Baby Girl Nursery Project Idea | Butterfly Mobile

Butterfly Mobile has been previously published in part by Crafts Unleashed.  Supplies were provided by Consumer Crafts and this tutorial would not have been possible without them!!  Many Thanks~!

You might have noticed the mobile in the picture (HERE) of our brand new little one.  Well, I love it now, but let me tell you -- I was ready to throw this project out the WINDOW while creating it!  Join me today for the story of the blasted plastic canvas challenge and my triumphant mastery of "cheating" with the medium.

SO.  I dove in face forward to our Crafts Unleashed plastic canvas challenge, but OH MY if I wasn't challenged! I have never worked with plastic canvas before and to be honest --- I don't really like plastic. I started using a clear and sparkly Rex lace to celebrate the "plasticness" of the plastic canvas, but I just wasn't feeling it.


So I had to go back to square one and rethink the way I was using the canvas.  Instead of focusing on the canvas as PART of the end product, I started thinking about it as the SKELETON to my project and then all the pieces began to start clicking into place.

Butterfly Mobile 2

Now once we found out we were having a little girl, I knew I wanted to go full on PINK and girly for the nursery.  No over-designed, adult inspired spaces for this room.    Instead, I wanted to celebrate the BABYNESS of this baby and add in whimsy, wonder and PINK at every step along the way.  The first thing that came to mind when I wanted a whimsical space was butterflies.  The way they flit around the garden all summer long seems so magical, as if they have this secret world and are hurrying about their business, caring less what we lowly humans are doing.  So the very first project for this little girl's nursery was a simple butterfly mobile that hangs over the window instead of the crib.  (Crib ceiling installation coming soon!)  ...and that terrible, awful, no-good plastic canvas?  It became the PERFECT moldable, flexible skeleton for the butterflies.



1.  Using your scissors, cut little notches into your fabric.  These are the starting point for ripping the "strands" of fabric.
Cut Notches in fabric Amy renea

 2.  Hold the bulk of the fabric tight in your left hand, then rip straight up and down each notch to create strips of fabric.

ripping fabric

A little fraying is good and the look we are going for here!   
If you have lots of long, hanging strings, go ahead and snip those off, but leave that beautiful fray alone!

strips of fabric

These little strips form the wrapping ribbons for your butterflies, the backdrop for your butterflies to fly against and also the "tail" of the largest butterfly.  Start with your butterflies, then use the remainder for the backdrop.  Simply knot them in a semi-circle around the back of the embroidery hoop!

Butterfly Mobile Back
Butterfly Mobile Strips of Fabric

Back to that big pile of fabric strips though...

strips of fabric 2

3.  Cut out your shape from the plastic canvas -- in this case the butterflies!  
Start by pushing one strip through a hole in the canvas and knotting it near the middle of the butterfly.

knotting back

4.  Slightly bend the canvas with your first couple lengths of fabric so that they look like they are "in flight".  
This is why you need that super soft canvas as opposed to the more rigid plastic canvases available.

Baby Girl Nursery Project Idea |  Butterfly Mobile

5. Start crisscrossing the fabric, making sure it lays flat around the curved edges.   
Knot end pieces near the middle of the butterfly or secure with a tiny dab of glue if needed.

weaving strips of fabric

6.  Continue wrapping and securing your strips,  essentially "bandaging" the canvas so it is completely covered.
Every few strips, make sure you wrap at least once around the middle to keep all those knots secure and hidden.

knotting back of butterflies

7.  Once all the edges are "bandaged" and your fabric is showing the right amount of print (I had to work the fabric a bit to make sure those pink roses showed up!), secure the final strip on the back of the butterfly with a tiny bit of glue.  Your butterfly will be flying with its belly down and wings back, so that is the "front" side that needs to look perfect.

Baby Girl Nursery Project Idea |  Butterfly Mobile

8.  Add extra strips of fabric to the back of the butterflies to "fly" in the wind if you like, or simply leave them as is.

9.  Secure the butterflies to your embroidery hoop with a very, strong clear thread 
(like fishing line or beading thread) so they look as if they are floating in air.

10.  Hang the hoop from the ceiling (I used a combination of fabric strips and fishing line attached to a small hook in the ceiling) 
and celebrate the little bit of whimsy you have just added to your space!

butterfly mobile vertical shot

 Curious about those DIY embroidery hoops hanging in the background?  They are beyond simple!  Tutorial HERE!

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adorable, amy! so whimsical and inspired!
Amy Renea said…
Thanks Cassie!! :)