At our last Creative Art Works board meeting, our Program Director Daniel Bergman demonstrated an abridged version of an art project which CAW integrated into a middle school science curriculum. Daniel served as Teaching Artist, the board played the part of students, and we all got to make our own kinetic sculptures inspired by the work of Alexander Calder.
Now, we can’t send a CAW Teaching Artist to your home, but we’re going to do the next best thing. This holiday season, we will be sharing with you four abbreviated versions of art projects you can do at home. The first of these follows below:
You can enjoy these projects if you are nine or ninety-nine-years-old. You probably have the materials lying around the house; if not, you can pick them up for under $15 at your local pharmacy, dollar store, toy store, or craft store.
Make Your Own Kinetic Sculpture
Making the Wire Framework
1. Snip off curved top of the coat hanger the wire cutter.
NOTE: This is one step where having the right tool makes all the difference. If you don’t already have one, borrow or buy a good pair of wire cutters for about $5.00. The wire cutter should cut through the coat hanger with ease.
2. Bend the wire to a good length for the main arm. (It should be about 24 to 30 inches).
3. Create a loop in the center of wire. You can bend the wire by hand or use needle nose pliers.
4. Create loops at each end of the main arm to hold smaller arms. For this part you will need pliers, preferably a needle nose. but a regular pair of pliers will do. Leave a gap in these loops about the diameter of the wire.
5. Trim the ends of the loop with the wire cutter if necessary.
6. Create 2 smaller arms, each about half the size of the large arm.
7. Repeat steps 3 — 5 above for the two smaller arms.
8. Slip the center loops of the smaller arms into the end loops of the big arm.
9. You should now have a basic "H" shape.
Making and Attaching the Shapes
10. Using a pencil, lightly draw a closed shape on a piece of cardboard.
11. Color the shape on both sides of the cardboard. (Optional)
12. Cut the shape out.
13. Poke a hole near the top of each shape with a scissor blade or use a hole punch.
14. Thread a 4-inch piece of ribbon, thread, yarn or twine through each shape and tie it into a loop.
15. Repeat steps 10 — 14 until you have four shapes with ribbons or strings attached.
Assembling and hanging the kinetic sculpture
16. Attach the cardboard shapes by looping the ribbon or yarn around the end loop of each short arm.
17. You may have to adjust the balance of your mobile to make it hang properly. If one side is too heavy, try hanging an additional cardboard piece from the lighter side. If your mobile is really off balance, you may need to make adjustments to the wire arms. You could try trimming an arm on the long side, or make a new loop closer to the center of balance.
18. Tie a loop of ribbon or yarn to the center loop of the long arm and then suspend the mobile from a ceiling hook, nail or push pin.