I’m a firm believer that kid and baby toys should be beautiful, and this op art mobile that you can make at home perfectly fits the bill. Along with this printable project, there are plenty of delightful art prints, accessories, projects, and toys for your kiddo in our baby + children’s shop.
Op art, which is short for optical art, is a style of art that uses optical illusions. Think bright colors creating the illusion of another color next to them, or patterns that seem to warp and vibrate. If you’re looking at an image and wondering “what in the world is going on inside my eyeballs?” you’re probably looking at op art!
When I learned that babies develop their vision by looking at bright colors and high contrast patterns I thought of how perfect a mobile channeling the wild world of op art would be. Thanks to Angie Stalker, who has lots of great work in our print shop, for helping my dream become a reality!
Babies with developing eyesight aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this project! The op art mobile would be a great project to work on with kids. It’s not too tricky and you can even sneak in an art history lesson.
If you’re looking for more art history content, check out our Great Artists Course. In this course your little one can learn about several incredible artists by making artwork inspired by the greats. You’ll probably find yourself looking over your kiddo’s shoulder and learning something new, too!
Make Your Own Op Art Mobile
- Print out the Printable Op Art Mobile Template from our shop on some nice thick card stock.
- Glue the solid colors and the patterned shapes back to back (alternatively, you can print these back to back).
- Cut out your shapes, then cut into them along the dotted lines on the template.
- Put your coordinating shapes together so they fit together in the slits you just cut and become 3D.
- Punch a hole at the top of each 3D shape.
- Prepare your wooden materials by painting them. We painted our wooden hoop half blue and half white, then we painted beads green, light pink, and bright fuchsia. Let these dry completely.
- Cut 2 lengths of string to be 30 inches each. Tie the ends of one string to the hoop across from each other (we tied ours right where the blue and yellow paint met on each side). Then tie the ends of the other string between the first and second knots you made so all the points of contact are evenly dispersed. Be careful in this step to keep your strings an even length so that the hoop remains level.
- Secure all your knots with a little bit of hot glue.
- Cut 5 more lengths of string at varying lengths. Tie one end of each of these to your 3D paper shapes (using the hole you punched earlier). Tie the other end to your wooden hoop. Distribute the shapes evenly around your hoop and secure with a dot of glue.
- You will have one 3D shape left over.
- Cut one last length of string 4 feet long. About 15 inches from one end, tie this string in a secure knot around the two strings that you tied to the hoop in step 7.
- At the short end of your string (about 15 inches from the knot you just tied), attach your last 3D shape. This will be the shape at the center of the mobile.
- String your wooden beads onto the long end of this piece. You can secure these in place with a knot if you like, but gravity should keep them from getting away if you don’t.
- The long end of the string you just put beads onto is how you’ll hang up your mobile! Put it somewhere that you (or your baby) can admire it.
If you make this op art mobile, we would love to see it! Use #LarsMakes to show us your work.