The Strategic Homemaker

learning to follow the Father, care for the clan, and redeem the resources

Gifts on a budget: Baby mobile


I recently finished the sailboat baby mobile I was working on for my nephew due in a couple weeks. It turned out so cute! And although similar ones retail for $60-$120 here, I was able to make it for around $7. (Note: Babies MS and DK, I love you too, but I am behind on my projects. Christmas is coming!)

The hanging baskets are available at BigLots for $3-4 at the beginning of the summer, or you could use an embroidery hoop or something similar. The basket started out black, and I spray painted them white, but I was a little lazy and didn’t prime first, which I definitely recommend, because on some of them the paint started to chip off, and I had to touch up with acrylic paint, which didn’t have the shiny finish. Anyway, don’t be like me, and rough them up first with sand paper. Then use spray primer, and then spray paint. More work, but the finish will thank you.

I had made a bird mobile for my daughter and another friend’s baby  (You can see a picture of my daughter’s in this post), but for that, I just used the pattern from Spool Sewing.

I designed my own pattern for the boats, starting with this lady’s paper mache boat pattern. She makes some sweet paper mache stuff. This pattern ended up making too long of a boat, so I shortened it, and estimated a pattern for the deck of the boat. Cut one piece for each boat. Here’s where I spent another dollar for fabric I didn’t already have. Make sure your fabric is inside out. Sew the seams on the bottom of the boat first, and then add the deck, starting at the pointy part (bow?) leave the stern open for you to flip inside out and stuff with scraps of batting. (I’m still working on a bag of polyfill I got at a garage sale 3 years ago.) Then sew the stern up by hand.

pattern part 1

pattern part 2

Cut 2 of each of the sail pieces, and if your fabric is patterned, make sure the two you cut are facing opposite directions of the pattern. You sew it inside out, one quarter inch in, but leave at least an inch for flipping it right side out, and then sew that up by hand.

Do the same thing for the flag as you did for the sails, but if you leave the side open that goes along the mast, you don’t need to sew it up by hand. it will get stitched closed when you sew it to the mast. (Note: if you want pointy corners on sails, flags, etc, you need to trim the excess material off the wrong side [the side that won’t show in the end] of the corner before you flip it right side out.)

Cut a piece of ribbon about a yard long for each boat.  (10 yards of the thin satin ribbon costs $1.)  You can always shorten later. Tie a knot in one end, and sew the ribbon to the middle of the boat, testing to see if the boat hangs level from the point the knot is sewn.

Sew each sail top and bottom to the ribbon, and then sew the flag to the ribbon above that. The ribbon becomes the mast. For the flags, TSH reminded me that I could use a different color thread in the bobbin to match the flag fabric, compared to the top thread which matched the ribbon. Genius! I had forgotten I could do this. Clearly I don’t branch out much. Tie the ribbons to your hanging basket or hoop at whatever length you like, and you are done! (I hung this in my daughter’s room for the picture, but the baby it is going to has a nautical theme.) Let me know if you make one!


2 thoughts on “Gifts on a budget: Baby mobile

  1. Pingback: How to Rejoice with People Who Get What You Want | The Strategic Homemaker

  2. Pingback: Hot Air Balloon Baby Mobile | The Strategic Homemaker

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