Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Friday, February 28, 2014

DIY Hanging Chime/Mobile for Cat Lovers

We just celebrated another mermaid's birthday, and she is a cat lover.  Her cat's name is Jade, so for her gift, I decided to make something that would tell a story about Dorothy and her cat.  I will share with you how to make one yourself...and, it's really easy.  The hard part is coming up with the parts and pieces, and they can be anything.  The items I used are in bold.  Just use your imagination.

The entire finished piece is shown at left.  It was really hard to get a good picture. Everything kept wanting to move around!  This will at least give you an idea of the general plan.

I started by coming up with the theme.  Then I went to the studio and started "shopping" around for pieces that would fit the theme.  It needs to tell the story of Dorothy's love for her cat, and maybe something about the cat itself.  The story sort of begins to "write itself" as the pieces are found....  I knew I wanted to use a little jello mold.  It just seems perfect for a chime, and I have the tiny little tart tins, so I thought that would work well as a top tier.  I have tons of scrabble tiles, so I decided to spell out the cat's name...I need a "J", "A", "D" and "E".  Found.  A heart charm with the word "love" on it.. Perfect! I have some bits and pieces of things left over from other projects...a bowl part of a spoon, a length of a cut yard stick...these kinds of things could hang from the bottom center, or they could be used between tiers...Then I found a cat charm, and dragonfly button, and some cat face buttons.  I can see the story coming together...I had some round ring charm holders for making jewelry, so I decided to use one at the bottom on the end of a chain, with cat face buttons on each side...the buttons were the perfect size!   I have an assortment of glass beads, and an old chandelier crystal...I'm sort of planning it in my mind as I find the pieces, but to start with, I just gather the pieces together,  put them out so that I can see everything, and then come up with a firm plan.   Some pieces will be edited out of the plan, and that's okay.  You just want to use what is needed.

*Tip:  When I was staying at the hospital with a relative, they served the meals on these cardboard trays...They just throw them out, so I decided to recycle them as studio work trays. Then, I went to a restaurant supply store and picked up more.  They are GREAT to use in the studio for small project like this!

Edited Embellishments for Chime
Now, I needed to drill holes in the molds and in the top center of each scrabble tile.  So, I used my drill press  (or drill) with a tiny bit;  I drilled eight holes around the bottom of the larger mold and one in the top center of each mold.

I cut the ruler into small pieces, and drilled holes...one in each end.  I decided to use just one piece.

I then used my Dremel tool with a grinding bit to smooth out rough edges left behind on the metal after drilling.


I used E6000 glue to adhere the two cat face buttons onto the ring that I attached to a length of chain.  Using wire cutters, I snipped the shank from the back of each button before putting it together so that they would fit flat. 


Now, beginning with the piece that will hang at the bottom, just start tying or threading the pieces together as they will hang.  I used a double strand of string, about three feet in length (six feet folded in the middle).  There will be thread leftover at the end, but I don't have to worry about not having enough if I use more than I know I will need.  Just tie knots where you want to add a bead or other embellishment.  Where the molds hang, I tied a bead so that it would be held securely in place without slipping over the knot.  I also tied knots all along the way every couple of inches just to keep things nicely lined up..  

If you are using string, it is sometimes hard to get the string to go through the bead, so I used a toothpick to push it through.  If you are using fishing string, you shouldn't have this problem.

At the top, I finished it off with a large plastic ring that I had recycled...It came with a scarf that I purchased at Target. (The scarf was tied on it so that it could hang on the rack.)  The center, main section, was now finished.  

At this point, it is helpful to hang the piece from a hook so that you can keep everything level as you continue to work.   I hung mine from a chandelier over my table. 

For the bottom shorter "dangles"...

Simply tie strings along the outside of the larger mold and hang charms, beads or whatever you choose.  Refer to the photograph once again for another look at the lengths of the outside pieces, as compared to the center piece.

There really is no way to do this wrong!  Anything goes...just tie the pieces together in a pleasing way and that's it!  It's just an "assemblage" piece that tells your story in a fun and whimsical way!  

Have fun!


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