. Then we glued the two sides together, sandwiching the thread between them.

Not. A. Problem.

I bought a super thin dowel, and cut it into some pieces.

Totally doable. 

Then I tied a piece of fishing line to the dead center of the smallest piece--okay, that was pretty fiddly--and hot glued it in place.

Done and done.

The next step, as far as I could figure, was to hang an animal from each end of the dowel, right in the place where the whole thing balanced, and glue it in place.

This. Was. IMPOSSIBLE!

The thread was really slick, and didn't want to knot. I finally got a loop in each piece, then had Syd hold the dowel up by its thread while I balanced the two animals from it. Her arm got tired. I had to let go of the contraption to see if it balanced, but if I let go too much one end of the dowel would fly up and the animals would fall off. The thing would be unbalanced one way, but adjusting one animal by a millimeter would drastically imbalance it the other way.

How the hell to people make mobiles?!?

After a really, really, REALLY long time, I said to hell with it and Syd and I taped some animals, strung to fishing line, from the top of the high shelf above their window seat:


They still flutter and waft, but there was very little engineering required.

Another neat thing about this book is that after you cut each animal out, you have the rest of the patterned paper left to play with. When I was thinking of making my mobile masterpiece, I was thinking that we'd use the circle punch to cut out a lot of circles from the paper, then sandwich the invisible string between an entire line of them and also use that in the mobile.

Now, however, I'm thinking I might do the same thing, but maybe as a garland.

In other news, does anyone have a good mobile-making tutorial to recommend to me?

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