I created these Summer Tweets for the always delightful small magazine – for the northern hemisphere summer issue – and I wanted to share the full tutorial with you here too. These sweet little birds are fun to make with children and are a lovely decoration for their bedroom. They’d also look pretty hanging from the trees amongst fairy lights on a summer’s night. And it’s a great way to use up all those fabric scraps. The project has a few different parts, so it can be done in stages if your child’s attention wanes. In our part of the world it would be a great project for rainy wintry days during the July school holidays. It’s quite simple… not as complicated as it looks
Materials to make your Summer Tweets bird mobile
– Sicky tape
– PVA glue
– Brightly coloured fabric scraps
– Rattan cane hoops (from craft shops). 20 – 24cm [8 – 9.5 inches] in diameter
– 4 -5 cm [2 inches] diameter styrofoam balls – optional
– Embroidery thread
– Long needle
Part One: Swings
* Cut fabric into strips measuring about 2 -3cm [1 inch] wide and roughly 30cm [12 inches] long.
* Wind a strip around a hoop, leaving about 5cm [2 inches] loose at each end.
* Take a second fabric strip and tie it to the end of the first strip with a double knot. Leave the ends to stick out. Wind the new strip around your hoop, and continue attaching and winding fabric strips until you cover the whole hoop. Tie the end of the last strip to the beginning of the first strip.
* Cover a second hoop the same way.
* Put one hoop inside the other and make the point where the cross form an +. Join them together by wrapping some embroidery thread around the two hoops where they cross.
Part Two : Birds
The little birds are made using my ‘cheat’s paper mache’ tutorial. Take a look at it so that you’re familiar with the basic idea before you read on.
* For each bird you will need to make the pieces in the photo above.
* The head and body are round balls and the tail is formed by flattening one side of a ball to form a flat cone shape.
* Follow the instructions for cheat’s paper mache to make the bird shapes.
Once you have your basic shapes you can join them together.
* Attach the head to the body and then the tail to the body with sticky tape.
* Roll a small strip of newspaper up to form a cone for the beak and attach it to the head with tape.
* Next wrap one joining strip around your bird where the head joins the body and one where the tail joins. This will hide the joins and enhance the body shape. Use lots of sticky tape to make the body smooth.
Cut fabric scraps into 2 -3 cm [1 inch] squares and follow the cheat’s paper mache instructions to cover your bird. Set your bird aside to dry.
* When it’s dry take a piece of embroidery thread and tie it around your bird.
* Adjust the position of the thread until the bird hangs correctly. Stick it in place with tape.
* Cover the thread and sticky tape with additional pieces of fabric so the thread is hidden.
* Cut 2 wings from fabric. If you can, find a shape on your fabric that mimics the shape of a wing.
* Place your bird on a piece of cling wrap.
* Fold up 2 pieces of paper towel and place them under the cling wrap on either side of the bird. This will help the bird sit straight and will also form a base for the wings to sit on.
* Coat the wings – all over on both sides – with PVA and attach the top of the wings to the bird’s body. Adjust the paper towel so the bottom of the wings sit out and away from the body. The PVA will make the wings dry hard.
* When your bird is dry tie the thread to the hoop swing so your bird hangs in the centre of the two hoops.
Part Three: Garland
Your Summer Tweets can hang from thread or you can make a garland to hang them from.
* Cover small styrofoam balls with small fabric scrap squares and PVA in the same way you covered your bird. Set them aside to dry.
* Using a long needle, thread the balls onto a long piece embroidery thread.
* Position the balls with uneven spacing on the thread.
* Then tie the garland to the top of the hoop swing.
Now you’re ready to hang your Summer Tweet mobile. You can make all sorts of variations on the birds, like adding craft feathers to make a showy tail or wings. If you want to embellish your bird with feathers attach them with sticky tape to the newspaper bird before you glue on the fabric. Use one hoop instead of 2 to create variation n the swings if you’re hanging a group of Summer Tweets.
I hope you enjoy making these as much as Roxy and I did. They really look lovely hanging under the light in her room.