Construction Update

Design Update:

Throughout my time in quarantine, I came to the realization that my initial prototyped design of an automaton-mobile hybrid was a bit too ambitious given my current lack of resources (no machine shop). So, I decided to pair down my design and focus on creating a large floor-to-ceiling mobile. Because my new design does not rely on a machine shop and does not require a lot of materials, it was pretty easy to start the fabrication process.


Fake flowers and scissors
Four 36” wooden dowels of different thicknesses (3/8”, 1/4”, 3/16”, 1/8”)
Clear “fishing line”
Paint and brushes










Ideal Fabrication Process















Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12
Step 13
Step 14




























  1. Remove flowers from there stems
  2. Use scissors to make an indent on the intended breaking point of the dowels
  3. Intended breaking point
  4. Snap wooden dowel at breaking point
  5. Cut wooden dowels
  6. Paint dowels white
  7. Start adding colorful floral details (cat not required)
  8. Final details painted on dowels
  9. Painted dowels
  10. Drill holes in the dowels at the intended hanging points
  11. Thread clear fishing line through fake flowers using a sewing needle
  12. Hang dowel 1 with clear fishing line
  13. Hang flower string on either side of dowel 1 (use secondary strings to balance the dowel)
  14. Add dowel 2 to the bottom of the flower strings
  15. TO BE CONTINUED: Repeat Steps 13 + 14 until all dowels and flower strings are used
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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Zach Aldrich
    April 15, 2020 5:53 pm

    Your considerations and adjustments given the situation with the pandemic seem spot on, and I think your project will still turn out awesome! I especially liked the graphic with the fabrication process, it is well laid out and a solid plan moving forward.

  • Thomas Buckholtz
    April 15, 2020 12:14 pm

    This is looking really great! I appreciate how much attention you’re giving to the details, like as Nicole mentioned the hand-painted dowels, or with the composition of the flowers in each string. Also another really smart pivot when your plan A didn’t work out, this seems like a really good alternate that still matches the spirit of your original idea! I think at this point, the only thing you really need to be careful of is the overall weight – not only in regards to the balance of each tier, but also considering the movement of the overall piece. I think if it’s too heavy, it may become really difficult to get it to rotate for a significant amount of time, or its movement might become really shaky like with the chaotic pendulums if you’ve ever seen those in the ITLL. Good luck, I’m sure you’ll finish up nicely given where you’re at now!

    • Thanks for the heads up Thomas! I agree that weight is definitely something I need to keep an eye on. Keeping the structure balanced and light is honestly key, especially when thinking about how people might interact with it.

  • Fiona, I like that you took under consideration the scope of your project and adapted accordingly. It will be nice to have something you can install in your bedroom or living room. It is also fortunate that you can fabricate all of it at home. What I find the most impressive is the levels of patience you must summon to paint all of those little sticks so beautifully! It must be a nice meditation exercise :p Do you still plan on using a crank to move the entire mobile or have you found other methods?

    • Painting the sticks was very tedious, but honestly very relaxing. I have ditched my crank idea. The movement of the mobile relies on someone pushing or touching it, or wind (aka a fan). I have had a lot of luck using a smaller heater I have in my room to create a consistent light breeze that makes the mobile slowly rotate for hours.


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